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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

0412-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Apr 12, Thursday





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: Michael Shteyman
THEME: RED CROSS … the theme answers today refer to the AMERICAN RED CROSS, which was founded by CLARA BARTON who died 100 years ago today. Also, there’s a big (black!) cross in the middle of the grid to celebrate the fact:
20A. Founder of the 26-/21-Down, who died on April 12, 1912 : CLARA BARTON
55A. Some 26-/21-Down volunteers : BLOOD DONORS
26D. With 21-Down, humanitarian organization : AMERICAN
21D. See 26-Down : RED CROSS
COMPLETION TIME: 26m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Govt. org. whose logo depicts an eagle standing on a key : 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".

4. Actress Veronica who was the model in the last cigarette ad shown on U.S. TV : HAMEL
Veronica Hamel played public defender Joyce Davenport on "Hill Street Blues". Davenport was also the girlfriend of Captain Frank Furillo, and each episode would end with the two of them in bed, acting out a kind of epilogue. Hamel was also the model who appeared in the last cigarette commercial ever aired in the US. That ad was shown during “The Tonight Show” and went out at 11:59 pm on New Year’s Day 1971.

9. Backyard event, informally : BAR-B-Q
It is believed that our word “barbecue” comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

14. View from Casablanca: Abbr. : ATL
Casablanca is a major city in western Morocco and sits on the Atlantic coast in Northern Africa. Casablanca is the country’s largest city (although the capital is Rabat), and the country’s largest port.

17. I.S.P. giant : AOL
Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983 the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the "America-centric" sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL's success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That's when users referred to AOL as "Always Off-Line".

18. Queen of India : RANEE
A ranee (also spelled rani) is the female equivalent of a raja in India.

19. Persian Gulf port : DUBAI
Dubai is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members (geographically) of the UAE are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy.

20. Founder of the 26-/21-Down, who died on April 12, 1912 : CLARA BARTON
Clara Barton was deeply disturbed by her experiences caring for the wounded during the Civil War. She dedicated herself after the war towards American recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The American Red Cross was inevitably formed, in 1881, and Barton was installed as its first president.

23. Initial feeling? : ESP
Extra Sensory Perception (ESP).

24. It helps you get a handle on things : PINE TAR
Pine tar is applied to the handles of baseball bats as it is a sticky substance and improves the batter’s grip. In a 1983 game, the Yankees manager Billy Martin protested a home run hit by George Brett of the Royals because the pine tar on his bat extended beyond the regulation 18 inches. The home run was later allowed as it was determined that the 18-inch rule was in place for economic reasons, and had nothing to do with competitive advantage. If pine tar gets on a baseball it renders it unusable for play, and baseballs cost money!

27. Torch bearer : DIME
The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

28. Norma of "Sunset Boulevard" : DESMOND
Norma Desmond is one of the two lead roles in the Bill Wilder classic film “Sunset Boulevard”, released in 1950. In the movie, Desmond was played by Gloria Swanson.

“Sunset Boulevard” is a classic film noir co-written and directed by the great Billie Wilder, released in 1950. It’s a story about a faded film star (played by Gloria Swanson) who dreams about making a return to the screen. Andrew Lloyd Weber made a reasonable successful musical adaptation of the film, using the same title, that opened in London in 1993.

36. Computer maker : ACER
I am typing away right now in an Acer laptop, for my money the most reliable machine at the best price. Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed with the company's dedication to quality, and haven't been let down since.

42. Vocabulary-related : LEXICAL
Something “lexical” is related to the words and vocabulary of a language. The term comes from the Greek “lexicos” meaning “pertaining to words”, and “lexis” meaning “word”. “Lexical” comes from the same root as our words “lexicon” and ultimately “lecture”.

45. Kind of wave : SEISMIC
Anything “seismic” is related to an earthquake. “Seismos” is the Greek for “earthquake”.

47. Forage storage : SILO
Silo is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word "siros" that described a pit in which one kept corn.

48. Faucet attachment : AERATOR
Faucet aerators are used to to reduce the flow of water and so save on water usage. The aerator disrupts the steady stream of water into many droplets which reduces splashing and also increases the perceived water pressure.

52. Steamy place : SPA
The word "spa" migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name "spa" comes from the Walloon word "espa" meaning "spring, fountain".

57. Capital of the country that's alphabetically first in the United Nations : KABUL
Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. The city has been the site of major conflict for much of the 3,500 years that it has been in existence. In the past this conflict was mainly driven by the city’s strategic location on the major trade routes of south and central Asia.

59. Some Beethoven works : TRIOS
Ludvig van Beethoven was born in Bonn in Germany, but moved to Vienna as a young man to study with the giant of the classical period, Josef Haydn. Beethoven may also have met Mozart before he died. Even in his lifetime, Beethoven was regarded by many as Mozart’s successor, especially in his earlier years. Famously, Beethoven was to go deaf. He started losing his hearing when he was in his early twenties, and amazingly, he wrote many of his greatest compositions when he was totally without hearing.

60. The Battle Born State: Abbr. : NEV
The official nickname of Nevada is the "Silver State". The unofficial nickname is the "Battle Born State". "Battle Born" is a reference to Nevada being awarded statehood during the American Civil War.

61. "Go farther" sloganeer, once : ISUZU
Isuzu is a Japanese auto manufacturer, very successful in the medium and heavy truck market in particular. You'll be seeing fewer and fewer Isuzu passenger cars on American roads though, as the company exited the US passenger car market in 2008.

62. Lassitude : ENNUI
Ennui is the French word for boredom that we now readily use in English. It's one of the few French words we've imported that we haven't anglicized and actually pronounce "correctly".

64. Debussy contemporary : SATIE
Erik Satie was a French composer most famous for his beautiful composition, the three "Gymnopédies". I have tried so hard to "enjoy" other works by Satie but I find them so very different from the minimalist simplicity of "Gymnopédies".

Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers. He composed a piece called "L'Enfant Prodigue" (The Prodigal Son) quite early in his life, and it premiered in 1884. The work is described as a cantata in one act (a one-act opera in effect), and it earned him the Prix de Rome and a scholarship to the Academis des Baux-Arts allowing him to continue his studies. The prize included a four-year residence at the French Academy in Rome. But, Debussy was far from inspired by his stay in Rome, had no liking for Italian opera, and lacked the inspiration to compose. He was steadfast in his desire to "go his own way", and thank goodness he won out in the end!

66. Lack of focus, colloquially : ADD
The "official" name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as "attention deficit disorder" (ADD) is "attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder" (ADHD).

Down
1. Annual Image Awards grp. : NAACP
The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the old but offensive term "colored people". The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B Du Bois, the first African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University.

The NAACP Image Awards are presented annually to recognise people of color in the worlds of film, television, music and literature.The first awards were presented in 1967, and the ceremony usually takes place in Los Angeles.

2. Alternative to Putinka, briefly : STOLI
Stolichnaya is a brand of Russian vodka made from wheat and rye grain. Well, "Stoli" originated in Russia, but now it’s made in Latvia and you won’t even see the word “Russian” on the label.

Putinka is a brand of Russian vodka that is produced by a state-owned distillery in Moscow. Since Vladimir Putin has been in power, the company has been using the “Putin” name in its advertising, exploiting the popularity of the Russian leader in his homeland.

3. Literary middle name : ALLAN
Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. He is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn't really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. He died a few days later in hospital at 39 years of age.

4. He is "more an antique Roman than a Dane," in literature : HORATIO
Horatio is a character in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", a friend of the play's hero and a relatively uninterested party in the intrigue that makes up the storyline. As a trusted friend, Horatio serves as a sounding board for Hamlet, allowing us in the audience to gain more insight into Hamlet's thinking and character as we listen to the two in conversation.

5. Georgia's on its side : ALABAMA
Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer State, in honor of the state bird. Alabama is also known as the “Heart of Dixie”.

The state of Georgia was the last of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established in America. Established in 1732, Georgia was named after King George II of Britain.

6. Where long-distance calls are made in the Mideast? : MINARET
A minaret is an architectural feature of Islamic mosques, a tall tower with an onion-shaped crown that is used for the call to prayer.

8. It flows with the wind : LEE TIDE
A leeward tide (sometime lee tide) is one that runs in the same direction that the wind is blowing. A windward tide, on the other hand, runs in the opposite direction to the wind. I think that the main danger with a lee tide is when a boat is at anchor. If the tide and wind are acting in concert then the anchor is more likely to slip.

10. "Father of," in Arabic : ABU
The Arabic word “abu” means “father” or “father of”.

11. "Judge Judy" coverage? : ROBE
Judge Judy of television fame is actually Judith Sheindlin, a retired family court judge from New York. Ms. Sheindlin's contract was renewed in the middle of 2010, so that she now earns $45 million per year taping her show. That's a tad more than she was earning on the "real" bench I think ...

12. Victoria's Secret merchandise : BRAS
The word "brassière" is of course French in origin, but it isn't the word the French use for a "bra". In France what we call a bra is known as a "soutien-gorge", translating to "held under the neck". The word "brassière" is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby's undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. "Brassière" comes from the Old French word for an "arm protector" in a military uniform ("bras" is the French for "arm"). Later "brassière" came to mean "breast plate" and from there the word was used for a type of woman's corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 in San Francisco, California. The founder wanted to create an environment where men were comfortable buying lingerie for their wives and girlfriends, an alternative to a department store.

13. Medicine applicator : Q-TIP
Cotton swabs were originally marketed under the name "Baby Gays", but this was changed in 1926 to "Q-Tip", with the Q standing for "quality".

21. See 26-Down : RED CROSS
Back in 1859, a Swiss businessman called Henry Dunant went to meet French emperor Napoleon III, to discuss making it easier to conduct commerce in French-occupied Algeria. The Emperor was billeted at Solferino, where France and Austria were engaged in a major battle. In one day, Dunant witnessed 40,000 soldiers die in battle, and countless wounded suffering on the battlefield without any organized medical care. Dunant abandoned his business agenda, and spent a week caring for the sick and wounded. Within a few years he had founded the precursor to the Red Cross, and in 1901 was awarded the first ever Nobel Peace Prize.

29. 10 sawbucks : ONE C
A sawbuck is slang for a ten dollar bill, and I guess "one C" is a reference to a c-note, a hundred dollar bill.

30. ESPN ticker abbr. : NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President 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.

31. Computer maker : DELL
Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder, Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

32. Workout target, for short : LATS
The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

34. When doubled, a vitamin deficiency : BERI
Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1. A deficiency of thiamine causes the disease known as beriberi, a disorder of the nervous system.

39. 1929 #1 hit whose title follows the line "Now he's gone and we're through" : AM I BLUE?
"Am I Blue?" is a song that dates back to 1929, when it was a big hit for Ethel Waters. It has been covered by many artists since then, most notably Eddie Cochran and Cher.

44. Abnormal dryness, to a dermatologist : XEROSIS
Xerosis is the medical term for dry skin, from the Greek word "xero" meaning "dry".

49. Fiji's neighbor to the east : TONGA
The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of 176 islands in the South Pacific, 52 of which are inhabited and scattered over an area of 270,000 square miles.

50. Mountain nymph : OREAD
The Oreads were the nymphs that accompanied the goddess Artemis on her hunting expeditions.

51. Answered : RSVPD
RSVP stands for "Répondez s'il vous plaît", which is French for "please, answer".

56. Department of NW France : ORNE
Orne is a department and river in the northwest of France. Perhaps one of the most famous locations in Orne is the village of Camembert, the home of the famous (and delicious!) cheese.

58. Israeli weapon : UZI
The first Uzi sub-machine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel Gal, who gave his name to the gun.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Govt. org. whose logo depicts an eagle standing on a key : NSA
4. Actress Veronica who was the model in the last cigarette ad shown on U.S. TV : HAMEL
9. Backyard event, informally : BAR-B-Q
14. View from Casablanca: Abbr. : ATL
15. Item on a toothpick, maybe : OLIVE
16. Stop abruptly : ABORT
17. I.S.P. giant : AOL
18. Queen of India : RANEE
19. Persian Gulf port : DUBAI
20. Founder of the 26-/21-Down, who died on April 12, 1912 : CLARA BARTON
23. Initial feeling? : ESP
24. It helps you get a handle on things : PINE TAR
25. It's a thought : IDEA
27. Torch bearer : DIME
28. Norma of "Sunset Boulevard" : DESMOND
32. White jacket, often : LAB COAT
35. Core : ESSENCE
36. Computer maker : ACER
37. Unimagined : REAL
38. Clearance sites? : THROATS
42. Vocabulary-related : LEXICAL
45. Kind of wave : SEISMIC
46. Judiciary checker: Abbr. : EXEC
47. Forage storage : SILO
48. Faucet attachment : AERATOR
52. Steamy place : SPA
55. Some 26-/21-Down volunteers : BLOOD DONORS
57. Capital of the country that's alphabetically first in the United Nations : KABUL
59. Some Beethoven works : TRIOS
60. The Battle Born State: Abbr. : NEV
61. "Go farther" sloganeer, once : ISUZU
62. Lassitude : ENNUI
63. Break : GAP
64. Debussy contemporary : SATIE
65. Breaks : RESTS
66. Lack of focus, colloquially : ADD

Down
1. Annual Image Awards grp. : NAACP
2. Alternative to Putinka, briefly : STOLI
3. Literary middle name : ALLAN
4. He is "more an antique Roman than a Dane," in literature : HORATIO
5. Georgia's on its side : ALABAMA
6. Where long-distance calls are made in the Mideast? : MINARET
7. ___ since : EVER
8. It flows with the wind : LEE TIDE
9. Cool quality, in modern slang : BADNESS
10. "Father of," in Arabic : ABU
11. "Judge Judy" coverage? : ROBE
12. Victoria's Secret merchandise : BRAS
13. Medicine applicator : Q-TIP
21. See 26-Down : RED CROSS
22. Poetry volume : ODES
26. With 21-Down, humanitarian organization : AMERICAN
29. 10 sawbucks : ONE C
30. ESPN ticker abbr. : NCAA
31. Computer maker : DELL
32. Workout target, for short : LATS
33. Yearn : ACHE
34. When doubled, a vitamin deficiency : BERI
39. 1929 #1 hit whose title follows the line "Now he's gone and we're through" : AM I BLUE?
40. Cultivate : TILL
41. Transport on two wheels : SCOOTER
42. Openings : LEAD-INS
43. Deleted, as text : EXED OUT
44. Abnormal dryness, to a dermatologist : XEROSIS
49. Fiji's neighbor to the east : TONGA
50. Mountain nymph : OREAD
51. Answered : RSVPD
52. They're lifted on chairlifts : SKIS
53. "No ___ nada" ("Don't worry about it": Sp.) : PASA
54. Neighbor : ABUT
56. Department of NW France : ORNE
58. Israeli weapon : UZI

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1 comment :

Anonymous said...

It's really just astonishing that the ancient greeks invented a storage system for corn thousands of years before it would be brought to Europe from the Americas. And we think we're so advanced with our smart phones and internet searches.

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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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