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0302-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 2 Mar 12, Friday





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: Scott Atkinson
THEME: NON-CONTIGUOUSLY … the black squares in the grid are laid out non-contiguously, meaning that no black square touches another:
63A. How this puzzle's black squares are arranged : NON-CONTIGUOUSLY
COMPLETION TIME: 15m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. The miss in "Miss Saigon" : KIM
“Miss Saigon” is a musical that premiered in London in 1989, and one that is based on Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly”. “Miss Saigon” was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the duo responsible for “Les Misérables”. We saw both shows in London during their heyday, and I much preferred “Miss Saigon”. Back then the big thing was to have a big “special effect” in a stage musical, and for “Miss Saigon” this is the landing of a life-size helicopter on the stage. At the performance we attended there was an announcement that “the helicopter was broken”, so we had a fun time watching actors running around pretending there was a helicopter in that climactic scene ...

10. Big race sponsor : STP
STP motor oil takes its name from "Scientifically Treated Petroleum".

16. Panglossian person : ETERNAL OPTIMIST
Someone described as “panglossian” is blindly naive and optimistic. The term comes from the character Pangloss who appears in Voltaire’s satirical novella “Candide, ou l’Optimisme”, which title translates as “Candide: or, Optimism”.

17. Asia-to-Africa link : SINAI
The Sinai Peninsula is in the eastern part of Egypt, the triangular peninsula bounded by the Mediterranean to the north and the Red Sea to the south. It is the only part of Egypt that lies in Asia as opposed to Africa. The eastern land border of the peninsula is shared with Israel, and Israel occupied the Sinai during the 1956 Suez Crisis and the Six Day War of 1967.

18. Carmen ___ ("The Producers" role) : GHIA
Carmen Ghia is a character in the Mel Brooks stage and screen hit “The Producers”. He is the “common law assistant” to the theater director Roger Elizabeth De Bris. Ghia’s name is a play on the car that was made by Volkswagen called the “Karmann Ghia”.

“The Producers” is a 1968 satirical movie written and directed by Mel Brooks, the first film he ever directed. Brooks adapted the movie into a hugely successful Broadway musical that won a record 12 Tony Awards. The original leads in the stage show, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, then appeared in a 2005 movie adaptation of the musical version of the original film! I really didn’t care for the film but went to a local production of the stage show and have to say I had a good time ...

20. Southeast Asian holiday : TET
The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning "Feast of the First Morning". Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

21. Grp. concerned with bowls : NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When the President's son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910.

28. Ice cream mix-in : OREO
The Oreo was the biggest selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been produced since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added to give a different taste.

30. Place to go in Soho : LOO
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.

The area of London called Soho had a very poor reputation for most of the 20th century as it was home to the city’s red light district. Soho has been transformed though, and has been a very fashionable neighborhood since the 1980s.

32. On the 31-Across side : ALEE
"Alee" is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing "aweather".

36. South Asian chant word : KRISHNA
The Hare Krishna mantra dates back to the 15th century. It is a 16-word mantra that can be written as:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

A “mantra” is a word that is used as a focus for the mind while meditating.

43. Longtime Russian acronym : TASS
TASS is the abbreviation used for the former news agency, the Telegraph Association of the Soviet Union (Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza). When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1992, the Moscow-based agency's scope changed, along with its name. It is now known as the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS).

44. ___ Dogg Pound (rap duo) : THA
Tha Dogg Pound is a rap duo made up of Daz Dillinger and Kurupt.

45. Chihuahua scratch? : PESO
“Scratch” has been used as a slang word for money since the days of WWI.

Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico.  Chihuahua  is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname "El Estado Grande". The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. And of course the Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.

53. King, in Cape Verde : REI
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa. The country takes its name from Cap-Vert, a peninsula in Senegal and the most westerly point on the continent. Cape Verde was an uninhabited group of islands when it was colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century.

58. SALT I and II, e.g. : PACTS
There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970.

60. Beloved "Immortal Beloved" piece : MOONLIGHT SONATA
Beethoven subtitled his Piano Sonata No. 14 as “Quasi una fantasia”, or “sonata in the manner of a fantasy” in English. Five years after Beethoven died a music critic wrote that the (superb!) first movement of the piece had an effect like that of monnlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Since then, the work has been known as the Moonlight Sonata.

“Immortal Beloved” is one of my favorite movies of all time, although that is partly because I have a penchant for biographical films about the lives of classical composers. This 1994 film is an exploration of who might be the “immortal beloved” that Beethoven referred to in three letters that he wrote that were found among his private papers after he died. It’s a great tale and of course the musical score is just wonderful ...

65. Gunsmith with Smith : WESSON
Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the US. The company was founded in 1852 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson.

Down
1. "Take cover!" : KATIE, BAR THE DOOR
“Katy, bar the door” is an American phrase (that I had never heard of!) that is a warning to take precautions as there may be trouble ahead. The origin of the phrase doesn’t seem to be clear but, as always, there’s a lot of speculation.

3. Star in Cetus : MIRA
Mira is a red giant star in the constellation Cetus.

Red giants are very large stars with a relatively low mass. The atmosphere of a red giant is also very inflated and extends a long way into space so the surface of that atmosphere that we see is relatively cool, which gives it a red color.

Cetus is a constellation named after a sea monster from Greek mythology. Today, Cetus is often called “the Whale”.

5. Hägar's wife : HELGA
"Hagar the Horrible" is a comic strip that was created by the late Dik Browne and is now drawn by his son, Chris Browne. "Hagar the Terrible" (not "Horrible") was the nickname given to Dik by his sons.

6. Polynesian farewell song : ALOHA ‘OE
"Aloha 'Oe" is a song of Hawaii composed by Liliuokalani, the last monarch of Hawaii and her only queen. The title translates as "Farewell to Thee".

7. "Beau Geste" headgear : KEPI
The kepi is that circular cap with a visor, worn in particular by the French military.

“Beau Geste” is a 1924 novel by the British writer P. C. Wren. The hero of the piece is Michael “Beau” Geste, an upper-class Englishman who joins the French Foreign Legion and embarks on a life of adventure and intrigue.

11. Tackles a tough task : TESTS ONE’S METTLE
“Mettle” is such a lovely word. It means courage and fortitude, or spirit. “Mettle” is simply a variant spelling of the word “metal”.

12. W. Coast clock setting : PST
Local solar time was replaced with standard time zones due to the increasing use of rail travel and telecommunications as the variations in local solar times became somewhat inconvenient. Time zones in the US vary in hourly increments, but in some parts of the world a 30-minute or even 15-minute difference can apply.

14. Center for cat-tails? : O’ NINE
The cat o' nine tails was a vicious instrument of punishment, particularly popular in the Royal Navy. The "cat" was made up on nine cord thongs and at the end of each thong was a knot. The specialty knot was aptly called a blood knot, and was designed to bite into the skin and draw blood. It was these "claws" at the end of the thongs, along with the nine "tails" that gave the name to the whip, the "cat o' nine tails".

15. Highly decorated Bradley : OMAR
Omar Bradley graduated from West Point in the class of 1915, along with Dwight Eisenhower who also attained the rank of General of the Army. Bradley was the last person to hold the rank of a five-star commissioned officer, and he was the first general to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was struck by a quotation from Bradley from later in his life:
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

24. Georgetown athlete : HOYA
The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from "Hoya Saxa", a traditional cheer yelled out at Georgetown games as far back as 1893. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word "hoya" meaning "such" or "what", and "saxa" translating from Latin as "rocks" or "small stones". The cheer is usually rendered in English as "what rocks!".

27. "Sax All Night" New Ager : TESH
John Tesh is a pianist and composer, as well as a radio and television presenter.

31. "SCTV" lineup : SKITS
“Second City Television” (SCTV) is a sketch show produced in Canada from 1976 to 1984.

33. Hmong homeland : LAOS
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People's Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the name is "Meuang Lao". The French ruled the country as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of "Lao" entities united into one, the French added the "S" and so today we tend to use "Laos" instead of "Lao".

The Hmong people are an ethnic group from the mountains of China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

39. Sandy shade : ECRU
The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word "ecru" comes from French and means "raw, unbleached". It has the same roots as our word "crude".

48. Second-largest city in Finland : ESPOO
Espoo is the second largest city in Finland although it is part of the metropolitan area of Helsinki, the capital and largest city. Espoo is home to a number of successful enterprises, including Nokia.

54. Exeter exclamation : I SAY!
Exeter is a historic city in the country of Devon in the southwest of England. The city takes its name from the river on which it lies, the River Exe.

60. 6 letters : MNO
The letters MNO are found on the number 6 on the keypad of a telephone.

62. Apollo's chariot "passenger" : SUN
In Greek mythology, Eos is the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. She would wake each morning and open the gates of heaven to allow Apollo to ride his chariot across the sky (the sun).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. The miss in "Miss Saigon" : KIM
4. Burger go-withs : SHAKES
10. Big race sponsor : STP
13. Dishes fit for astronomers? : RADIO TELESCOPES
16. Panglossian person : ETERNAL OPTIMIST
17. Asia-to-Africa link : SINAI
18. Carmen ___ ("The Producers" role) : GHIA
19. Interior decorator's suggestion : ART
20. Southeast Asian holiday : TET
21. Grp. concerned with bowls : NCAA
23. Rout : THRASH
26. Mean cur, typically : BITER
28. Ice cream mix-in : OREO
30. Place to go in Soho : LOO
31. See 32-Across : SAFE
32. On the 31-Across side : ALEE
34. ___ question : YES/NO
36. South Asian chant word : KRISHNA
38. Had a lot to digest : FEASTED
40. Restless : ITCHY
41. Ear-related : OTIC
43. Longtime Russian acronym : TASS
44. ___ Dogg Pound (rap duo) : THA
45. Chihuahua scratch? : PESO
47. Adjust one's sights : RE-AIM
49. Lays atop : SETS ON
51. Asset : PLUS
53. King, in Cape Verde : REI
55. Handy-andy's letters : DIY
56. Box-office take : GATE
58. SALT I and II, e.g. : PACTS
60. Beloved "Immortal Beloved" piece : MOONLIGHT SONATA
63. How this puzzle's black squares are arranged : NON-CONTIGUOUSLY
64. They may have you in stitches, in brief : ORS
65. Gunsmith with Smith : WESSON
66. One may say "I'm with stupid" : TEE

Down
1. "Take cover!" : KATIE, BAR THE DOOR
2. Security requests : IDENTIFICATIONS
3. Star in Cetus : MIRA
4. What an express often whizzes by: Abbr. : STA
5. Hägar's wife : HELGA
6. Polynesian farewell song : ALOHA ‘OE
7. "Beau Geste" headgear : KEPI
8. Responsibility for a groundskeeper : ESTATE
9. Grade sch. subject : SCI
10. Round-trip flight? : SPIRAL STAIRCASE
11. Tackles a tough task : TESTS ONE’S METTLE
12. W. Coast clock setting : PST
13. Do some recharging : REST
14. Center for cat-tails? : O’ NINE
15. Highly decorated Bradley : OMAR
22. Prefix with many fruit names : CRAN-
24. Georgetown athlete : HOYA
25. Things worked under in a garage : HOODS
27. "Sax All Night" New Ager : TESH
29. Mtge. broker's come-on : REFI
31. "SCTV" lineup : SKITS
33. Hmong homeland : LAOS
35. It is in Spain : ESTA
37. It has a sticking point : HYPO
39. Sandy shade : ECRU
42. Pre-stunt provocation : TOP THIS
46. Thing worked on in a garage : ENGINE
48. Second-largest city in Finland : ESPOO
50. Matched up, after "in" : SYNC
52. Can : LET GO
54. Exeter exclamation : I SAY!
57. Cut takers: Abbr. : AGTS
59. Some kind of ___ : A NUT
60. 6 letters : MNO
61. Fan setting : LOW
62. Apollo's chariot "passenger" : SUN

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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 try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

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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