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Greetings from San Jose, California

My wife and I are on vacation until Friday, July 25th; a road trip through the backroads of the states east of California. I anticipate late-night solving and posting, with acknowledgement of comments and emails suffering. Please, don't be offended at my silence as I prioritize the writing of posts! We had a long and spectacular drive across the Sierra Nevada today, and saw Julianne and Derek Hough's dance spectacular this evening. Back home and back to reality tomorrow (Friday) ...

Bill

0326-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 26 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: Roy Fontenot
THEME: MOVING VAN … the theme answers all contain the letters VAN, and those letters move progressively from left to right in each of the successive answers:
7A. With 58-Down, vehicle for people on the go? ... or a hint to five strategically placed answers in this puzzle : MOVING
58D. See 7-Across : VAN
13A. Alternative to chocolate : (VAN)ILLA
21A. Sir Walter Scott novel : I(VAN)HOE
36A. Native of Cuba's capital : HA(VAN)AN
49A. State of bliss : NIR(VAN)A
61A. Desert procession : CARA(VAN)
COMPLETION TIME: 05m 55s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Antlered animal : ELK
The elk (also known as the wapiti) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were used to seeing the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the "huge" wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and gave it the European name for a moose, namely "elk". The more correct term then is "wapiti", the Shawnee name for the animal, which means "white rump". It's all very confusing ...

17. 1920s-'30s design style : ART DECO
Art Deco is the name given to a style of design and architecture of the 1920s that actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe before arriving in North America. Celebrated examples of art deco architecture are the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City completed in 1930, and the GE Building that sits in the middle of Rockefeller Center, also in New York City, with the address of "30 Rock".

19. Intl. feminine group : YWCA
The Young Women's Christian Association was founded in the late 1800s about 50 years after the YMCA, although the two organizations have always been independent of each other. Having said that, some local YWCA and YMCA organizations have amalgamated and often share facilities. Like the YMCA, the YWCA movement has its roots in England, but its headquarters are now in Geneva, Switzerland. It is quite the organization, the largest women's group in the whole world.

20. Feminine title : MRS
Mr. is the abbreviation for "master", and Mrs. is the abbreviation for "mistress".

21. Sir Walter Scott novel : IVANHOE
"Ivanhoe" is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, set in 12th-century England.

Sir Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist and playwright, the first English-language author to gain popularity around the world during his own lifetime. The most famous of his works are "Ivanhoe", "Rob Roy" and "The Lady of the Lake".

27. Singer/actress Deanna of the 1930s-'40s : DURBIN
Deanna Durbin is a Canadian-born, retired singer and actress. Durbin was a very popular star in the thirties and forties but decided to retire at the peak of her career in 1949. She withdrew from public life and has lived in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Paris since 1950. One has to admire the woman for walking away …

29. Pinocchio, at times : LIAR
Pinocchio is the title character in the 1883 children’s novel by Carlo Collodi called “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.

36. Native of Cuba's capital : HAVANAN
Havana is the capital city of Cuba. The city was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500s after which it became a strategic location for Spain’s exploration and conquest of the Americas. In particular, Havana was used as a stopping-off point for treasure-laden ships on the return journey to Spain.

38. Cry for a matador : OLE
The term “matador” is used in English and not Spanish, and translates aptly enough as “killer”.

41. Charged particle : ION
As we all recall from science class, a positive ion is called a cation and a negative ion is an anion. The names "cation" and "anion" come from Greek, with "kation" meaning "going down" and "anion" meaning "going up".

42. ___ Nostra : COSA
Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. It was established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when Italian authorities penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The name “mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

43. Square dance maneuver : DO-SI-DO
The term "do-si-do" is actually a corruption of a French phrase "dos-a-dos", meaning back-to-back. And parenthetically, this is just the opposite to the familiar French term "vis-a-vis", meaning face-to-face. In the do-si-do dance move, the partners start facing each other and then advance past each other's right shoulder, and then move to the right without turning so that they are now facing away from each other (back-to-back). They complete the move facing in the same direction, passing each other's left shoulders by moving backwards until they return to the starting position. Did you get that ...?

45. Senegal's capital : DAKAR
The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar, a city located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.

49. State of bliss : NIRVANA
Nirvana is philosophical concept in some Indian-based religions. In the Buddhist tradition, nirvana is the state of being free from suffering i.e. not experiencing craving, anger or other afflicting states.

51. King Kong, for one : APE
“King Kong” really is a classic movie. It stars Fay Wray as the young woman for whom Kong falls. Apparently Wray was very interested in the role as she was told she would be playing opposite the "tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood". She thought it might be Clark Gable. Boy was she wrong ...

52. The second of the five W's : WHAT
The Five Ws (or “Five Ws and one H”) is a journalistic concept used for gathering information. For a story to be complete, six questions need to be answered:
- Who is it about?
- What happened?
- Where did it take place?
- When did it take place?
- Why did it happen?
- How did it happen?

57. From one of the Baltics : LATVIAN
Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics. People from Latvia are called Letts.

61. Desert procession : CARAVAN
“Caravan” derives from the Persian “karwan”, a word for a group of desert travelers. Over in the British Isles, "caravan" is the name we give to travel trailers.

63. Chicago trains : ELS
The Chicago "L" is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The "L" is also the second oldest, again with the New York Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the "L" (originally short for "elevated railroad"), although the term "El" is also in common use (especially in crosswords as "ELS"). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

64. Brian of ambient music : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, his most oft-played composition (by far!) is Microsoft's "start-up jingle", the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system is booting up.

Down
2. Fabric that doesn't block much light : LACE
We've used the word "lace" to mean a net or a string since the 1300s, and in the mid-16th century it started to describe an ornamental net pattern. In the mid-17th century, one used "to lace" one's coffee or tea with sugar, the idea being that one was "ornamenting or trimming" the beverage. It wasn't long before "lacing" became reserved for the addition of alcohol to an otherwise "tame" drink.

3. Smart aleck, say : KNOW-IT-ALL
Apparently the original "smart alec" was Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

5. Violinist Mischa : ELMAN
Mischa Elman was a Ukrainian-born violinist. Elman moved with his family to the US in the early 1900s after having made a name for himself performing all around the world.

6. 24 hours : DAY
There are 24 hours in a day, 12 hours of “daytime” and 12 hours of “nighttime”.

Counting systems based on the number 12 have been around since the days of the Babylonians and Sumerians. The choice of the number twelve may be due to the fact that there are twelve cycles of the moon in a year. It is also possible that 12 was chosen as there is a convenient way to use one’s hand to count in groups of twelve. The thumb can be placed on each of the three phalanges of the forefinger to count to three, and then placed on each of the phalanges of the remaining fingers to count up to six, nine and ultimately twelve. It’s true, just try it ...

7. Bygone Ford car, informally : MERC
The Mercury brand of car was made by Ford from 1938 until 2011.

8. General who became the first emperor of Rome : OCTAVIAN
Gaius Octavius Thurinis (often called Octavian) was the adopted son of Gaius Julius Caesar. After Julius Caesar was assassinated, Octavian came to power in Rome and teamed up with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in what was called the Second Triumvirate. When the triumvirate fell apart, especially after Antony’s defeat at Actium, Octavian became more powerful within the Roman Republic. Several years later he wrested sufficient power from the Roman Senate to end the Republic and begin the Roman Empire. As the first Emperor of Rome, Octavian was given the name Caesar Augustus.

9. YouTube posting, for short : VID
YouTube is a video-sharing website. It was started in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Yep, $1.65 billion ... less than two years after it was founded ...

11. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
Nacre is another name for mother-of-pearl. Nacre is the strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it's also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that's how a pearl is formed.

22. RCA or Samsung product : HDTV
In the digital world, resolution of a display, television, image etc. is defined by the number of pixels that can be displayed in a standard area (say a square inch). The emphasis today is on producing larger area displays/televisions, i.e increasing the number of pixels simply by increasing the size of the screen. In the past couple of decades the emphasis was on adding more pixels within the same screen size to increase resolution. That would just be wasted effort these days as further increases in resolution cannot be perceived by the eye. Now that TV's are capable of displaying such high resolutions, broadcasters are responding by producing a video signal of "higher resolution" that they call high-definition television, HDTV.

24. "Wheel of Fortune" purchase : AN I
Contestants have been spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” since it first aired in 1975.

25. Parts of a French archipelago : ILES
“Îles” is the French word for “islands”.

“Archipelago” is a name often used for a group or chain of islands. “Archipelago” is our spelling of the Italian “arcipelago”, a word that has Greek roots. “Arcipelago” was the proper name for the Aegean Sea in Greek, a word that was eventually used for the Aegean Islands.

26. Cleopatra's river : NILE
Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.

Cleopatra was the last pharaoh to rule Egypt. After she died, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire.

30. Big name in pet food : IAMS
Iams dog food was produced by the animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Proctor & Gamble, in 1946.

33. Lohengrin's love : ELSA
Elsa of Brabant is the lead female role in Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin”.

We've often heard the "Bridal Chorus" from Richard Wagner's opera "Lohengrin". It's the tune to "Here comes the bride ..." played regularly at the start of wedding ceremonies. In the opera, the "Bridal Chorus" is sung not at the start of the ceremony but afterwards, by the women of the wedding party as they accompany Elsa the bride to the bridal chamber.

36. Snooker : HOODWINK
"Hoodwink" has had the meaning "to deceive" since about 1600. Prior to that it meant simply "to blindfold", a sort of portmanteau word from "hood" and "wink".

The use of the word “snooker” to mean “to cheat” has been used since the early 1900s. The term probably took on that connotation as it’s relatively easy to trick someone who is new to the game of snooker.

Snooker is a fabulous game, played on what looks like a large pool table (12' x 6' if full size). Snooker is a derivative of the older game of billiards and is believed to have been developed by British Army officers who were stationed in India in the latter half of the 1800s. "Snooker" was a word used in the British military for first-year cadets and inexperienced soldiers. Somehow that usage morphed into the name of the game.

37. Jordan's Queen ___ : NOOR
Queen Noor is the widow of King Hussein of Jordan. Queen Noor was born Lisa Halaby in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Najeeb Halaby. Her father was appointed by President Kennedy as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, and later became the CEO of PanAm. Lisa Halaby met King Hussein in 1977, while working on the design of Jordan’s Queen Alia Airport. The airport was named after King Hussein’s third wife who had been killed that year in a helicopter crash. Halaby and the King were married the next year, in 1978.

40. J.F.K.'s predecessor : DDE
President Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower, but by the time he made it to the White House he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower. Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when "Ike" enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.

42. Where Hudson Bay is : CANADA
Hudson Bay in northern Canada is the second largest bay in the world, after the Bay of Bengal. Hudson Bay was named by English explorers after Henry Hudson who explored the area in 1610 on his ship “Discovery”. Hudson’s crew mutinied during that voyage and set Hudson and his officers adrift in a small boat. It is presumed that the castaways didn’t survive for very long.

44. Nonsensical : INANE
Something inane is senseless, and somebody that is inane is "empty-headed". The Latin "inanitas" means "emptiness".

48. ___ dish (lab holder) : PETRI
Julius Richard Petri was a German bacteriologist and was the man after whom the Petri dish is named. The petri dish can have an agar gel on the bottom which acts a nutrient source for the specimen being grown and studied, in which case the dish plus agar is referred to as an "agar plate".

55. Persia, now : IRAN
Before 1935 the country we know today as Iran was called Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

56. Zinc's is 30: Abbr. : AT NO
The atomic number of an element is also called the proton number, and is the number of protons found in the nucleus of each atom of the element.

Most of the world’s zinc comes from China, with Peru being the second largest producer.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Antlered animal : ELK
4. Provided with meals : FED
7. With 58-Down, vehicle for people on the go? ... or a hint to five strategically placed answers in this puzzle : MOVING
13. Alternative to chocolate : VANILLA
15. Musical performance : RECITAL
16. Low-cost, as an airplane seat : ECONOMY
17. 1920s-'30s design style : ART DECO
18. Time of change : NEW ERA
19. Intl. feminine group : YWCA
20. Feminine title : MRS
21. Sir Walter Scott novel : IVANHOE
23. Bouquet holders : VASES
25. Spy's knowledge, informally : INTEL
27. Singer/actress Deanna of the 1930s-'40s : DURBIN
29. Pinocchio, at times : LIAR
30. "___ about time!" : IT’S
31. Complained loudly : RAILED
35. 90° angle : ELL
36. Native of Cuba's capital : HAVANAN
38. Cry for a matador : OLE
39. Rarely : SELDOM
41. Charged particle : ION
42. ___ Nostra : COSA
43. Square dance maneuver : DO-SI-DO
45. Senegal's capital : DAKAR
46. Was wide open : GAPED
49. State of bliss : NIRVANA
51. King Kong, for one : APE
52. The second of the five W's : WHAT
54. Roma is its capital : ITALIA
57. From one of the Baltics : LATVIAN
59. Suffered an embarrassing defeat : ATE DIRT
60. Group artistically, as flowers : ARRANGE
61. Desert procession : CARAVAN
62. Smells to high heaven : STINKS
63. Chicago trains : ELS
64. Brian of ambient music : ENO

Down
1. Not odd : EVEN
2. Fabric that doesn't block much light : LACE
3. Smart aleck, say : KNOW-IT-ALL
4. Bouquet-related : FLORAL
5. Violinist Mischa : ELMAN
6. 24 hours : DAY
7. Bygone Ford car, informally : MERC
8. General who became the first emperor of Rome : OCTAVIAN
9. YouTube posting, for short : VID
10. 10 ___ or less (supermarket checkout sign) : ITEMS
11. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE
12. Lip ___ : GLOSS
14. Words often declared after "Well" : I NEVER
15. Colder and wetter, as weather : RAWER
19. "Absolutely right!" : YOU SAID IT
22. RCA or Samsung product : HDTV
24. "Wheel of Fortune" purchase : AN I
25. Parts of a French archipelago : ILES
26. Cleopatra's river : NILE
28. Kellogg's All-___ : BRAN
30. Big name in pet food : IAMS
32. "Don't just stand there!" : LOOK ALIVE
33. Lohengrin's love : ELSA
34. Beloved : DEAR
36. Snooker : HOODWINK
37. Jordan's Queen ___ : NOOR
40. J.F.K.'s predecessor : DDE
42. Where Hudson Bay is : CANADA
44. Nonsensical : INANE
45. Some office stamps : DATERS
46. Fancy affairs : GALAS
47. Separately : APART
48. ___ dish (lab holder) : PETRI
50. Life-sustaining : VITAL
53. Long-haired uglies : HAGS
55. Persia, now : IRAN
56. Zinc's is 30: Abbr. : AT NO
58. See 7-Across : VAN
59. One-spot card : ACE

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2 comments :

Dick Elton said...

A bit of nostalgia for me here. I was born in 1930 and do remember Deanna Durbin. Puzzle took me 53 min but it was fun to do.

Bill Butler said...

Dick,

I'm more familiar with the name Deanna Durbin than I am with the woman herself, or her work. I'll have to dig a movie or song of hers to see if I can recall more. I think my parents must have been fans, because the name is so very familiar.

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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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