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Greetings from Dromod, County Leitrim 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

0303-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 3 Mar 12, Saturday





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: Byron Walden
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 56m 18s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius : AIR SIGNS
Each of the twelve astrological signs is associated with one of the classical elements:
- Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
- Earth signs: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo
- Air signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
- Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

16. Not bad, in Nantes : PAS MAL
Nantes is a beautiful city located on the delta of the Loire, Erdre and Sevre rivers. It has the well deserved nickname of "The Venice of the West". I had the privilege of visiting Nantes a couple of times on business, and I can attest that it really is a charming city.

19. Ancient key : ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for "eternal life". The ankh wasn't just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world).

21. "Green Book" org., familiarly : THE IRA
The IRA Green Book is a training manual that was first used by the Irish Republican Army in the 1950s.

22. Home of the Dostoyevsky Literary Museum : OMSK
Omsk is a city in southwest Siberia. It is located over 1400 miles from Moscow and was chosen as the destination for many internal exiles in the mid-1900s. Perhaps the most famous of these exiles was the author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's most famous novels are "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov". Dostoyevsky was arrested in 1849 and sentenced to death by Tsar Nicholas I for being part of a liberal intellectual group. He endured a mock execution before being told that his sentence was commuted to four years hard labor and exile in a camp at Omsk in Siberia.

29. Field marshals' commands : ARMY GROUPS
The rank of field marshal is the highest in many armies of the world. The rank of field marshal doesn’t exist in the US Army, and instead the highest rank is General of the Army.

34. Monkey ladder vine : LIANA
Liana is the name give to vines that generally grow in moist areas such as rain forests. They grow using the trees in the forest as support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines ...

35. Holiday when sweeping and emptying the trash are considered bad luck : 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.

36. Vega of "Spy Kids" : ALEXA
The actress Alexa Vega was just a kid when she played Carmen Cortez in the first "Spy Kids" movie in 2001, but now she is "all growed up". I remember taking the kids to see "Sy Kids". I think I slept through most of it though ...

40. Symbiotic partners of clownfish : SEA ANEMONES
The name "anemone" means "daughter of the wind" in Greek, and at one time it was believed that the wind was what actually caused the flower to bloom. The sea anemone is named for the terrestrial plant even though it isn't a plant at all. The sea anemone is a predatory animal found on the ocean floor.

Clownfish are very colorful, attractive-looking fish. They are orange and often have broad strips of white and black on their bodies depending on species. Clownfish spend their lives in a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones.

41. "She is more precious than ___": Proverbs 3:15 : RUBIES
The full quotation from the Book of Proverbs in the Bible is:
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
Contemporary translations of the original text use the pronoun “she”, personifying wisdom in the female gender.

46. Garment originally made from caribou or sealskin : ANORAK
Anoraks aren't very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.

47. "___ Back" (2004 Kenny Chesney hit) : I GO
Kenny Chesney is a country music singer and songwriter from Knoxville, Tennessee. For just a few months in 2005, Chesney was married to the actress Renee Zellweger.

48. Tarzan trademark : YELL
"Tarzan" is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line "Me Tarzan, you Jane" never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn't even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (the original movie "Tarzan") saw Maureen O'Sullivan (the original movie "Jane") struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying "Me Tarzan, you Jane", and people have been quoting those words ever since.

52. Takes a powder : SCRAMS
The idiom “take a powder” means to scram, to vanish. We apparently have been using it since the 1920s.

53. Steve Allen sidekick with the catchphrase "Hi-ho, Steverino!" : LOUIS NYE
Louis Nye was the stage name used by Louis Neistat, a comedy actor from Hartford, Connecticut. Nye never retired, and was working right up until he passed away in 2005 at the age of 92.

Down
1. "East of Eden" girl : ABRA
Abra Bacon is a character in John Steinbeck’s novel, “East of Eden”.

John Steinbeck considered "East of Eden" his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live here in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

2. Unrelenting : IRON
The word “iron” can be used as an adjective meaning inflexible and unyielding, as in “iron resolve”.

3. Pool accessory : RACK
The more correct name for the game of pool is pocket billiards. The name "pool" came after pocket billiards became a common feature in "pool halls", places where gamblers "pooled" their money to bet on horse races.

4. Guru follower : SIKH
Sikhism is a religion that was founded in the 15th century in the Punjab region, which straddles the India-Pakistan border. Even though Sikhism was established relatively recently, it is now the fifth-largest organized religion in the world.

5. "___ 500" (annual list) : INC
“Inc.” is a business magazine that specializes in articles about growing companies. “Inc.” publishes a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country each year, calling it the “Inc. 500”.

7. Cape Breton locale : NOVA SCOTIA
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia lies on the east coast of the country, a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. It was settled by Scots starting in 1621, and Nova Scotia is Latin for "New Scotland".

Cape Breton is a headland, and is the eastern-most extremity of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

8. Taco Bell offering : STEAK QUESADILLA
Taco Bell was founded by a former US Marine, 25-year-old Glen Bell. His first restaurant was Bell’s Drive-In, located in Southern California. After opening that first establishment, Bell bought up some more restaurants including four named El Taco. He sold off the El Taco restaurants but used the name in part when he opened his first Taco Bell in 1962. Bell sold then sold franchises, with the 100th Taco Bell opening in 1967. The ex-Marine sold off the whole chain to PepsiCo in 1978, and I am guessing he made a pretty penny.

9. Dogs that ought to be great swimmers? : SPITZES
A spitz-type dog has thick insulating fur making it very suitable for life in harsh northern climates.

Mark Spitz is a retired competitive swimmer, famously the winner of seven gold medals for the US at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Spitz was only 22 years of age right after the 1972 Games, at which point he retired from competition. Having said that, Spitz briefly came out of retirement in 1992 and tried for a place in the US team for the Barcelona Olympics at the age of 41. Unfortunately he couldn’t make the grade.

13. Old country name or its currency, both dropped in 1997 : ZAIRE
The African nation once called Zaire is a neighbor of Rwanda. The genocide and war in Rwanda spilled over into Zaire in 1996, with the conflict escalating into what is now called the First Congo War. As part of the war's fallout there was a regime change and in 1997 Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo.

14. "The Apostles" composer : ELGAR
Sir Edward Elgar was the quintessential English composer, inextricably associated with his compositions the "Pomp and Circumstance" marches (which includes "Land of Hope and Glory") and the "Enigma Variations".

“The Apostles” is an oratorio by the English composer Edward Elgar. It was first performed in 1903.

22. Mrs. Václav Havel, the first first lady of the Czech Republic : OLGA
Olga Havlová was a dissident in the days that Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule. She married fellow dissident Václav Havel in 1964. Václav Havel was to become the first President of the Czech Republic, in 1993.

Václav Havel is a Czech playwright. Starting in the sixties, Havel became very active in the politics of his country. He eventually rose to the position of President, and was the last person to hold the office of President of Czechoslovakia, and the first to hold the office of President of the Czech Republic.

25. "Celeste Aida," e.g. : ARIA
"Celeste Aida" translates to "Heavenly Aida", and is an aria from the Verde opera “Aida”.

"Aida" is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verde, actually based on a scenario written by a French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first performed in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander that falls in love with her, and then of course, complications arise!

26. Leopard's home? : IMAC
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an "all-in-one" design, with the computer console and monitor integrated.

Apple introduced the Mac OS X Operating System in 2000. Each version of this operating system has had a code name, and that code name is always a type of big cat. The versions and code names are:
- 10.0: Cheetah
- 10.1: Puma
- 10.2: Jaguar
- 10.3: Panther
- 10.4: Tiger
- 10.5: Leopard
- 10.6: Snow Leopard
Interestingly, the earlier beta version was called Kodiak, after the bear, and not a cat at all.

27. Hall-of-Fame Cub Sandberg : RYNE
Ryne "Ryno" Sandberg is a former second baseman who played most of his career for the Chicago Cubs. Sandbrg holds the major league fielding percentage record at second base ... .989.

30. Imperial offering : OLEO
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. In 1869, a French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name "margarine". The name "oleomargarine" also gives us our generic term "oleo".

31. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" composer : KERN
Jerome Kern was truly a great in the world of theater music. He wrote so many classics, including “Ol’ Man River”, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “The Way You Look Tonight”.

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is a show tune classic written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach for their operetta “Roberta”, first performed in 1933. There was a famous cover version of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" released by the Platters in 1958 that reached number one in the charts.

36. Byrd and others: Abbr. : ADMS
Rear Admiral Richard Byrd was an officer in the US Navy, famous as an aviator and explorer of the polar regions. Byrd was the first person to cross the South Pole by air, in 1929. Three years earlier, Byrd claimed he had flown over the North Pole, and would have been the first person to have done so if this was true. But whether or not Byrd actually made it over the North Pole continues to be the subject of much debate.

40. Nobel-winning poet Heaney : SEAMUS
Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet and writer. I like Heaney's response when asked if there was any figure in popular culture who aroused interest in poetry and lyrics. 64-year-old Heaney answered ... "There is this guy Eminem. He has created a sense of what is possible. He has sent a voltage around a generation. He has done this not just through his subversive attitude but also his verbal energy." I am not sure that I can relate to that opinion though ...

43. Compound used to kill ants : BORAX
Borax is also known as sodium borate, a salt of boric acid. It is a white powder that dissolves easily in water. Borax has many uses, for example as an anti-fungal agent and an anti-septic.

44. Ramadi resident : IRAQI
Ramadi is a city in central Iraq, less than a hundred miles west of Baghdad.

48. River intentionally flooded in W.W. I : 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 their 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.

49. Michael who wrote "The Neverending Story" : ENDE
Michael Ende was a children's author from Germany. His most famous novel is the fantasy work "The Neverending Story", first published in 1979.

50. Home of the international headquarters of Interpol : LYON
The city of Lyon in France, is also known as Lyons in English.

The International Criminal Police Organization is better known as Interpol. The group was formed in 1923 to facilitate international police cooperation. Today the police forces of 190 countries around the world are members of Interpol. The first headquarters of Interpol were in Vienna, and were moved to Berlin during WWII by the Nazi regime. After the war the headquarters were moved again, to just outside Paris, and finally to Lyon in 1989.

51. Time of forbearance : LENT
In Latin, the Christian season we now call Lent was termed "quadragesima" (meaning "fortieth"), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term "Lent" was introduced. "Lent" comes from "lenz", the German word for "spring".

54. Reverend ___, onetime radio evangelist : IKE
Reverend Ike was a minister and evangelist who worked in New York City. Reverend Ike’s real name was Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius : AIR SIGNS
9. Untrustworthy sort : SLEAZE
15. Result of too much TV, it's said : BRAIN ROT
16. Not bad, in Nantes : PAS MAL
17. Common aquarium decoration : ROCK CAVE
18. Promotional description for a coming show : IT’S BIG
19. Ancient key : ANKH
20. Goat's call : MAA
21. "Green Book" org., familiarly : THE IRA
22. Home of the Dostoyevsky Literary Museum : OMSK
23. Kitchen tool : ZESTER
24. Do stuff : HAIR LACQUER
29. Field marshals' commands : ARMY GROUPS
30. Thumbs-up : OKAY
34. Monkey ladder vine : LIANA
35. Holiday when sweeping and emptying the trash are considered bad luck : TET
36. Vega of "Spy Kids" : ALEXA
37. Polyhedron part : FACE
38. Chaotic : DISORDERLY
40. Symbiotic partners of clownfish : SEA ANEMONES
41. "She is more precious than ___": Proverbs 3:15 : RUBIES
45. Points : DOTS
46. Garment originally made from caribou or sealskin : ANORAK
47. "___ Back" (2004 Kenny Chesney hit) : I GO
48. Tarzan trademark : YELL
52. Takes a powder : SCRAMS
53. Steve Allen sidekick with the catchphrase "Hi-ho, Steverino!" : LOUIS NYE
55. Cup alternative : PLAQUE
56. Engaged, as a target : LOCKED ON
57. Keeping half the world down, say : SEXIST
58. Flock member : ADHERENT

Down
1. "East of Eden" girl : ABRA
2. Unrelenting : IRON
3. Pool accessory : RACK
4. Guru follower : SIKH
5. "___ 500" (annual list) : INC
6. Case study? : GRAMMAR
7. Cape Breton locale : NOVA SCOTIA
8. Taco Bell offering : STEAK QUESADILLA
9. Dogs that ought to be great swimmers? : SPITZES
10. State of nervous tension : LATHER
11. Test course challenges : ESSES
12. Sphere of influence : AMBIT
13. Old country name or its currency, both dropped in 1997 : ZAIRE
14. "The Apostles" composer : ELGAR
22. Mrs. Václav Havel, the first first lady of the Czech Republic : OLGA
24. Game part : HALF
25. "Celeste Aida," e.g. : ARIA
26. Leopard's home? : IMAC
27. Hall-of-Fame Cub Sandberg : RYNE
28. Conniving : UP TO NO GOOD
30. Imperial offering : OLEO
31. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" composer : KERN
32. Wheelset piece : AXLE
33. Exuberant cries : YAYS
36. Byrd and others: Abbr. : ADMS
38. Executive suite? : DESK SET
39. Fix up, in a way : RETOUCH
40. Nobel-winning poet Heaney : SEAMUS
41. Lacks a clear voice : RASPS
42. "Say ___!" : UNCLE
43. Compound used to kill ants : BORAX
44. Ramadi resident : IRAQI
48. River intentionally flooded in W.W. I : YSER
49. Michael who wrote "The Neverending Story" : ENDE
50. Home of the international headquarters of Interpol : LYON
51. Time of forbearance : LENT
54. Reverend ___, onetime radio evangelist : IKE

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2 comments :

Pat said...

Thank you so much for the work you do here. I learn a lot from reading your explanations. In some cases, I know the word, but your posts give me more knowledge than what I had previously. In other cases, you have helped me to understand an answer that I just couldn't see. Thank you so much!

Bill Butler said...

Hi Pat,

Thank you for the kind words. I am glad that the blog is proving to be of some service. I know that I have a lot of fun writing it up, and of course learn so much myself.

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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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