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0331-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 31 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: Scott Atkinson
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 42m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Makeup of some insulating sheets : MICA
Mica is a mineral, a sheet silicate. Thin sheets of mica are transparent, and are used in place of glass in certain applications. This form of mica is called isinglass, and as it has a better thermal performance than glass it is a great choice for "peepholes' in boilers and lanterns. Mica is also used in the electronic industry, making use of its unique electrical and thermal insulating properties.

5. Vulcans and others : ALIEN RACES
Vulcans of course are from the “Star Trek” franchise. The most famous (half) Vulcan is Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Spock’s father is a Vulcan, and his mother is human.

15. Sixth-day creation : ADAM
According to the Book of Genesis, on the sixth day God created the living creatures on the land, including humanity.

16. Singer with a black V-shaped collar : MEADOWLARK
Meadowlarks are New World birds. Meadowlarks are distantly related to Old Word Blackbirds.

17. Food product for the eco-conscious : DOLPHIN SAFE TUNA
Dolphins are in the habit of swimming close to shoals of tuna, the yellowfin variety in particular. In fact, tuna fishermen will often watch for dolphins as they are sign that tuna may be in the area. Because of the close proximity of the dolphins and tuna, dolphins can often get tangled in fishing nets.

19. "That man" in "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" : EMILE
The 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific” is based on stories from the 1947 book “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A. Michener. “South Pacific” really is a classic show, featuring some classic songs like “Bali Ha’i”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”, “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Happy Talk”.

21. Word for a keeper? : STET
"Stet" is the Latin word meaning "let it stand". In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word "stet" beside the change and then underscoring the change with a line of dots (or dashes).

24. Approx. camera flash duration : MSEC
A msec is a millisecond, one thousandth of a second. However, the more correct abbreviation for millisecond is “ms”.

26. Ending with plural, in Plymouth : -ISE
To pluralize a word is to express it in the plural from. “Pluralize” is written as “pluralise” in Plymouth in the UK.

Plymouth is a port city on the coast of Devon in the UK. It was the point of departure of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

28. South Vietnam's ___ Dinh Diem : NGO
When France withdrew from French Indochina in the mid-fifties, Ngo Dinh Diem led the movement to create the Republic of Vietnam. In what was regarded as a fraudulent referendum, the new country of Vietnam was formed and in 1955 Diem declared himself its first president. His rule was far from peaceful, and he was assassinated by rivals in 1963.

33. Seize, old-style : REAVE
“To reave” is to seize and carry off, an archaic term.

35. Wine shop offering, informally : ZIN
Zinfandel is my favorite red wine varietal. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel varietal.

36. "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" group, with "the" : MONKEES
The Monkees pop group was assembled in 1966 specifically for a planned television series called “The Monkees”. The show aired from 1966 to 1968, and the band continued to perform in concerts until 1970. 20 years after the band was formed, there was a revival in interest for both the show and the band’s music, so the Monkees got together for several reunion tours. The lead singer of the group was Englishman Davy Jones, who passed away in February 2012.

38. "My Best Friend's Girl" group : THE CARS
The Cars are a rock band from Boston, Massachusetts who were at the height of their success in the late seventies and early eighties.

43. It's often in the spotlight : XENON
Metal halide lamps that are called xenons, don't actually rely on the included xenon gas to generate light. The xenon gas is added so that the lamp comes on "instantly". Without the xenon, the lamp would start up rather like a street lamp, flickering and sputtering for a while before staying alight consistently.

45. Left-arrow abbr. : REW
Rewind …

46. Language that gave us "catamaran" : TAMIL
Tamil is the main language spoken by the Tamil people of the subcontinent of India. Tamil is described as one of the greatest and oldest classical languages in the world, with Tamil literature having been around for over 2,000 years.

A catamaran is a boat that has two hulls. Catamarans have been around along time, with the design having being used by the Ancient Greeks. Notably, the design was used by the locals in the Bay of Bengal and it was this design that was adopted by European boat builders. The name “catamaran” comes from the Tamil language of southeastern India, with “kattu maram” meaning “logs tied together”.

48. Spotted à la Tweety Bird : TAW
Tweety Bird is a yellow canary character who appears in Warner Brothers cartoons. In the main, Tweety Bird was voiced by the great Mel Blanc.

50. Gerrymander : RIG
Elbridge Gerry was the fifth Vice President of the US, serving under James Madison. Gerry only served 1½ years of his term however, as he died of heart failure while still in office. While Gerry was the governor of his home state of Massachusetts he signed a bill that allowed redrawing of electoral boundaries in such a way that it benefited his Democratic-Republican Party. The “Boston Gazette” wrote an article about the bill and termed the political tactic “Gerry-Mandering”. And “gerrymandering” is a term we still use today, and not just in this country but all over the world.

53. Ray with lines : LIOTTA
The actor Ray Liotta is best known for playing Henry Hill in the Martin Scorsese film “Goodfellas”.

55. National competitor : AVIS
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

National Car Rental started out in 1947. The company was founded by a group of 24 independent car rental agents, and now has over 2000 locations around the world.

59. Cloudless, in Saint-Cloud : CLAIR
“Clair” is the French for “clear”.

Saint-Cloud is a city in France, actually a suburb of Paris.

60. Features of some Amerindian embroidery : PORCUPINE QUILLS
Quillwork is an artform practiced by Native Americans. In quillwork, porcupine quills are dyed and incorporated into embroidered works.

65. Put through a chop shop, say : DISMANTLED
After a car is stolen it might be delivered to a “chop shop”, a workshop that can break it up so that it can be sold for parts.

66. Brand name used by Jersey Standard : 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.

Jersey Standard Oil was one of the spinoff companies of Standard Oil. Jersey Standard owned the Esso trademark, but the company was prohibited from using it in many states after the breakup of Standard Oil. As a result, Jersey Standard marketed its products under a number of brand names as well as Esso, including Enco. The brand names were incorporated into one Exxon brand in 1972, and Jersey Standard renamed itself to Exxon Corporation.

Down
2. 1781 Mozart premiere : IDOMENEO
“Idomeneo” is a Mozart opera first performed in 1781, when Mozart was just 25 years old.

3. Demographic lauded in a 1965 song : CALIFORNIA GIRLS
"California Girls" was released in 1965 by the Beach Boys, and reached number three in the "Billboard" charts. Twenty years later David Lee Roth recorded a very successful cover version of the song, and it reached exactly the same spot in the charts, number three.

6. Carnival follower : 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".

7. Hugo-winning 1994 memoir : I, ASIMOV
Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

8. Wheels from the Netherlands : EDAMS
Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps it travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. This means that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

10. "Self-Reliance" essayist's inits. : RWE
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an essayist and poet who was active in the mid-1800s. Most of the essays that Emerson wrote were composed originally as lectures, and then revised for print.

11. Plane figs. : ALTS
Pilots of airplanes are concerned with altitude.

13. Knighted diamond magnate Oppenheimer : ERNEST
Ernest Oppenheimer was a German entrepreneur. In 1927, Oppenheimer took over control of the De Beers empire that had been controlled by Cecil Rhodes.

18. "___ Twelve Men" (Greer Garson film) : HER
Greer Garson was a British actress who made a name for herself in Hollywood films in the forties. One of Garson’s most famous roles was playing the title character in the 1942 film “Mrs. Miniver”, starring alongside Walter Pidgen. Garson married a much younger man in 1943, the actor Richard Ney who played her son in “Mrs. Miniver”.

23. Old dagger : SNEE
"Snick or snee" is the name given to cut and thrust while fighting with a knife. The phrase is rooted in a pair of Dutch words, and it gave its name to a "snee", a light sword-like knife.

25. Trick : COZEN
What a lovely verb, "to cozen"! Meaning to cheat or hoodwink, it comes from the Middle English word "cosin" meaning fraud or trickery.

29. Beano alternative : GAS-X
Gas-X is a trade name for the anti-foaming agent called simethicone. Simethicone causes small gas bubbles in the stomach to combine into larger bubbles that can then be "burped" more easily.

Beano is a dietary supplement that is used to reduce gas in the digestive tract. Beano contains an enzyme which breaks down complex sugars found in many vegetables. This makes the food more digestible and apparently cuts down on gas.

31. Minute Maid brand : HI-C
Hi-C orange drink was created in 1946, and introduced to the market in 1948, initially in the south. The name Hi-C was chosen to emphasis the high vitamin C content in the drink, as it contained added ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

In the mid-forties a process was developed to concentrate orange juice into a powder, the intent being to make it available to the armed forces. When WWII came to an end the government's need for the product went away, so Florida Foods Corporation was set up to market orange juice concentrate (rather than powder) to the public. This new concentrate was given the name "Minute Maid" implying that juice could be prepared quickly by simple dilution.

34. "Vulcan's chimney" : ETNA
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt Vesuvius.

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

37. Cityhopper carrier : KLM
The acronym KLM stands for “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij”, which translates from Dutch as “Royal Aviation Company”. KLM is the flag carrier for the Netherlands, and is the oldest airline in the world still operating with its original name. It was founded in 1919.

KLM Cityhopper is a regional airline operated by KLM.

40. Geckos, e.g. : REPTILES
The gecko actually takes its name from the sound it makes, a unique trait in the world of lizards. The word "gecko" comes from an Indonesian/Javanese word "tokek", imitative of the reptile's chirping sound. More interesting to me than a gecko's chirping sound is its ability to cling to walls and other vertical surfaces. Their feet are specially adapted with "toes" that make extremely intimate, close contact to a surface. It isn't suction that supports them, but rather van der Waals forces (like weak "gravitational" attractions). Fascinating stuff ...

46. Temple of Vesta locale : TIVOLI
Tivoli is an ancient town in Italy, located about 20 miles outside Rome. Tivoli is home to a Temple of Vesta, not to be confused with the more familiar Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum, which was home to the Vestal Virgins.

54. Defib setting : ICU
You might find a defibrillator in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital.

58. Where le nez is : TETE
"Tête" is the French word for "head", and “le nez” is French for “the nose”.

61. She played Cécile in "Dangerous Liaisons" : UMA
Uma Thurman's father, Robert Thurman, was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter "Uma" as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name "Dbuma".

Dangerous Liaisons” is a 1988 movie based on a play which is in turn based on a French novel “Les Liaisons dangereuses”, first published in 1782. Stars of the film were Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer. Supporting roles were played by relative unknowns Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman.

62. Ending letters : QED
QED is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. The acronym stands for the Latin "quod erat demonstrandum" meaning "that which was to be demonstrated".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Makeup of some insulating sheets : MICA
5. Vulcans and others : ALIEN RACES
15. Sixth-day creation : ADAM
16. Singer with a black V-shaped collar : MEADOWLARK
17. Food product for the eco-conscious : DOLPHIN SAFE TUNA
19. "That man" in "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" : EMILE
20. It's often shown with hands : TIME
21. Word for a keeper? : STET
22. Hands off : REFERS
24. Approx. camera flash duration : MSEC
26. Ending with plural, in Plymouth : -ISE
27. Words before before : ON OR
28. South Vietnam's ___ Dinh Diem : NGO
30. "Ooh-la-la!" : SO HOT
32. Across, in odes : O’ER
33. Seize, old-style : REAVE
35. Wine shop offering, informally : ZIN
36. "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" group, with "the" : MONKEES
38. "My Best Friend's Girl" group : THE CARS
42. Harboring cold feelings? : ILL
43. It's often in the spotlight : XENON
45. Left-arrow abbr. : REW
46. Language that gave us "catamaran" : TAMIL
48. Spotted à la Tweety Bird : TAW
49. Family : TYPE
50. Gerrymander : RIG
51. Like many a teen idol : CUTE
53. Ray with lines : LIOTTA
55. National competitor : AVIS
57. Selling point : MART
59. Cloudless, in Saint-Cloud : CLAIR
60. Features of some Amerindian embroidery : PORCUPINE QUILLS
63. Put in the spotlight : ILLUMINATE
64. They have balls : FEET
65. Put through a chop shop, say : DISMANTLED
66. Brand name used by Jersey Standard : ESSO

Down
1. Moved over, say : MADE ROOM
2. 1781 Mozart premiere : IDOMENEO
3. Demographic lauded in a 1965 song : CALIFORNIA GIRLS
4. Not so scanty : AMPLER
5. Introspective query : AM I?
6. Carnival follower : LENT
7. Hugo-winning 1994 memoir : I, ASIMOV
8. Wheels from the Netherlands : EDAMS
9. Pleasing bank statement? : NO FEES
10. "Self-Reliance" essayist's inits. : RWE
11. Plane figs. : ALTS
12. Fables, often : CAUTIONARY TALES
13. Knighted diamond magnate Oppenheimer : ERNEST
14. Spin out on the ice? : SKATE
18. "___ Twelve Men" (Greer Garson film) : HER
23. Old dagger : SNEE
25. Trick : COZEN
29. Beano alternative : GAS-X
31. Minute Maid brand : HI-C
33. Holdover : RELIC
34. "Vulcan's chimney" : ETNA
37. Cityhopper carrier : KLM
39. Laugh hard : HOWL
40. Geckos, e.g. : REPTILES
41. Guarantees : SWEARS TO
44. Not bound by 20-Across : ETERNAL
46. Temple of Vesta locale : TIVOLI
47. Group indiscriminately : LUMP IN
49. Certain toast : TO LIFE
50. ___-fire : RAPID
52. Dirty : TAINT
54. Defib setting : ICU
56. Dirty film : SCUM
58. Where le nez is : TETE
61. She played Cécile in "Dangerous Liaisons" : UMA
62. Ending letters : QED

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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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