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Vacation Alert

I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

0209-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Feb 12, 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: Kevin G. Der
THEME: Hidden Seas … each of the theme answers contains the word SEA hidden inside, progressively moving to the right with each answer:
17. *Look for : (SEA)RCH OUT
21. *Entice with : U(SE A)S BAIT
28. *Drop one, say : LO(SE A) GAME
34. *July, for Major League Baseball : MID-(SEA)SON
44. *Doesn't worry : REST(S EA)SY
51. *It may bear a coat of arms : ROYAL (SEA)L
57. *View from Land's End : CELTIC (SEA)
COMPLETION TIME: 29m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … CHEEZ-IT (Chees-it), FRAZIER (Frasier)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. What ":" means on some exams : IS TO
A colon is used to represent the term “is to” in an analogy.

5. River in W.W. I fighting : 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 and 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.

9. Brewing giant : PABST
Pabst Blue Ribbon is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a "blue ribbon" prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

15. Top : ACME
The "acme" is the highest point, coming from the Greek word "akme" which has the same meaning.

19. Caffè ___ : LATTE
The name latte is an abbreviation of the Italian "caffelatte" meaning "coffee (and) milk". Note that in the correct spelling of "latte", the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the "e". An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

27. Some investments, for short : CDS
A certificate of deposit is like a less flexible and higher paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account, and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

32. "Cold Mountain" novelist Charles : FRAZIER
The novel "Cold Mountain" was written in 1997 by Charles Frazier. It's the tale of a deserter in the Civil War and his trek home to his beloved Ada Monroe, who is living the rural community of Cold Mountain in North Carolina. The plot has been compared with Homer's "The Odyssey", which tells of the long journey home of Odysseus to Ithaca after the Trojan War. In the 2003 film adaptation of the same name, Ada Monroe is played by Nicole Kidman.

33. Most common first name among U.S. presidents (six) : JAMES
The most common given name for a US President is James. The six Presidents with the name James were/are:
- James Madison
- James Monroe
- James Knox Polk
- James Buchanan
- James Abram Garfield
- James Earl Carter

46. TV's onetime ___ Club : PTL
"The PTL Club" was a daily television show hosted by TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. PTL is short for both "Praise the Lord" and "People that Love". The show ended its run of over ten years in 1987 when it was revealed that Jim Bakker was involvement in financial and sexual scandals. Bakker served 5 years in jail, part of an 18-year sentence.

47. Electric ___ : EEL
Electrophorus electricus is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric "eel" isn't an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (that's 500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

48. NetZero, e.g., for short : ISP
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP's network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs. I'd go with cable if I were you, if it's available in your area ...

NetZero was launched in 1998 and was the first free Internet Service Provider. NetZero’s idea was to provide targeted advertising to users, based on what users liked to view online. It’s a little like Google’s business model, providing advertising based on Internet surfing patterns.

54. Relatives of raspberries : HOOTS
Not so much here in America, but over in the British Isles "blowing a raspberry" is a way of insulting someone (I think it's called "a Bronx cheer" here in the US).

57. *View from Land's End : CELTIC SEA
The Celtic Sea is part of the Atlantic ocean, an area off the south coast of Ireland.

Cornwall is the county at the very southwest of England. Cornwall is home to Land’s End, a headland that is the most westerly point on the mainland of England.

59. Order countermanded by "Down, boy!" : SIC ‘EM
Sic 'em is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with "sic" being a variation of "seek".

61. Legion : HOST
The word “legion” can be used to mean “a large number”.

64. Bygone fliers : SSTS
The most famous Supersonic Transport (SST) was the Concorde, a plane that's no longer flying. Concorde had that famous "droop nose". The nose was moved to the horizontal position during flight to create the optimum aerodynamic shape thereby reducing drag. It was lowered during taxi, takeoff and landing so that the pilot had better visibility. The need for the droop nose was driven largely by the delta-shaped wings. The delta wing necessitates a higher angle of attack at takeoff and landing than conventional wing designs, so the pilot needed the nose lowered so that he or she could see the ground.

Down
1. "___ his kiss" (repeated 1964 lyric) : IT’S IN
“The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)” dates back to 1963 when it was written by Rudy Clark. The song was rejected by most singers to whom it was offered including the big "girl band" of the day, the Shirelles. It was first recorded by Merry Clayton, but it took a second recording by Betty Everett to hit the charts. Over in England, the Searchers had some success with the song in 1964, and then the Hollies, Swinging Blue Jeans, Helen Shapiro, Lulu and Sandie Shaw all had a go. Finally, along comes Cher in 1990 and records her version for the 1990 film "Mermaids", and again it's a flop. Cher's version was re-released in the UK in 1991 and it just took off. It stayed at number one for 5 weeks. The public is so fickle ...

2. Suckler of Romulus and Remus : SHE WOLF
According to tradition, Rome was founded by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The pair had a heated argument about who should be allowed to name the city and Romulus hit Remus with a shovel, killing him. And so, "Rome" was born!

7. Exotic avian pets : EMUS
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 …

10. Man from Oman : ARAB
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The capital city of Muscat commands a strategic location on the Gulf of Oman and has a history of invasion and unrest. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody attack. The Portuguese held Muscat for much of the next one hundred years until they were finally ousted by local Omani forces in 1648. A Yemeni tribe invaded the area in 1741 and set up a monarchy that has been in place ever since.

11. Sony recorder : BETACAM
Betacam is range of video cassette products that was released by Sony in 1982.

13. 6-Down in sub-Saharan Africa : TSETSES
Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name "tsetse" comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as "fly". Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as "sleeping sickness". The disease is caused by a parasite which is passed on to humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the tsetse fly, then it is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.

18. Salty orange square : CHEEZ-IT
Cheez-it crackers were introduced way back in 1921, first sold by the Green & Green Company of Dayton, Ohio.

22. Suffix with hex- : -ANE
A hexane is a hydrocarbon, an alkane with six carbon atoms. Hexanes of varying types are major components of gasoline.

25. Stir at a speakeasy : RAID
A speakeasy is an establishment that sells alcoholic drinks illegally. They were very big in the US in the days of Prohibition. The obvious etymology, of a speakeasy owner asking his or her customers to “speak easy” so as not to draw attention to the authorities, is thought to have originated in 1888 in McKeesport, just outside Pittsburgh.

29. Island birthplace of Epicurus : SAMOS
Samos is an island in the eastern Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece. Samos is the birthplace of the famed mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos. The latter was the first person known to have proposed that the Earth revolves around the sun.

The Greek philosopher Epicurus espoused the view that one should try to live a life surrounded by friends that is self-sufficient, free from fear and without pain. It is the name of Epicurus that is the root of our word “epicure”, which we use to mean one who appreciates fine food and drink in particular.

30. Spartan king who fought Pyrrhus : AREUS
Areus I was the King of Sparta from 309 to 265 BC. In terms of military success, he is noted for leading the Spartans to victory when they had to defend themselves from an attack by Pyrrhus of Epirius. He had the men and women of Sparta dig an extensive trench around their city, which they used to hold off the large numbers in the invading army.

31. After-dinner drink, maybe : SANKA
The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene, a potent carcinogen. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let's hope they are safer ...

33. Holy Roman emperor during the War of the Spanish Succession : JOSEPH I
Joseph I was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1690 to 1711. He was also King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and King of the Romans.

35. They include Cuba and Jamaica : ANTILLES
The Antilles islands are divided into two main groups, the Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles. The Greater Antilles includes the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The Lesser Antilles are composed of the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands and the Leeward Antilles, and lie just north of Venezuela.

36. Smart answers : SASS
"Sass", meaning "impudence", is a back formation from the word "sassy". "Sassy" is an alteration of the word "saucy", with "sassy" first appearing in English in the 1830s.

38. It's south of Helsinki : ESTONIA
Estonia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics. It is located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea, due south of Finland. Estonia has been overrun and ruled by various empires over the centuries. Estonia did enjoy a few years of freedom at the beginning of the 20th century after a war of independence against the Russian Empire. However, the country was occupied again during WWII, first by the Russians and then the Germans, and reoccupied by the Soviets in 1944. Estonia has flourished as an independent country again since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

39. Government study, briefly? : POLY SCI
I always thought that the accepted abbreviation for political science was “poli sci”, but I guess I’ve learned something new, yet again …

42. Ophthalmologist's procedure : DYE TEST
An ophthalmologist can use dye in a test that is used to diagnose glaucoma. The dye is applied to the front of the eye to help the doctor better measure the pressure needed to flatten a portion of the cornea.

44. Musical notes : RES
The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti. The solfa scale was developed from a six-note ascending scale created by Guido of Arezzo in the 11th century. He used the first verse of a Latin hymn to name the syllables of the scale (ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si):
Ut queant laxis resonāre fibris
Mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
Solve polluti labii reatum,
Sancte Iohannes.
The "ut" in this scale was changed to "do", as it was a more "open ended" sound, and "si" was added (the initials of "Sancte Iohannes") to complete the seven-note scale. Later again, "si" was changed to "ti" so that each syllable began with a unique letter.

47. Fe, Ag, Au, etc. : ELEMS
Each element in the Periodic Table has its own symbol e.g. iron (Fe), silver (Ag) and gold (Au).

Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist. When he classified elements according to their chemical properties, he noticed patterns and was able to group elements into his famous 1869 Periodic Table. So powerful was his table that he actually predicted the properties of some elements that had not even been discovered in 1869. Appropriately enough, element number 101, mendelevium, was named after Mendeleev.

50. Jrs. take them : PSATS
I think the acronym PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

52. "The Land of Painted Caves" novelist : AUEL
As Jean Auel prepared her first book in the “Earth’s Children” series, she did a lot of research about the Ice Age, the setting for her stories. She went as far as taking a survival course in cold conditions, learning to build an ice cave and how to make fire, tan leather and knap stone.

“The Land of Painted Caves” is the sixth and final book in the “Earth’s Children” series of novels by Jean M. Auel. It was first published in 2011.

55. Singer Phil : OCHS
Phil Ochs was an American protest singer, active in the days of the Vietnam War.

58. End of a match, for short : TKO
In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters cannot 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).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. What ":" means on some exams : IS TO
5. River in W.W. I fighting : YSER
9. Brewing giant : PABST
14. Kind of street : THRU
15. Top : ACME
16. Gray ones can cause arguments : AREAS
17. *Look for : SEARCH OUT
19. Caffè ___ : LATTE
20. "If only" : I WISH
21. *Entice with : USE AS BAIT
23. With 26-Across, none : NOT
24. Stumble : ERR
26. See 23-Across : ANY
27. Some investments, for short : CDS
28. *Drop one, say : LOSE A GAME
31. Broker's goal : SALE
32. "Cold Mountain" novelist Charles : FRAZIER
33. Most common first name among U.S. presidents (six) : JAMES
34. *July, for Major League Baseball : MID-SEASON
37. Where lines may cross : DEPOT
40. Voluntarily, perhaps : UNASKED
43. Those Spaniards : ESOS
44. *Doesn't worry : RESTS EASY
46. TV's onetime ___ Club : PTL
47. Electric ___ : EEL
48. NetZero, e.g., for short : ISP
49. Zip : PEP
51. *It may bear a coat of arms : ROYAL SEAL
54. Relatives of raspberries : HOOTS
56. Succeed : ENSUE
57. *View from Land's End : CELTIC SEA
59. Order countermanded by "Down, boy!" : SIC ‘EM
60. Long haul : TREK
61. Legion : HOST
62. Travels over what's hidden in the answers to the seven starred clues : SAILS
63. Average : SO-SO
64. Bygone fliers : SSTS

Down
1. "___ his kiss" (repeated 1964 lyric) : IT’S IN
2. Suckler of Romulus and Remus : SHE WOLF
3. Sellout : TRAITOR
4. What we share : OURS
5. Derisive call : YAH
6. See 13-Down : SCOURGES
7. Exotic avian pets : EMUS
8. Join forces anew : RE-TEAM
9. Tight : PALSY
10. Man from Oman : ARAB
11. Sony recorder : BETACAM
12. Twiddled one's thumbs : SAT IDLE
13. 6-Down in sub-Saharan Africa : TSETSES
18. Salty orange square : CHEEZ-IT
22. Suffix with hex- : -ANE
25. Stir at a speakeasy : RAID
29. Island birthplace of Epicurus : SAMOS
30. Spartan king who fought Pyrrhus : AREUS
31. After-dinner drink, maybe : SANKA
33. Holy Roman emperor during the War of the Spanish Succession : JOSEPH I
35. They include Cuba and Jamaica : ANTILLES
36. Smart answers : SASS
37. Lower : DEPRESS
38. It's south of Helsinki : ESTONIA
39. Government study, briefly? : POLY SCI
41. Spanish husbands : ESPOSOS
42. Ophthalmologist's procedure : DYE TEST
44. Musical notes : RES
45. Puts in, in a way : ELECTS
47. Fe, Ag, Au, etc. : ELEMS
50. Jrs. take them : PSATS
52. "The Land of Painted Caves" novelist : AUEL
53. Designed for flight : AERO
55. Singer Phil : OCHS
58. End of a match, for short : TKO

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9 comments :

Jim said...

you are so much better than rex parker

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more

Alastair said...

I could not agree more, your site is helpful, informative and NOT a vehicle for an over=bloated ego whose derisive comments become tedious

Anonymous said...

here, here!

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking the same thing for some time.

Anonymous said...

Rex has gone from ego gone mad to rude and crude and dismissive. This site is fantastically spot on and (what's this?) courteous. Thank you.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for the supportive comments, everyone.

Personally I am just grateful to the setters each day for the entertainment provided. I am no expert in setting American-style puzzles so I don't really feel that I have a right to express an opinion about how good or bad a puzzle is. So, here I just focus on what I can learn from the puzzle, mainly about American culture and history (seeing as I wasn't born in this wonderful country!).

Thanks, everyone, for visiting the blog. It's great knowing there's someone out there reading this stuff!

frank726 said...

another hearty endorsement of your approach to this much appreciated site. Your curiosity to find the stories behind the answers is what in large part motivates many solvers. long may you last

Bill Butler said...

Thanks, Frank.

I appreciate the sentiment. I am delighted that so many folks are making use of the posts these days.

Happy puzzling!

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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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