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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! We had probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

1229-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 29 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: David Steinberg
THEME: PIZZAZZ … the answers grid contains a brainteaser about the game Scrabble, the answer to which is the word “PIZZAZZ” (spelled out in the circled squares in the grid). Because of the distribution of letters in the set of Scrabble tiles, the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played is PIZZAZZ. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z:
17A. Start of a brainteaser whose answer appears in order, from top to bottom, in this puzzle's circled squares : NAME THE ONE
27A. Part two of the brainteaser : SEVEN-LETTER WORD
32A. Part three of the brainteaser : IN ENGLISH THAT
40A. Part four of the brainteaser : CANNOT BE PUT DOWN
53A. End of the brainteaser : IN SCRABBLE
COMPLETION TIME: 14m 03s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Wagner heroine : EVA
Eva is the heroine in Richard Wagners (long!) opera titled “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).

4. Eagerly expectant : ATIP
“Atip” is rarely-used word that means "to be on one’s toes, ready to go". I’ve only ever seen "atip" used in crosswords.

8. Street ___ : CRED
“Street cred” is slang for “street credibility”, of which I have none …

12. Opportunity maker? : NASA
There were five rovers sent to Mars in all. Mars 2 landed in 1971, and failed. Mars 3 landed the same year, and also failed. Mars Pathfinder landed in 1997 (what a great day that was!) and operated from July to September. Spirit landed in 2004, and operated until 2010, 6 years after its mission was due to end. Opportunity also landed in 2004, and it is still going, going, going ... because the Energizer Bunny is driving it ...

14. Hello and farewell : ALOHA
"Aloha" has many meanings in English: "affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy". More recently it has come to mean "hello" and "goodbye", but only since the mid-1800s.

19. City in the San Gabriel Valley : EL MONTE
The California city of El Monte is in Los Angeles County. It was named “El Monte” (meaning “the meadow”) by the Spanish, as back in the late 18th century the area was a fertile oasis lying between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers.

22. John XI's successor : LEO VII
Leo VII was a reluctant Pope, effectively placed into the job by the monarch of Rome, Alberic II of Spoleto, so that Alberic could retain control over the papacy.

23. War of 1812 battle site : ERIE
The Battle of Erie took place off the coast of Ohio and was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812. At the end of the day, nine US vessels had captured six vessels belonging to the Royal Navy.

30. One of the Chaplins : OONA
Oona O'Neill dated J. D. Salinger and Orson Welles in her teens, but ended up marrying Charlie Chaplin. She was still pretty young when she married Chaplin, much to the dismay of her famous father, the playwright Eugene O'Neill. After the marriage Eugene disowned Oona as he was pretty upset about 54-year-old Chaplin marrying his 18-year-old daughter.

31. Home state of the 1964 and 2008 Rep. presidential candidates : ARIZ
The Republican candidate for the Presidential race in 1964 was Barry Goldwater (up against Lyndon Johnston) and in 2008 was John McCain (up against Barack Obama).

Barry Goldwater was a five-term US Senator for the state of Arizona noted for this right-wing positions. He was known for a while as “Mr. Conservative”, something that didn’t help him with the electorate in the 1964 race for the White House as he lost to the incumbent President Johnson in a landslide.

John McCain went into the US Naval Academy in 1958, following a family tradition as his father and grandfather were both four-star admirals. The younger McCain did not achieve the same rank, retiring from the Navy as a captain in 1981, but his career development was interrupted by almost six years spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

39. 10th- to 12th-century Chinese dynasty : LIAO
The Liao Dynasty in China ruled over much of the country between the years 916 and 1125. The dynasty was also known as the Empire of the Khitan.

48. Muckraker Tarbell : IDA
Ida Tarbell was a teacher and what we would call today an "investigative journalist", although back in her day she was known as a "muckraker". Her most famous work is her 1904 book "The History of the Standard Oil Company". This exposé is credited with hastening the breakup of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil in 1911.

50. 1944 Sartre play : NO EXIT
"Huis Clos" means "behind closed doors" in French. It is the title of the Jean-Paul Sartre play that we in the English-speaking world would better recognize as "No Exit". The play features four characters who are trapped in a room that they discover is actually located in Hell. One of the characters is Estelle Rigault, a society woman who married her husband for her money, and then has an affair that results in a child whom she murders. Heavy stuff ...

53. End of the brainteaser : IN SCRABBLE
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Moshoer Butts. Butts determined the optimum number of tiles of each letter and the appropriate point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publications like our beloved "The New York Times" ...

57. Harem rooms : ODAS
"Oda" is the Turkish word for "room", and is the name used for a room within a harem in the days of the Ottoman Empire. We use the derivative word "odalisque" for "a concubine" or "a chamber girl".

60. Spanish muralist : SERT
José Maria Sert was a painter of murals from Catalan, and a friend of Salvador Dali.

61. Russia/Ukraine's Sea of ___ : AZOV
The Sea of Azov lies east of the Crimean Peninsula and is linked to the larger Black Sea via the narrow Strait of Kerch. The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world, with the depth never going above forty-six feet.

Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, a Soviet Republic before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the Ukraine”, but I am told this isn’t appropriate.

63. '60s radical grp. : SDS
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day.

Down
1. Communist Friedrich : ENGELS
Friedrich Engels was a German political theorist who worked closely with Karl Marx to develop what became known as Marxist Theory. Along with Marx, he also co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848, and later he supported Marx as he worked to publish “Das Kapital”.

2. Rudy with a megaphone : VALLEE
Rudy Vallée was a singer and actor from Island Pond, Vermont. He was known for his singing style, and is usually referred to as the first “crooner”. Early in his career he performed without the benefit of microphone technology and had to use a megaphone as he was perhaps the first real “pop star” and played to sell-out audiences.

3. "The End of Eternity" author : ASIMOV
Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up, and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”.

4. Zoological wings : ALAE
A bird (avis) has wings (alae, plural of ala), in Latin.

5. Certain cat : TOM
Male cats have been known as tomcats since the very early 1800s. The name probably comes from a popular children’s book of the day, “The Life and Adventures of a Cat”. One of the main characters in the book is Tom the Cat.

7. Peppermint ___ : PATTIE
A York Peppermint Pattie is a very rich candy produced by Hershey under license from Cadbury's in the UK. It shouldn't be confused with Peppermint Patty (a different spelling), the character in the comic strip "Peanuts".

8. At the home of : CHEZ
"Chez" is a French term meaning "at the house of", which comes from the Latin word "casa" meaning "cottage" or "hut".

9. Old bus maker : REO
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom E. Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan.

10. Suffix with Euclid : -EAN
Euclid of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician who was active around 300 BC, and is often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". He wrote a famous book called "Elements" on the subject of mathematics, and the title was so enduring that it was used as the main textbook for the subject right up to the late 19th century.

11. W.W. II gen. : DDE
President Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower, but by the time he made it to the White House, he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower. Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when "Ike" enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of the European Theater of Operations during WWII. If you're a WWII buff like me, then I recommend you take a look at a great made-for-TV movie starring Tom Selleck as Eisenhower called "Ike: Countdown to D-Day" which came out in 2004.

14. 10,000, for 4, in base 10, e.g. : ANTILOG
The number 10,000 is equal to 10 to the power of 4, so the base-10 logarithm of 10,000 is said to be 4. Inversely, the antilogarithm of 4 (in the base-10) is 10,000. But, we all remember that from school, don’t we?

20. Curtain fabric : NINON
"Ninon" is pronounced "nee-no", and is a sheer material that can be made out of silk or some man-made fibers. It is very delicate, with a soft silky feel to it. Ninon may also be called "French tergal".

23. Online merchant : E-TAILER
"Etail" is the term used these days for online shopping. It is often compared to regular shopping in the "real world" by juxtaposing it with a "brick and mortar" store.

24. When tripled, a 1970 war movie : TORA
The pre-determined code word to be used by the Japanese if they managed to achieve surprise in their attack on Pearl Harbor was "tiger", or "tora" in Japanese. This gave the name to the excellent 1970 movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!".

26. Woodworker's tool : ADZ
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool's shaft. An axe's blade is set in line with the shaft.

28. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL
Enlarge(ment) …

32. Popular tablet : IPAD
The very exciting iPad isn't Apple's first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

33. Zola best seller : NANA
“Nana” is a novel by the French author Émile Zola. It is the ninth in a series of twenty books collectively given the title “Les Rougon-Macquart”. The series follows the life of a fictional family during the Second French Empire in the second half of the 19th century.

The most famous work of French writer Émile Zola is his 1898 open letter "J'Accuse!" written to then French president Félix Faure. It was published on the front page of a leading Paris newspaper, and accused the government of anti-Semitism in its handling of the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus was a Jewish military officer in the French army, falsely accused and convicted of spying for Germany. Even after the error was discovered, the government refused to back down, choosing to let Dreyfus rot away on Devil's Island rather than admit to the mistake. It wasn't until 1906, 12 years after the wrongful conviction, that Dreyfus was freed and reinstated, largely due to the advocacy of Emile Zola.

34. Coastal flier : ERN
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle, and the sea-eagle.

38. Subj. of three of the six Nobel Prizes : SCI
The Peace Prize is the most famous of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel. The others are for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature. There is also a Nobel Prize in Economics, awarded along with the original five, but it is funded separately and is awarded "in memory of Alfred Nobel". Four of the prizes are awarded by Swedish organizations (Alfred Nobel was a Swede) and so the award ceremonies take place in Stockholm. The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and that award is presented in Oslo.

41. Aerosol target : ODOR
Strictly speaking, the term "aerosol" defines a suspension of either liquid droplets or solid particles in a gas. A good example of an aerosol is smoke. We tend to use the word to describe what comes out of a spray can, even though the liquid droplets usually fall out of the gas and don't say suspended.

43. Restaurant gofer : BUSBOY
A busboy is a person who assists a waiter, mainly by clearing tables. The verb “to bus” arose in the early 1900s and is probably a reference to the wheeled cart that was used to carry dishes.

45. Rust and quartz : OXIDES
Oxides are usually named for the number of oxygen atoms in each molecule of the oxide. Oxides with one oxygen atom are called monoxides (as in carbon monoxide: CO). Oxides with two oxygen atoms are dioxides (as in carbon dioxide: CO2). Oxides with three oxygen atoms are trioxides (as in sulfur trioxide: SO3). Oxides with four oxygen atoms are tetroxides (as in dinitrogen tetroxide: N2O4).

47. Bikini explosions : N-TESTS
The first test of a hydrogen bomb was in 1954 at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It may have been a technical success but it was an environmental disaster, largely because the actual yield of 15 megatons was unexpected (the military anticipated only 4-6 megatons). The resulting nuclear fallout caused many deaths, and led to birth defects in generations to come.

51. Onetime show for John Candy : SCTV
“Second City Television” (SCTV) is a sketch show produced in Canada from 1976 to 1984.

52. Composition of Polynésie : ILES
The term “Polynesia” was first coined in 1756 by the author Charles de Brosses, when he used it to describe all the islands in the Pacific. This was later restricted to what we now refer to as a sub-region of Oceania.

The part of the Pacific Ocean known as Oceania is roughly equivalent to the tropical islands of the South Pacific. Oceania can be divided into the regions of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.

54. Part of a French face : NEZ
In French, le nez (the nose) is just below les yeux (the eyes).

55. ___ 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.

56. "g2g" follower : BYE
In Internet slang and text speak, “g2g” means “got to go”, or possibly “good to go” or “get together”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Wagner heroine : EVA
4. Eagerly expectant : ATIP
8. Street ___ : CRED
12. Opportunity maker? : NASA
14. Hello and farewell : ALOHA
15. With 37-Down, complete : HEAD
16. Facile : GLIB
17. Start of a brainteaser whose answer appears in order, from top to bottom, in this puzzle's circled squares : NAME THE ONE
19. City in the San Gabriel Valley : EL MONTE
21. Complete : A TO Z
22. John XI's successor : LEO VII
23. War of 1812 battle site : ERIE
24. Schedule abbr. : TBA
27. Part two of the brainteaser : SEVEN-LETTER WORD
30. One of the Chaplins : OONA
31. Home state of the 1964 and 2008 Rep. presidential candidates : ARIZ
32. Part three of the brainteaser : IN ENGLISH THAT
38. Debate (with) : SPAR
39. 10th- to 12th-century Chinese dynasty : LIAO
40. Part four of the brainteaser : CANNOT BE PUT DOWN
48. Muckraker Tarbell : IDA
49. Harsh : DOUR
50. 1944 Sartre play : NO EXIT
51. Lays the groundwork for? : SODS
52. Inventory : ITEMIZE
53. End of the brainteaser : IN SCRABBLE
57. Harem rooms : ODAS
58. Nifty : NEAT
59. Trifled (with) : TOYED
60. Spanish muralist : SERT
61. Russia/Ukraine's Sea of ___ : AZOV
62. They can be batted and rolled : EYES
63. '60s radical grp. : SDS

Down
1. Communist Friedrich : ENGELS
2. Rudy with a megaphone : VALLEE
3. "The End of Eternity" author : ASIMOV
4. Zoological wings : ALAE
5. Certain cat : TOM
6. Start of many a bumper sticker : I HEART
7. Peppermint ___ : PATTIE
8. At the home of : CHEZ
9. Old bus maker : REO
10. Suffix with Euclid : -EAN
11. W.W. II gen. : DDE
13. Greater than : ABOVE
14. 10,000, for 4, in base 10, e.g. : ANTILOG
18. Person who's groundbreaking? : HOER
20. Curtain fabric : NINON
23. Online merchant : E-TAILER
24. When tripled, a 1970 war movie : TORA
25. One who may say "I say" a lot : BRIT
26. Woodworker's tool : ADZ
28. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL
29. Cry from a crib : WAH
32. Popular tablet : IPAD
33. Zola best seller : NANA
34. Coastal flier : ERN
35. Half a strawful, say : SIP
36. Like a house that's of interest to ghost hunters : HAUNTED
37. See 15-Across : TO TOE
38. Subj. of three of the six Nobel Prizes : SCI
41. Aerosol target : ODOR
42. As yet : TO DATE
43. Restaurant gofer : BUSBOY
44. "How to" explanations : DEMOS
45. Rust and quartz : OXIDES
46. Person with a conical hat, maybe : WIZARD
47. Bikini explosions : N-TESTS
51. Onetime show for John Candy : SCTV
52. Composition of Polynésie : ILES
53. ___ sense : IN A
54. Part of a French face : NEZ
55. ___ Tomé : SAO
56. "g2g" follower : BYE

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2 comments :

Dick Elton said...

ATIP? CHEZ? CRED? No comment, except I have no crossword cred, but I will remain at chez Elton atip of tomorrow's xword.

Bill Butler said...

Good one, Dick :)

I am old enough and have done enough crosswords to have been vaguely familiar with "atip", and European enough to have been "chez" a few folks. If it wasn't for my kids though, the only "cred" I'd have would be on my VISA card.

Good luck tomorrow.

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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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