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Vacation Alert

I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

0418-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Apr 12, Wednesday





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: Steven Riley
THEME: SQUARE DANCE … the circled letters in the grid are arranged as SQUARES and when read clockwise starting from the top left of each square, each SQUARE spells out a DANCE:
HULA
FANDANGO
BOOGALOO
MACARENA
HABANERA
HORA
COMPLETION TIME: 8m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … IKEBANA (ikebani), IBANEZ (Ibinez)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Brubeck of jazz : DAVE
Dave Brubeck is a jazz pianist from Concord, California. Brubeck is very much associated with the Dave Brubeck Quartet which he founded in 1951.

5. Newscaster Connie : CHUNG
Connie Chung has been a news anchor and reporter for many of the television networks over the years. Chung is married to talk show host Maury Povich.

10. Gumbo need : OKRA
Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the "holy trinity" of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. In fact, okra gave the dish its name, as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is "okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

14. iPad owner's subscription : EMAG
The very exciting iPad isn't Apple's first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

19. Victim of Pizarro : INCA
Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro discovered the Incas in 1526, marking the beginning of the end for the ancient civilization ravaged by the brutal Spanish colonists and by imported smallpox. The last leader of the Incas was Atahualpa. Pizarro staged a mock trial and then condemned Atahualpa to execution by burning. A Spanish friar intervened on behalf of the condemned man, as Atahualpa believed that if he was burned his soul would not move on to the afterlife. Pizarro was kind enough to have Atahualpa garroted instead.

27. Actress Scala : GIA
Gia Scala's most famous role was that of the mute resistance fighter in "The Guns of Navarone". She was born in Liverpool, England, to an Irish mother and Italian father. She lived some years in Italy before moving to New York City. It's probably good that she was a mute in "The Guns of Navarone" as who knows what her accent was like!

29. Pitcher Maglie who was outdueled in Don Larsen's 1956 perfect game : SAL
Sal Maglie was a professional baseball pitcher, one of just a few players who played for all three New York teams of his day, namely the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Maglie was known as Sal the Barber because he was said to give "close shaves" to hitters, frequently pitching on the inside.

Don Larsen is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Larsen pitched the sixth perfect game ever (out of 20 in MLB history) back in game 5 of the 1956 World Series. That perfect game is the only one to have been pitched in a World Series, and was in a game in which the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers.

30. Forearm bone-related : ULNAR
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the "thumb-side" of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the "pinkie-side".

32. Five Norse kings : OLAFS
Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028, and was known as "Olaf the Big" (or Olaf the Fat) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as "Olaf the Holy".

34. Kind of dye : AZO
Azo compounds have very vivid colors and so are used to make dyes, especially dyes with the colors red, orange and yellow.

35. "___ Fuehrer's Face" : DER
"Der Fuehrer's Face" is a famous Donald Duck cartoon short produced to support the American war effort. It is a blatant anti-Nazi propaganda piece and was well received, winning an Academy Award in 1943, the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. If you get the chance, you just have to see it ...

37. ___ nitrite (angina treatment) : AMYL
Amyl nitrite is intended for use as a vasodilator, but it is also psychoactive when inhaled so it has been abused as a recreational drug.

41. Steady guy : BEAU
"Beau" is the French word for "beautiful", in the male sense.

43. Carnaby Street type of the '60s : MOD
Mod is short for modernist, and describes a subculture that originated in London in the late fifties. Young men who called themselves mods tended to wear tailored suits, listen to pop music and drive around on Italian motor scooters. Mods came into conflict with another subculture that emerged at the same time in the UK called the rockers. Rockers were into rock and roll music, and drove motor cycles. I remember as a young kid in school having to declare myself as either a mod or a rocker. I don't think our "gangs" back then were quite the same as they are today though …

Carnaby Street is in Soho in London, and is famous for its fashion boutiques. Carnaby Street gained a reputation for leading the mod and hippie styles of dress in the late fifties and sixties. Mary Quant, who introduced the world to the miniskirt, had her boutique in Carnaby Street, and bands like the Rolling Stones and the Who worked and socialized in the area in the Swinging Sixties.

44. Saldana of "Avatar" : ZOE
American actress Zoe Saldana played the Na’vi princess in “Avatar”, and Uhura in the 2009 movie “Star Trek”. She seems to pick the right movies, as she is the only actress to have three different movies in the top twenty at the box office for three consecutive weeks (“Avatar”, “The Losers” and “Death at a Funeral”).

I went to the 3D version of "Avatar" when I saw it for the first time ... it really is the only way to see that movie!

45. Rash-causing shrub : SUMAC
Sumacs are a group of flowering plants that include Poison oak, Poison ivy and Poison sumac. Nasty stuff.

47. Gaynor of "South Pacific" : MITZI
Mitzi Gaynor’s most famous role has to be Ensign Nellie Forbush in the movie adaptation of the musical “South Pacific”. It is Gaynor who sings the song “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”.

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”.

49. CBS series set in Vegas : CSI
I’m told that the TV show "CSI" gets a lot of razzing by law enforcement professionals for its unrealistic portrayal of the procedures and science of criminal investigation. I don't care though, as I just think it's fun television. The original "CSI" set in Las Vegas seems to have "gone off the boil", but the addition of Sela Ward to the cast of "CSI: NY" has really, really raised the level of the sister show centered around New York City.

52. Constellation with the Stingray Nebula : ARA
The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for "altar".

53. Microwave brand : AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa.

59. Japanese flower-arranging art : IKEBANA
The Japanese art of flower arranging is very much focused on minimalism, the use of a minimum number of blooms arranged among a few stalks and leaves.

64. ___ Ishii ("Kill Bill" character) : O-REN
O-Ren Ishii is a character in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Kill Bill”. Also known as Cottonmouth, Ishii is played by Lucy Liu.

“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (I don't do Tarantino, so I haven’t seen it!). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There are now plans to make “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

65. Hostess snack cake : HO HO
Ho Hos snack cakes were first produced in San Francisco in 1967; not the best thing to come out of the sixties I'd say ...

66. S.U.V. named for a lake : TAHOE
The term SUV, for Sports Utility Vehicle, was introduced by our marketing friends. Using the term Sports Utility Vehicle was a very clever way to get us to pay a lot of money for what was essentially a station wagon on a truck chassis, at least it was back then.

Lake Tahoe is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country. It's also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

68. Places for baths : SPAS
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".

70. Hit 1998 animated movie : ANTZ
"Antz" was the first feature movie released by Dreamworks SKG, the studio founded by Steven Spielberg and two partners in 1994. "Antz" came out in 1998, and has a stellar cast that includes Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and many, many other big names. The cartoon is quite unique in that the facial features of the voice actors are reflected in the animated characters.

Down
2. Cuneiform discovery site : AMARNA
Armana is an archaeological site on the east bank of the Nile River in Egypt, almost 200 miles south of Cairo. The ancient city is also known as el-Armana, and Tel el-Armana, although the use of "Tel" is apparently incorrect. "Tel" commonly appears in names in the region (Arabic for "hill") but should not apply to Amarna as the site is perfectly flat.

Cuneiform writing is a very early form of written expression that uses characters that are variants of a wedge shape. The first form of cuneiform writing was developed in Sumer (in modern-day Iraq), and was largely a system of pictographs. Over time, the number of characters decreased and became smaller and simpler, until they eventually evolved into the characters that we use in alphabetic writing today.

3. Graffiti artist, perhaps : VANDAL
"Graffiti" is the plural of "graffito", the Italian for "a scribbling". The word was first used to describe ancient inscriptions on the walls in the ruins of Pompeii.

6. Boy band with the hit "MMMBop" : HANSON
Hanson is a pop rock boy band from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hanson’s biggest hit is the 1997 song “MMMBop”.

9. Subject of a 1982 best seller on sexuality : G-SPOT
The full name for the G-Spot is the “Gräfenberg Spot”, named after German doctor Ernst Gräfenberg. Gräfenberg is best known for developing the intrauterine device (IUD).

10. State with a large Amish population : OHIO
The Amish are a group of Christian churches, a sub-group of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

11. Casino attraction with a "bubble" : KENO GAME
The name "Keno" has French or Latin roots, with the French "quine" being a term for five winning numbers, and the Latin "quini" meaning "five each". However, the game actually originated in China. Keno was introduced to the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

In a traditional keno game, balls are blown about inside a circular glass enclosure called a “bubble”.

13. Toothpaste letters : ADA
The American Dental Association (ADA) is the largest and oldest national dental association in the world. Today it is based in Chicago, but the association was founded in Niagara Falls, New York in 1859. The ADA started out as a group of 26 dentists, and it now has more than 152,000 members.

21. Onetime Trooper and Rodeo maker : 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.

28. Words for the deaf: Abbr. : ASL
It's really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

36. Give a Bronx cheer : RAZZ
The verb "razz" is a shortened form of "raspberry".

Not so much here in America, but over in the British Isles "blowing a raspberry" is a way of insulting someone (I think it's called "a Bronx cheer" here in the US).

38. With 4-Down, "The Collector" co-star : SAMANTHA
(4. See 38-Down : EGGAR)
Samantha Eggar is a wonderful English actress, perhaps best known in the US for her role in the 1965 movie “The Collector”.

The 1965 movie “The Collector” is a psychological thriller based on a novel of the same name by John Fowles. Starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, the film tells the story of a lonely butterfly collector who stalks and kidnaps a young woman and holds her in his basement.

40. Bête ___ : NOIRE
"Bête noire" translates from French as "the black beast" and is used in English for something or someone that is disliked.

41. "Be Prepared" org. : BSA
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.

42. Abba's music genre : EUROPOP
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA's music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

46. Part of a Lionel set : CAR
Lionel is the name most associated with toy trains in the US. The first trains rolled off the production line in 1901 and they are still produced today, although the original Lionel Corporation is long gone. In 1995, the brand was bought by an investment company that included train enthusiast Neil Young (the singer), and operated as Lionel, LLC. Neil Young's financial involvement ended after a 2008 reorganization of the company following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, but the company is still producing and selling.

48. Either of two characters in "The Emperor's New Clothes" : TAILOR
“The Emperor's New Clothes” is a story by Hans Christian Andersen.

49. Styx ferryman : CHARON
The River Styx in Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or Hades). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferryboat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead "to pay the ferryman".

51. Big guitar brand : IBANEZ
Ibanez is a brand of guitar from Japan. Ibanez guitars are named after the Spanish guitar maker Salvador Ibáñez, who plied his trade in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

56. "The Hot Zone" virus : EBOLA
The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name comes from the site of the first known outbreak of the disease, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"The Hot Zone" is a 1994 book written by Richard Preston, a non-fiction work describing the history of hemorrhagic fevers (and Ebola in particular).

58. Those, in Tijuana : ESOS
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana's growth took place in the twenties, as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar's, in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar's claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.

63. Everyday article in rap titles : THA
I guess “tha” is slang for “the” in the world of rap …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Brubeck of jazz : DAVE
5. Newscaster Connie : CHUNG
10. Gumbo need : OKRA
14. iPad owner's subscription : EMAG
15. Hes : MALES
16. Take seriously : HEED
17. Canine on a feline : FANG
18. Get the better of : ONE UP
19. Victim of Pizarro : INCA
20. Makes a father of : ORDAINS
22. As well : TO BOOT
24. Growls like a dog : GNARS
25. Have a loan from : OWE TO
27. Actress Scala : GIA
29. Pitcher Maglie who was outdueled in Don Larsen's 1956 perfect game : SAL
30. Forearm bone-related : ULNAR
32. Five Norse kings : OLAFS
34. Kind of dye : AZO
35. "___ Fuehrer's Face" : DER
37. ___ nitrite (angina treatment) : AMYL
38. Hoedown activity ... or what each group of circled letters is? : SQUARE DANCE
41. Steady guy : BEAU
43. Carnaby Street type of the '60s : MOD
44. Saldana of "Avatar" : ZOE
45. Rash-causing shrub : SUMAC
47. Gaynor of "South Pacific" : MITZI
49. CBS series set in Vegas : CSI
52. Constellation with the Stingray Nebula : ARA
53. Microwave brand : AMANA
55. Place to dry out : REHAB
57. Margin in a baseball squeaker : ONE RUN
59. Japanese flower-arranging art : IKEBANA
61. Declines, with "out" : OPTS
62. Sir or madam : TITLE
64. ___ Ishii ("Kill Bill" character) : O-REN
65. Hostess snack cake : HO HO
66. S.U.V. named for a lake : TAHOE
67. Leave in the dust : LOSE
68. Places for baths : SPAS
69. Traffic problem : SNARL
70. Hit 1998 animated movie : ANTZ

Down
1. Clears, as a windshield : DEFOGS
2. Cuneiform discovery site : AMARNA
3. Graffiti artist, perhaps : VANDAL
4. See 38-Down : EGGAR
5. "Let's go!" : C’MON
6. Boy band with the hit "MMMBop" : HANSON
7. Suffix with glob : -ULE
8. Fixed by a vet : NEUTERED
9. Subject of a 1982 best seller on sexuality : G-SPOT
10. State with a large Amish population : OHIO
11. Casino attraction with a "bubble" : KENO GAME
12. Make right : RECTIFY
13. Toothpaste letters : ADA
21. Onetime Trooper and Rodeo maker : ISUZU
23. "You suck!" : BOO
26. Attacked energetically : WADED IN
28. Words for the deaf: Abbr. : ASL
31. Rich soil : LOAM
33. Spike, as punch : LACE
34. Pastel hue : AQUA
36. Give a Bronx cheer : RAZZ
38. With 4-Down, "The Collector" co-star : SAMANTHA
39. Like surnames ending in -escu : ROMANIAN
40. Bête ___ : NOIRE
41. "Be Prepared" org. : BSA
42. Abba's music genre : EUROPOP
46. Part of a Lionel set : CAR
48. Either of two characters in "The Emperor's New Clothes" : TAILOR
49. Styx ferryman : CHARON
50. Least likely to lose it : SANEST
51. Big guitar brand : IBANEZ
54. Pups without papers : MUTTS
56. "The Hot Zone" virus : EBOLA
58. Those, in Tijuana : ESOS
60. Boat's backbone : KEEL
61. 17 of them are sung before "my gosh" in a 2010 #1 Usher hit : OHS
63. Everyday article in rap titles : THA

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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bill!

Thanks for your great and interesting work.

Regarding 35 across: I was not familiar with the cartoon, but I have heard the Spike Jones version of the song, many times over the years.

Regarding 58 down: you might find it interesting to note that the name "Tijuana" is almost universally (in the U.S., anyway) mispronounced as tia-juana. It seems that enough people are familiar with "tia" as an "aunt", and just want to put that extra vowel in there.

Take care.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there.

I didn't realize that the song from the cartoon was quite to so famous. Thank you for that.

Re "Tijuana", I actually had not heard that mispronunciation. I will keep my ear out for that one!

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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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