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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

0525-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 25 May 12, Friday





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: Brendan Emmett Quigley
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: Not recorded
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
8. Key for someone with 20/20 vision? : C SHARP
Someone with 20/20 vision might “see sharp”, which sounds like “C SHARP”.

I can only really understand the expression “20/20 vision” in non-technical terms. Apparently someone with 20/20 vision can see just as well as a standard/normal person at 20 feet from an eye chart. Someone with 20/40 vision can see just as well as a standard/normal person at 40 feet. Someone with 20/100 vision can see just as well as a standard/normal person at 100 feet, and so on. Those of you living in Metric Land use the term 6/6, with the standard distance being 6 meters instead of 20 feet.

14. Audit targets : EVADERS
Someone attempting to evade taxes might be the target of an audit by the IRS.

15. Concluding syllables : ULTIMAS
In the world of linguistics, the last syllable in a word is called the ultima. The second last syllable is known as the penult.

20. End of a dictionary : ZEES
The letter named "zed" has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of "zee" used in America today first popped up in the 1670s.

21. "The Scarperer" author : BEHAN
Brendan Behan was an Irish writer and playwright. His most famous work is probably "Borstal Boy", an autobiographical novel. Borstal is a term used in the British Isles for juvenile detention. Behan was quite a character, famous for being a heavy drinker ("a drinker with a writing problem", as he described himself). The drink eventually put him in an early grave, at 41 years old. I used to walk to school in Dublin right past the pub where he spent many hours every day.

“The Scarperer” is a 1966 novel by Irish writer Brendan Behan. “To scarper” isn’t a term I’ve heard used much in the US, but we used it all the time when I was growing up in Ireland. To scarper is make a hasty retreat, to run away.

24. "The cautious seldom ___": Confucius : ERR
“The Analects” or “Linyu” is a collection of the sayings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It wasn’t Confucius who wrote down his thoughts though, but rather his pupils, some 40 or so years after his death in 479 BC.

27. ___ Fields : MRS
The Mrs. Fields brand of snack foods was founded in the late seventies by Debbi Fields. Fields opened her first store in Palo Alto, California.

28. Winter ailment, informally : STREP
Streptococcus bacteria multiply and divide along a single axis so that they form linked chains. That behavior gives the genus of bacteria its name, as “streptos” is Greek for “easily twisted, like a chain”. I had a battle with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) recently and it was not at all pleasant, I must say. Another species of streptococcus is responsible for that terrible “flesh-eating” infection that makes the news from time to time.

34. One who's blue, for short? : DEM
On political maps, red states are Republican and blue states Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties.

37. Herb that causes euphoria : CATNIP
About 50% of all cats are affected in some way by the plant catnip. There is a terpenoid in the oil of the plant called nepetalactone that the cat inhales and that can cause anything from drowsiness to anxiety.

39. 2022 World Cup host : QATAR
Qatar is a sovereign state in the Middle East occupying the Qatar Peninsula, itself located in the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies on the Persian Gulf and shares one land border, with Saudi Arabia to the south. Qatar has more oil and gas reserves per capita of population than any other country in the world and in 2010 had the fastest growing economy in the world, driven by the petrochemical industry.

Uruguay won the soccer gold medals at both the 1924 and 1928 Olympic tournaments. When Jules Rimet, the president of soccer's international governing body (FIFA), decided to start an international tournament outside of the Olympics, it was decided to give Uruguay the honor of hosting the first competition. Sure enough, Uruguay emerged victorious as the first FIFA World Cup winner in 1930. Sadly, Uruguay haven't won since.

44. Lead character in Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" : GUS
"Lonesome Dove" is a Pulitzer-winning western novel by Larry McMurtry, first published in 1985. The novel was originally written as a screenplay for a feature film that never made it to the screen called "The Streets of Laredo". The movie fell through because John Wayne pulled out of the project, whereas co-stars James Stewart and Henry Fonda were all set to go.

47. Many a "Twilight" fan : TEEN
The reference, is to "The Twilight" series of books by Stephanie Meyer. "The Twilight Saga" is a series of films based on the books. I don't do vampires ...

49. Stick for a kite : ROOST
Kites are birds of prey that feed mainly on carrion.

51. It might be covered by an umbrella : FROZEN DAIQUIRI
Daiquirí is a small village on the coast near Santiago, Cuba and a key location in the American invasion of Cuba in the Spanish-American War. Supposedly, the cocktail called a Daiquiri was invented by American mining engineers in a bar in nearby Santiago.

54. "Aladdin" princess : JASMINE
Princess Jasmine is a character introduced into the Aladdin tale by Disney, first appearing in the 1992 film “Aladdin”.

The Disney animated feature "Aladdin" was released in 1992 and is one of the best features to come out of the studio, in my opinion, largely due to the great performance by Robin Williams who voiced the Genie. "Aladdin" was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $500 million worldwide, an unusual feat for an animated movie.

58. Showcases of rock bands? : GEODES
A geode is a naturally occurring rock in which there is a cavity lined or filled with crystal formations.

59. Ones who are hurting? : SADISTS
The Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat with a reputation for a libertine lifestyle. He was also a writer, well known for his works of erotica. He fell foul of the law for some his more extreme practices and for blaspheming the Catholic church. On an off, de Sade spent 32 years of his life in prison and in insane asylums.

Down
3. Boot cover : GAITER
A "gaiter" is a heavy cloth or piece of leather that covers the leg from the instep up to the ankle or perhaps knee.

4. Carving tools : ADZES
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool's shaft. An axe's blade is set in line with the shaft.

11. "Couldn't agree with you more" : AMEN AMEN
The word “amen” is translated as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is likely to be also influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

13. They go below signatures, briefly : PSS
One adds a PS (postscriptum) at the end of a letter. A second postscriptum (or postscript) is a post postscriptum, a PPS.

15. Oct. 24 : UN DAY
The Charter of the United Nations was signed by the member states in San Francisco June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945. October 24 was chosen as United Nations Day in 1971, with the intent that UN Day become a public holiday in all UN member states.

19. "Moby-Dick" setting : THE PEQUOD
The Pequod is the ship that figures in Herman Melville's classic, "Moby Dick". The ship is owned by a consortium of the citizens of Nantucket Island, including Captains Ahab, Bildad and Peleg.

Herman Melville mined his own experiences for his most famous novel, "Moby-Dick". Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for "Moby-Dick"). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives (actually cannibals) on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for "Typee"). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate headed for Boston (a source for "Omoo").

23. Lethal injection administerers : ASPS
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

26. 2001 British Open champion David : DUVAL
David Duval is a professional golfer from Jacksonville, Florida. The high point of Duval’s career was a victory in the 2001 British Open, but this was followed by a remarkable decline. Duval hasn’t won a PGA Tour event since then, although he often still figures among the leaders.

28. Britain's biggest-selling paper, with "The" : SUN
“The Sun” has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the UK. It is a tabloid (really quite dreadful in my humble opinion), and is published by Rupert Murdoch. One feature of “The Sun” is a topless female model on "Page Three" of each issue.

31. "Home Invasion" rapper : ICE-T
Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles. Maybe he should have stuck to his real name, Tracy Marrow. Then again, maybe not ...

35. First jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize : MARSALIS
Wynton Marsalis is a trumpeter and composer. Marsalis holds the position of Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

40. "Eugene Onegin" girl : TATIANA
“Eugene Onegin” is a novel by the Russian author Alexander Pushkin. The novel is unusual in that it is written in verse form.

50. Like the majority of Saudis : SUNNI
The largest denomination within the Muslim faith is Sunni Islam, with the second largest being Shia Islam.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world's largest oil producer, home to the world's largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring "true" Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

52. Informal pub : ZINE
A magazine (“zine”) is a publication (“pub”).

53. Brown green? : QUAD
Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. who gave a substantial gift to the school.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Finery : REGALIA
8. Key for someone with 20/20 vision? : C SHARP
14. Audit targets : EVADERS
15. Concluding syllables : ULTIMAS
16. Take at an opportune time : SEIZE ON
17. Grooms : NEATENS
18. Modern chemistry experiment? : INTERNET DATING
20. End of a dictionary : ZEES
21. "The Scarperer" author : BEHAN
22. "Ciao" : TATA
24. "The cautious seldom ___": Confucius : ERR
25. Teary : SAD-EYED
27. ___ Fields : MRS
28. Winter ailment, informally : STREP
29. Get dressed for a party, say : DUDE UP
31. 52-Down unit : ISSUE
34. One who's blue, for short? : DEM
36. Poison ivy and others : VINES
37. Herb that causes euphoria : CATNIP
39. 2022 World Cup host : QATAR
41. Threshold : EVE
42. Raw : NATURAL
44. Lead character in Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" : GUS
47. Many a "Twilight" fan : TEEN
49. Stick for a kite : ROOST
50. Bankrupted : SUNK
51. It might be covered by an umbrella : FROZEN DAIQUIRI
54. "Aladdin" princess : JASMINE
55. Remove spots from : LAUNDER
56. Compass divisions : OCTANTS
57. Most slapstick : INANEST
58. Showcases of rock bands? : GEODES
59. Ones who are hurting? : SADISTS

Down
1. Blow up, maybe : RESIZE
2. Fix for a wobbly table : EVENER
3. Boot cover : GAITER
4. Carving tools : ADZES
5. A wolf may have one : LEER
6. Part of a jail cell : IRON BAR
7. Prescription directive : AS NEEDED
8. Swept, say : CLEANED
9. Yards, e.g. : STAT
10. Command associated with numbers : HIT IT
11. "Couldn't agree with you more" : AMEN AMEN
12. Seemed right : RANG TRUE
13. They go below signatures, briefly : PSS
15. Oct. 24 : UN DAY
19. "Moby-Dick" setting : THE PEQUOD
23. Lethal injection administerers : ASPS
25. Hinged vessel, often : STEIN
26. 2001 British Open champion David : DUVAL
28. Britain's biggest-selling paper, with "The" : SUN
30. Certain board member: Abbr. : DIR
31. "Home Invasion" rapper : ICE-T
32. Avoid humiliation : SAVE FACE
33. Points in the direction of : STEERS TO
35. First jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize : MARSALIS
38. Raises : PARENTS
40. "Eugene Onegin" girl : TATIANA
43. Conditions, with "up" : TONES
44. Museum employees : GUIDES
45. Revolutionary state : UNREST
46. Christmas tree base coverings : SKIRTS
48. One who's really going places : NOMAD
50. Like the majority of Saudis : SUNNI
52. Informal pub : ZINE
53. Brown green? : QUAD
54. Prod : JOG

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3 comments :

Anonymous said...

This was a tough one (for me). Enjoy the long-weekend.
Manxie

Andrew Blais said...

You do so many Times crosswords your life begins to emulate them ;) (see 28-across)

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Manxie.

Yes, I spotted that strep throat reference too. Spookie ...

Thanks for stopping, Manxie, as always!

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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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