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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

0226-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Feb 12, Sunday





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: Daniel A. Finan
THEME: Back to the Start … in order to make sense of each theme answer you have to take the first three letters of that answer and add them to the end:
23A. Aide for a V.I.P. customer : PERSONAL SHOP(PER)
25A. Multiple Grammy winner who was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" : TONI BRAX(TON)
35A. Prozac, for one : ANTI-DEPRESS(ANT)
59A. Freudian concept : PLEASURE PRINCI(PLE)
78A. Mountains, rivers, plains, etc. : PHYSICAL GEOGRA(PHY)
99A. Fancy salad ingredient : ARTICHOKE HE(ART)
117A. London transportation : UNDERGRO(UND)
119A. Marlon Brando film : ON THE WATERFR(ONT)
COMPLETION TIME: 33m 07s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 3 … TONI BRAX-TON (Lori Brax-lor!), GET (gel), BENET (beret)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
12. Confabs : GABFESTS
“Confab”, meaning “chat” is a shortened form of “confabulation”. The word “confabulation” derives from the Latin from “com” (together) and “fabula” (a tale). “Fabula” is also the root of our word “fable”.

20. Stern taking a bow (in two senses) : ISAAC
Isaac Stern is Ukranian-born, but moved with his family to San Francisco at a very young age. A wonderful violin virtuoso ...

25. Multiple Grammy winner who was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" : TONI BRAX(TON)
Toni Braxton is a very successful R&B singer, but one who seems to have trouble managing her financial affairs. After two highly successful albums, she had to file for bankruptcy protection in 1993. She recovered and had even more success, and then had to file for bankruptcy again in 2010.

26. Paper nautilus, e.g. : OCTOPOD
An argonaut (also called a paper nautilus) is a type of octopus.

30. P.T.A. interest : EDUC
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

35. Prozac, for one : ANTI-DEPRESS(ANT)
The top three antidepressants prescribed in the US (in 2007 anyway) are:
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)

40. W.C. : LAV
Our word “lavatory” originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a "lavatory" became a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

When I was growing up in Ireland, a "bathroom" was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called "the toilet" or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term closet was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes in a "closet", as a closet was the right size to take the commode. It has been suggested that the British term "loo" comes from Waterloo (water-closet ... water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure.

48. Gore in fiction : VIDAL
Gore Vidal is an author and political activist from West Point, New York. His works have always been controversial. His 1948 novel “The City and the Pillar” created a fuss because it featured blatant homosexuality.

57. X X X lover? : KEGLER
A “kegler” is someone who bowls. “Kegel” is the word for a bowling pin in German.

59. Freudian concept : PLEASURE PRINCI(PLE)
The pleasure principle and reality principle are concepts from Freudian psychology. The pleasure principle describes the behavior of seeking out pleasure and avoiding suffering. The opposing reality principle describes the behavior of deferring gratification of a desire when circumstances deem that it makes more sense to do so

63. The "L" of S.L.R. : LENS
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.

65. Inverness native : SCOT
Inverness is in effect the capital city of the Scottish Highlands. It is the most northerly city in the whole of the United Kingdom.

67. Funeral stands : BIERS
Biers are the special stands on which one rests a coffin for a service, or perhaps if the corpse is to lie in state. A bier may have wheels on it so that it can be used to transport the coffin to the graveside. The original biers were just flat pieces of wood on which the body was placed, covered with a shroud. Nowadays, we place the body in a casket, and then onto the biers.

73. Jimmie Rodgers or Tex Owens, musically : YODELER
Jimmie Rodgers was a country singer active in the early 1900s, noted for his yodeling. Rodgers was also called the Singing Brakeman, a nod to the fact that he worked on the railroad as a brakeman for a while.

Tex Owens was a country music yodeler who featured on the radio a lot in the thrities and forties. He is perhaps best remembered for writing the hit for Eddie Arnold called “Cattle Call”.

85. Blackjack decision : HIT
In the card game of blackjack, a player can take another card (“hit”) or end their turn (“stand”).

The game of "twenty-one" was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing "Don Quixote". He called the game "ventiuna" (Spanish for "twenty-one"). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn't all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker "Blackjack".

86. "The Magnificent Seven" co-star : MCQUEEN
Apparently Steve McQueen wasn’t the easiest actor to work with, at least as far as directors were concerned. He pretty much had a free rein though, as he was so popular with the public in the seventies (he had the nickname “The King of Cool”). He was the highest paid movie star in 1974.

“The Magnificent Seven” really is a very entertaining western movie (and I am no fan of westerns, quite frankly). Famously, it is a 1960 remake of the Akira Kurosawa 1954 Japanese film, “Seven Samurai”. The film is the second most shown film on television in the US. Only “The Wizard of Oz” gets more air time.

89. Actor Hill of "Moneyball" : JONAH
The actor Jonah Hill was a friend of the children of Dustin Hoffman. The children introduced the aspiring actor and writer to their father and Hoffman asked Hill to audition for a role in “I Heart Huckabees”. Hill got the part and his career took off. I saw Hill not too long ago in the film “Moneyball”, and for my money (pun intended!), he stole the show.

Billy Beane is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Michael Lewis wrote his book “Moneyball” about the way Billy Beane built his team by bringing on board players who were “undervalued”, getting the maximum benefit from his limited payroll budget. I must admit I know nothing about baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Moneyball”, and the film adaptation with Brad Pitt playing Beane.

95. Gospel singer Winans : CECE
CeCe Winans (real name Priscilla) is a Gospel music singer. She is part of a duo with her brother, BeBe Winans (real name Benjamin).

101. Org. making grants to museums : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. It was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark.

103. Big faucet maker : DELTA
The Delta Faucet company brought out the first one-handled faucet that controlled hot and cold water. The name “Delta” was chosen as the handle’s movement resembled the triangular Greek letter “delta”.

105. University in North Carolina : ELON
Elon is a city in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, close to the city of Burlington. Elon University is a private liberal arts school founded in 1889.

117. London transportation : UNDERGRO(UND)
The name "London Underground" is a little deceptive, as over half of the track system-wide is actually "over ground", with the underground sections reserved for the central areas. It is the oldest subway system in the world, opening in 1863. It was also the first system to use electric rolling stock, in 1890. "The Tube", as it is known by Londoners, isn't the longest subway system in the world though. That honor belongs to the Shanghai Metro. My favorite part of the Tube? The tube map! It is a marvel of design ...

119. Marlon Brando film : ON THE WATERFR(ONT)
The 1954 drama "On the Waterfront", starring Marlon Brando, told a story of violence and corruption among longshoremen, and was based on a series of 24 articles written by investigative journalist Malcolm Johnston and published in "The New York Sun". The original news stories uncovered mob infiltration on the New York City Waterfront, but in the film the location was changed to Hoboken, New Jersey.

122. "Cheers" bartender Sam : MALONE
The wonderful sitcom "Cheers" ran for eleven seasons on NBC, from 1982 to 1993. It spawned an equally successful spin-off show "Frasier", which also ran for eleven seasons and often featured guest appearances of characters from "Cheers". The Cheers bar was styled on the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston (in which I've had a pint of Guinness!). The owner of the Bill & Finch cleverly agreed to the initial interior and exterior shots, charging only one dollar. Since then he has made millions from selling "Cheers" memorabilia, and also from increased trade.

123. Movie droid : ARTOO
Artoo's proper name is R2-D2, the smaller of the two famous droids from the "Star Wars" movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stands just 3 ft 8 ins tall, has been the man inside the R2-D2 droid for all six of the "Star Wars" movies.

124. Fastener patented in 1939 : TWIST TIE
The original twist tie was patented in 1939 by a California company that marketed the invention as “Twist-Ems”. In the US, twist ties are routinely used to help inventory management of bread, as the color of the twist tie used in packaging changes with the day the bread is baked. Apparently the “code” varies with supplier though.

Down
1. Alternative to dieting, informally : LIPO
Liposuction dates back to the 1920s, and was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result it wasn't until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction gained favor, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

4. ___ Robles, Calif. : PASO
Paso Robles is a lovely little city in San Luis Obispo County, California. Paso Robles is home to many, many wineries. The name Paso Robles translates from Spanish as “The Pass of the Oaks”.

7. ___ Rose : AXL
Axl Rose is the lead vocalist of the American rock band, Guns N' Roses.

10. Plant pores : STOMAS
Stomata (he usual plural of stoma, not “stomas”) are pores found under almost every leaf, clearly visible under a simple microscope. The stomata take in air rich in carbon dioxide. Through the process of photosynthesis, the plants generate oxygen, which is released back into the air though the same stomata.

12. Grok : GET
To grok is to understand, a slang word really only used in "techie" circles. “Grok” is the creation of science fiction author Robert Heinlein, who coined the term in his 1961 novel “Stranger in a Strange Land”.

13. Sir Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of ___ : AVON
Sir Anthony Eden served as Britain's Foreign Secretary during WWII, and then as Prime Minister from 1955-57. I think it's fair to say that he doesn't have a great reputation as a statesman. He was proud of his stance in favor of peace over war, so his critics characterized him as an appeaser. His major stumble on the world stage occurred with the Suez Crisis in 1956. Egypt's President Nasser unilaterally nationalized the Suez Canal causing war to be declared on Egypt by Britain, France and Israel. Within a few months political pressure from the US and the USSR caused the allies to withdraw, bolstering Egypt's national reputation. Eden never recovered from the loss of face at home, and it is felt that the stress even affected his health. Eden resigned in January 1957.

14. Pulitzer winner for "John Brown's Body" : BENET
Stephen Vincent Benét is an author best known for his lengthy narrative poem “John Brown’s Body” which was first published in 1928 and for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Benét also wrote the story “The Sobbin’ Women” which was later adapted into the musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

19. Send some pixxx? : SEXT
"Sexting" (a portmanteau of "sex" and "texting") is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term "sexting" was first coined by the UK's "Sunday Telegraph Magazine" in a 2005 article. Apparently the practice is "rampant" among teens and young adults. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie ...?

28. Environs : MILIEU
We use the French word “milieu” to mean an environment, surroundings. In French it is a word for “middle”.

"Environ" is the French word for "round" or "round about".

33. Subject of the documentary "An Unreasonable Man" : NADER
Ralph Nader has run as a third-party candidate for the office of President of the United States four times now, in every election since 1996. Nader's name was first first linked with the presidential race in 1971, when the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock offered to stand aside as candidate in the 1972 race if Nader would agree to run, but he declined.

35. Helter-skelter : AMOK
The phrase "to run amok" (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for "attacking furiously", "amuk". The word "amok" was also used as a noun, to describe Malay natives who were "frenzied". Given Malaya's troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy ...

37. Cavemen : TROGLODYTES
“Troglodyte” is a Greek word that translates literally as “one who creeps into holes”. We use it to mean “a caveman”.

39. Eve who wrote "The Vagina Monologues" : ENSLER
Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days … actor Dylan McDermott.

43. South Dakota memorial site : WOUNDED KNEE
In 1890, the US 7th cavalry killed over 300 men, women and children of the Lakota tribe, near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. The massacre took place when the cavalry entered the Lakota's camp in an attempt to disarm the group. Apparently a scuffle escalated into indiscriminate shooting. Such was the confusion and lack of control, that the cavalry soldiers supposedly killed and injured many of their own men.

44. Modern December birthstone : ZIRCON
Zircon is the name of the mineral with the chemical name of zirconium silicate. Zircon comes in many colors, and colorless specimens that are of gem quality are often used as a substitute for diamonds.

Here is the "official" list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:
January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl or Moonstone
July: Ruby
August: Sardonyx or Peridot
September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
November: Topaz or Citrine
December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

45. White elephant, e.g. : ALBINO
“Albino”, meaning an organism lacking normal pigmentation, comes from “albus” Latin for “white”.

48. TiVo precursor : VHS
The video standard known as VHS is more fully referred to as the Video Home System. VHS was one of many standards touted by various manufacturers in the seventies. The biggest rival to VHS was of course Betamax, but we all knew who won the final round in that fight.

TiVo was introduced in 1999, the world's first commercially successful DVR (Digital Video Recorder). If you don't have a DVR, you might want to consider getting one. For those who enjoy television, it's very liberating.

52. It's felt on the head : FEZ
"Fez" is the name given to the red cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. It used to be very popular right across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of "fez" is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

58. Only Hitchcock film to win Best Picture : REBECCA
“Rebecca” is a fabulous film from 1940, the first Hollywood movie for director Alfred Hitchcock (and winner of a Best Picture Oscar). The story is adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, and stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I don’t normally like movies or books with Gothic themes, but I highly recommend this one.

60. Minnesota twins? : ENS
There are two letters N sitting in the middle of the word “Mi-nn-esota”.

61. Song that starts "A winter's day in a deep and dark December" : I AM A ROCK
"I Am a Rock" is a lovely song written by Paul Simon that aears on the Simon and Garfunkel album "Sounds of Silence".

66. Premium Cuban cigar brand : COHIBA
The brand name “Cohiba” is actually used by two cigar manufacturers. The first is produced by Habanos S.A. which is a state-owned tobacco company in Cuba. The second is produced by a US company in the Dominican Republic. The name “cohíba “ means “tobacco”.

68. Nationals whose flag declares "God is great" : IRAQIS
The basis of the Iraqi flag is three horizontal stripes of red, white and black that has been used since 1963. Within the white stripe at the center there is a green symbol that has changed over the years. The current flag bears the words in Arabic known as the Takbir, which translate as “Allah is the Greatest”.

71. Sod house locale : PRAIRIE
Sod houses were a practical alternative to log cabins in the prairies. Because the prairie lacked the timber needed for more traditional construction, walls were made of patches of sod piled on top of each other. Sod houses were really well-insulated, but were also damp and infested with insects.

80. Old-timer : GEEZER
Geezer and codger are two not-so-nice terms for an old man.

81. Some M.I.T. grads : EES
Electrical Engineers (EEs).

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) moved into its magnificent mile-long campus on the Cambridge side of the Charles River in 1906. The campus was built largely with funds donated by George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company.

84. Korea's Syngman ___ : RHEE
Syngman Rhee was born in Korea, but received much of his education in the US, including a Ph.D. from Princeton. The very much westernized Rhee returned to Korea in 1910, a Korea that by then had been annexed by Japan. Soon after he found himself President of a Provisional Government of Korea based in Shanghai, but was eventually ousted for misuse of power. After WWII, Rhee was installed as President, heavily backed by the United States. However, Rhee's rule proved to be more like tyranny, and during the Korean War his relationship with the US Government became very strained. He stayed in power until 1960 when student revolts became popular enough to force him out of office. The CIA flew him out of the country and he went into exile in Hawaii, where a few years later he died of a stroke.

94. First TV show to debut at #1 in the Nielsen ratings : RHODA
Valerie Harper is best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", and on her own spin-off sitcom "Rhoda".

Arthur Nielsen founded his Nielsen Media Research company to track brand advertising. He quickly moved into market analysis of radio audiences in the thirties, and today the company is famous for tracking television audiences. I remember watching the last episode of the TV series "Becker", in which Ted Danson played a doctor. Given that the show had been ordered off the air, there's a great line in the last episode when Becker asks for the chart of a patient called "Nielsen". He looks at the lab results and announces "I don't know what everyone is talking about ... these numbers aren't so bad!" Great stuff ...

100. General Motors subsidiary : ONSTAR
The OnStar system started back in 1995, a joint venture between GM, EDS and Hughes. The product itself was launched in 1996. Today it is only available on GM cars, although it used to be offered on other makes of car through a licensing agreement. OnStar is a subscription service that packages vehicle security, telephone, satellite navigation and remote diagnostics. You've seen the ads, I am sure.

102. Feeling pervading Brat Pack movies : ANGST
The Brat Pack moninker is reminiscent of the Rat Pack of the fifties and sixties (Franks Sinatra & co.). To qualify as a "founding" member of the Brat pack the actor had to appear in either "The Breakfast Club" or "St. Elmo's Fire", or both. So we have Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

106. Reynolds of "Boogie Nights" : BURT
Burt Reynolds is famous for playing the "Bandit" in "Smokey and the Bandit", and Lewis Medlock in "Deliverance", but his critically acclaimed performance was as Jack Horner in the 1997 movie "Boogie Nights". Off the screen he was quite the man around town, romantically linked to the likes of Tammy Wynette, Lucie Arnaz (daughter of Lucille Ball), Sally Field, Dinah Shore and Chris Evert. He was married to Judy Carne, as well as Loni Anderson.

"Boogie Nights" was released in 1997, and deals with the pornographic movie business. Burt Reynolds plays a director in the industry. Not a great subject matter, but the movie does have an impressive cast (including Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and Philip Seymour Hoffman).

109. Hofbräuhaus crowd? : DREI
“Drei” is the German for three and “three” is a crowd, as the saying goes.

The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is a beer hall in Munich. It was in the Hofbräuhaus that Adolf Hitler held his first political meetings and outlined the ideas for the Nazi Party. Of course, the Hofbräuhaus is also a major tourist attraction as the year-round atmosphere there resembles that experienced during Oktoberfest.

111. Place after place : SHOW
In horse racing there are three so-called “straight bets”. Betting a horse to win is just that, betting that your horse will come first in the race. If you bet on a horse to place, then it must finish first or second. If you bet on a horse to show, then it must finish first, second or third.

113. Home of the Norte Chico civilization : PERU
The Norte Chico civilization lived in north-central coastal Peru. Norte Chico society was at its height between the 30th and 18th centuries BC making it the oldest known civilization in the Americas.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Bulb holders : LAMPS
6. Part of the name of many a Spanish restaurant : LA CASA
12. Confabs : GABFESTS
20. Stern taking a bow (in two senses) : ISAAC
21. Demands (from) : EXACTS
22. Eternally : EVERMORE
23. Aide for a V.I.P. customer : PERSONAL SHOP(PER)
25. Multiple Grammy winner who was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" : TONI BRAX(TON)
26. Paper nautilus, e.g. : OCTOPOD
27. Words mouthed to a TV camera : HI, MOM
29. Like the pen or pencil you might reach for : NEAREST
30. P.T.A. interest : EDUC
32. One of two options at a fast food restaurant : EAT IN
34. Sample : TRY
35. Prozac, for one : ANTI-DEPRESS(ANT)
40. W.C. : LAV
42. "Oh baby!" : YOWZA
46. Eve's opposite : MORN
47. Work assignment : STINT
48. Gore in fiction : VIDAL
50. Dirty : SOIL
51. Kind of switch : ON/OFF
53. Special ___ : OPS
54. It may be popped for fun : WHEELIE
56. Metro area : URB
57. X X X lover? : KEGLER
59. Freudian concept : PLEASURE PRINCI(PLE)
62. Lie about : LAZE
63. The "L" of S.L.R. : LENS
64. Trample : TREAD ON
65. Inverness native : SCOT
67. Funeral stands : BIERS
69. Run out : LAPSE
72. "Tell ___ lies" : ME NO
73. Jimmie Rodgers or Tex Owens, musically : YODELER
75. Bun contents : HAIR
76. Make ___ dash : A MAD
78. Mountains, rivers, plains, etc. : PHYSICAL GEOGRA(PHY)
82. More sinister : DARKER
85. Blackjack decision : HIT
86. "The Magnificent Seven" co-star : MCQUEEN
87. Suffix with human : -OID
89. Actor Hill of "Moneyball" : JONAH
90. Mind : OBEY
92. Spanish winds : AIRES
93. Distilled vis-à-vis tap : PURER
95. Gospel singer Winans : CECE
96. Like the "ng" sound : NASAL
98. "___ who?!" : SEZ
99. Fancy salad ingredient : ARTICHOKE HE(ART)
101. Org. making grants to museums : NEA
103. Big faucet maker : DELTA
105. University in North Carolina : ELON
106. Rear : BACK END
110. Genealogical study : ROOTS
112. Articles aren't found in it : AD SPACE
117. London transportation : UNDERGRO(UND)
119. Marlon Brando film : ON THE WATERFR(ONT)
121. Set free : RELEASED
122. "Cheers" bartender Sam : MALONE
123. Movie droid : ARTOO
124. Fastener patented in 1939 : TWIST TIE
125. Pivoted : SLEWED
126. ___-Japanese : RUSSO-

Down
1. Alternative to dieting, informally : LIPO
2. "Just ___!" : A SEC
3. Bartering locale : MART
4. ___ Robles, Calif. : PASO
5. Checked (out) : SCOPED
6. Antecede : LEAD UP TO
7. ___ Rose : AXL
8. Bills, e.g. : CASH
9. Most 17-Down : ACHIEST
10. Plant pores : STOMAS
11. "You missed ___" : A SPOT
12. Grok : GET
13. Sir Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of ___ : AVON
14. Pulitzer winner for "John Brown's Body" : BENET
15. Brother's place : FRIARY
16. Early life forms? : EMBRYOS
17. See 9-Down : SORE
18. Refrain syllables : TRAS
19. Send some pixxx? : SEXT
24. Network connections : NODES
28. Environs : MILIEU
31. Incapacitate : CRIPPLE
33. Subject of the documentary "An Unreasonable Man" : NADER
35. Helter-skelter : AMOK
36. Bar ___ : NONE
37. Cavemen : TROGLODYTES
38. Blows up : INFLATES
39. Eve who wrote "The Vagina Monologues" : ENSLER
41. Has parked : VALETS
43. South Dakota memorial site : WOUNDED KNEE
44. Modern December birthstone : ZIRCON
45. White elephant, e.g. : ALBINO
48. TiVo precursor : VHS
49. "Eavesdrop" from across the room, say : LIP READ
52. It's felt on the head : FEZ
54. "Time ___ ..." : WAS
55. Poetic preposition : ERE
58. Only Hitchcock film to win Best Picture : REBECCA
60. Minnesota twins? : ENS
61. Song that starts "A winter's day in a deep and dark December" : I AM A ROCK
65. Draw (off): Var. : SYPHON
66. Premium Cuban cigar brand : COHIBA
68. Nationals whose flag declares "God is great" : IRAQIS
69. What echoes do : LAG
70. Clear the atmosphere of : AIR OUT
71. Sod house locale : PRAIRIE
74. Min. or max. : LIM
75. Sweets : HON
77. Capt.'s superior : MAJ
79. Drew in : LURED
80. Old-timer : GEEZER
81. Some M.I.T. grads : EES
83. Per : EACH
84. Korea's Syngman ___ : RHEE
88. Like some housecats : DECLAWED
91. "Gone With the Wind" bad guys : YANKEES
93. Yammer : PRATTLE
94. First TV show to debut at #1 in the Nielsen ratings : RHODA
97. Eye up and down : LEER AT
99. Discordant : ATONAL
100. General Motors subsidiary : ONSTAR
102. Feeling pervading Brat Pack movies : ANGST
104. Towers : LOOMS
106. Reynolds of "Boogie Nights" : BURT
107. From the top : ANEW
108. Mid fifth-century year : CDLI
109. Hofbräuhaus crowd? : DREI
111. Place after place : SHOW
113. Home of the Norte Chico civilization : PERU
114. Part of 101-Across : ARTS
115. Corp. money types : CFOS
116. Switch attachment? : -EROO
118. Metered praise : ODE
120. Charlotte-to-Raleigh dir. : ENE

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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Antecede does not mean Leadupto. Precede does. How can Will Shortz let this error exist

Bill Butler said...

@Anonymous
I don't know. I think there's a good argument that "precede" and "antecede" are synonyms.

But, I have been wrong ...

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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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