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0312-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Mar 12, Monday





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: Lynn Lempel
THEME: Working with Material People … each of the theme answers is a worked material, with the material also being a celebrity’s family name:
18A. Had a big influence on Philip's music? : MOLDED GLASS (from Philip Glass)
29A. Harshly criticized Danielle's novels? : HAMMERED STEEL (from Danielle Steel)
49A. Scared the daylights out of Elijah in "The Lord of the Rings"? : PETRIFIED WOOD (from Elijah Wood)
63A. Trounced Chris in a comedy competition? : CRUSHED ROCK (from Chris Rock)
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. German cry : ACH
The German exclamation "ach!" is usually translated into English as "oh!"

14. Genetic stuff : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. Amino acids are delivered in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA and then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

16. Mrs. Gorbachev : RAISA
Raisa Gorbachova was the wife of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There's no doubt that Raisa's charm and personality helped her husband as he toiled to change the image of the Soviet Union.

18. Had a big influence on Philip's music? : MOLDED GLASS (from Philip Glass)
Philip Glass is by far my favorite classical composer who is still working. His Violin Concerto No. 1 is a piece that I listen to at least as often as my favorite works from Beethoven and Mozart. Glass is a controversial composer, it seems, that people either love or hate. I say, give him a chance ...

27. Grey who wrote about the Old West : ZANE
Zane Grey sure did hit on the right niche. He wrote romanticized western novels and stories that really lent themselves to the big screen in the days when westerns were very popular movies. Incredibly, 110 films were made based on his work.

29. Harshly criticized Danielle's novels? : HAMMERED STEEL (from Danielle Steel)
Danielle Steel is a remarkably popular author. She has sold over 800 million copies of her novels, making her the eighth best-selling writer in history.

34. ___ Guevara : CHE
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aries. While at school he satisfied his need to "see the world" by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara's memoir later published as "The Motorcycle Diaries". While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara's death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

36. Starch from a tropical palm : SAGO
When I was growing up in Ireland I was very familiar with pearl sago, which is similar to pearl tapioca. Pearls of sago are simply little balls of sago starch used to make breads, pancakes, biscuits and the steamed puddings that we ate as kids. Sago comes from the pith of the sago palm tree. To get at the starch the tree has to be cut down and the trunk split to reveal the pith. The pith is crushed and manipulated to make the starch available, which is then washed out of a fibrous suspension. One sago palm tree yields about 150-300 kg of starch. Personally I love the stuff, but then I am a bit weird …

37. Company that created Pong : ATARI
At one point Atari was the fastest growing company in US history, but it never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was "Pong".

38. The "L" in S.&L. : LOAN
Savings and Loan (S&L).

43. Norway's capital : OSLO
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624, and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed Christiana. In 1877, there was an official change of the spelling to "Kristiana", and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle for now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed Christiana.

49. Scared the daylights out of Elijah in "The Lord of the Rings"? : PETRIFIED WOOD (from Elijah Wood)
Elijah Wood is an American actor and is most associated with his role as Frodo Baggins in the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

53. Soft powder : TALC
Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days "baby powder" can also be corn starch.

60. British ref. for wordsmiths : OED
The "Oxford English Dictionary" (OED) contains over 300,000 "main" entries, and 59 million words in total. It is said it would take a single person 120 years to type it out in full. The longest entry for one word in the second edition of the OED is the verb "set". When the third edition was published in 2007, the longest entry for a single word became the verb "put". Perhaps not surprisingly, the most-quoted author in the OED is William Shakespeare, with his most quoted work being “Hamlet”. The most-quoted female author is George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans).

63. Trounced Chris in a comedy competition? : CRUSHED ROCK (from Chris Rock)
Chris Rock is a great stand-up comedian. Interestingly, Rock cites his paternal grandfather as an influence on his performing style. Grandfather Allen Rock was a preacher.

67. NBC comedy show since '75 : SNL
NBC first aired a form of "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) in 1975 under the title "NBC's Saturday Night". The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from "The Tonight Show". Back then "The Tonight Show" had a weekend episode and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to pull together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call "Saturday Night Live".

72. Keats and Shelley : POETS
The poet John Keats is famous for writing a whole series of beautiful odes. The most renowned are the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, "Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.

The English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley had strong views on vegetarianism. He was dedicated to the cause of all sentient beings, believing that the slaughter of animals by humans for the use of food was a barbaric practice. He wrote a famous essay on the subject called "A Vindication of Natural Diet" in 1813, and some lines of poetry including:
The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head:
The blooms of dewy spring shall gleam beneath thy feet:
But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead,
Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile, ere thou and peace may meet.

73. Charge for a bang-up job? : TNT
TNT is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. The chemical was first produced by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand in 1863, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

Down
1. Desi of "I Love Lucy" : ARNAZ
Desi Arnaz was of course famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Desi Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

4. Native American drums : TOM-TOMS
The tom-tom is a drum played with the hands, which gave its name to a dull, repeating beat or sound.

5. Yoko from Tokyo : ONO
Yoko Ono was born into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Her father moved around the world for work and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko's father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

9. Web site alternative to com or edu : ORG
A domain name is basically the address of a website on the Internet. Not too long ago I moved this website to a new address (from puzzle.paxient.com to NYTCrossword.com). Like in the real world, one pays for an address. I now own (well rent!) both of the addresses used for this blog, but choose to "do business" (publish the blog) at the more memorable address ... NYTCrossword.com. It's sort of like preferring to have a Park Avenue address instead of one on say Elm Street. In the Internet world, the address is intended to indicate what type of activity goes on at a particular address. So an address with ".com" implies a "company" website, a ".org" implies a non-profit website and ".edu" implies an education website. But, in reality anyone can rent whatever address they want, as it just goes to the highest bidder. Most folks remember ".com" addresses, so they are the most popular. ".com" is meant to imply a "business address" as I say, but it can even be used to chat about crosswords!

11. Italian carmaker : FIAT
Fiat is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, and is headquartered in Turin in the Piedmont region in the north of the country. Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli, when the company’s name was “Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino” (FIAT). In the past few years, Fiat became the majority shareholder in Chrysler.

12. Canadian gas brand : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of "Standard" and "Oil" (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

25. I.R.S. agent, e.g., informally : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury.

26. Company whose mascot is Sonic the Hedgehog : SEGA
Sega is a Japanese video game company, headquartered in Tokyo. The company actually started out 1940 in the US as Standard Games, located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Service” and “Games”.

28. Org. protecting U.S. secrets : NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname ... "No Such Agency".

30. Symbolic riveter of W.W. II : ROSIE
Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon that represented women working in factories across the country during WWII as part of the war effort. The term “Rosie the Riveter” first appeared as the title of a 1942 song that was a national hit.

32. Mystery writer ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn't get into the profession the easy way. He went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

39. Watery expanse between England and Scandinavia : NORTH SEA
The North Sea is an offshoot of the Atlantic Ocean that is located between Britain and Scandinavia.

41. High-voltage Australian band? : AC/DC
The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers in Australia. The group is usually called "Acca Dacca" down under.

If you have a laptop with an external power supply, then that big “block” is an AC/DC converter. It converts the AC current you get from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

42. Actor Rob of "The West Wing" : LOWE
The actor Rob Lowe is one of the “founding members” of the so-called Brat Pack, having appeared in the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire”. He is currently playing a regular character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. My favorite of his roles though, was playing Sam Seaborn on Aaron Sorkin’s great drama series “The West Wing”. When “The West Wing” first aired, Seaborn was billed as the show’s main character, but outstanding performances from the rest of the cast and some great writing meant that Lowe’s role became “one of many”. This led to some dissatisfaction on Lowe’s part, and eventually he quit the show.

45. Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : NIA
Not only was the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", she also wrote the screenplay. The film never made it to number one at the box office, but it still pulled in more money than any other movie in history not to make it to number one. That record I think reflects that the film wasn't a blockbuster but rather a so-called "sleeper hit", a movie that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came when a spin-off TV show was launched called "My Big Fat Greek Life". It ran for only 7 episodes.

50. Floating arctic mass : FLOE
An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

52. W.W. II intelligence org. : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

61. James Bond's film debut : DR NO
"Dr. No" may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer, and if you've read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you'll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. No and Fu Manchu.

64. Evil spell : HEX
"Hexen" is a German word meaning "to practice witchcraft". The use of the word "hex" in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. German cry : ACH
4. Ice-grabbing tool : TONGS
9. Bid : OFFER
14. Genetic stuff : RNA
15. Cutting one may bring tears to your eyes : ONION
16. Mrs. Gorbachev : RAISA
17. Oct. follower : NOV
18. Had a big influence on Philip's music? : MOLDED GLASS (from Philip Glass)
20. Bothered terribly : ATE AT
22. Envision : SEE
23. "Enough already!" : STOP
24. Fanatics : ZEALOTS
27. Grey who wrote about the Old West : ZANE
29. Harshly criticized Danielle's novels? : HAMMERED STEEL (from Danielle Steel)
34. ___ Guevara : CHE
36. Starch from a tropical palm : SAGO
37. Company that created Pong : ATARI
38. The "L" in S.&L. : LOAN
40. ___ decongestant : NASAL
43. Norway's capital : OSLO
44. Chef's wear : APRON
46. Clickable computer image : ICON
48. Hankering : YEN
49. Scared the daylights out of Elijah in "The Lord of the Rings"? : PETRIFIED WOOD (from Elijah Wood)
53. Soft powder : TALC
54. Bleepers : CENSORS
57. ___ as it is : SUCH
60. British ref. for wordsmiths : OED
62. Deplete : USE UP
63. Trounced Chris in a comedy competition? : CRUSHED ROCK (from Chris Rock)
67. NBC comedy show since '75 : SNL
68. Be in harmony : AGREE
69. Lacking justification : UNDUE
70. Rightmost number on a grandfather clock : III
71. Veg out : RELAX
72. Keats and Shelley : POETS
73. Charge for a bang-up job? : TNT

Down
1. Desi of "I Love Lucy" : ARNAZ
2. 100 smackers : C-NOTE
3. "Show some mercy!" : HAVE A HEART
4. Native American drums : TOM-TOMS
5. Yoko from Tokyo : ONO
6. Zero : NIL
7. "Ye ___!" : GODS
8. Eruption that might elicit a blessing : SNEEZE
9. Web site alternative to com or edu : ORG
10. Unnaturally high voice : FALSETTO
11. Italian carmaker : FIAT
12. Canadian gas brand : ESSO
13. Speak with a gravelly voice : RASP
19. Utterly exhausted : DEAD
21. State between Miss. and Ga. : ALA
25. I.R.S. agent, e.g., informally : T-MAN
26. Company whose mascot is Sonic the Hedgehog : SEGA
28. Org. protecting U.S. secrets : NSA
30. Symbolic riveter of W.W. II : ROSIE
31. "Careful!" : EASY DOES IT
32. Mystery writer ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
33. Leo's symbol : LION
34. Applaud : CLAP
35. Optimist's feeling : HOPE
39. Watery expanse between England and Scandinavia : NORTH SEA
41. High-voltage Australian band? : AC/DC
42. Actor Rob of "The West Wing" : LOWE
45. Vardalos of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : NIA
47. Peacenik's mantra : NO NUKES
50. Floating arctic mass : FLOE
51. Became a winter hazard, as a road : ICED UP
52. W.W. II intelligence org. : OSS
55. Quarrel : RUN IN
56. Bowler's challenge : SPLIT
57. Battle reminder : SCAR
58. Goad : URGE
59. Ringlet : CURL
61. James Bond's film debut : DR NO
64. Evil spell : HEX
65. Keats or Shelley work : ODE
66. Abridge : CUT

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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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