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Greetings from Louisburgh, County Mayo 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

0626-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Jun 12, Tuesday





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: Mike Torch
THEME: THE DEAD MAN’S HAND … each of the theme answers starts with a playing card, and together all the cards make up THE DEAD MAN’S HAND in poker: a pair of aces and a pair of eights:
38A. What 17-, 26-, 46- and 57-Across's beginnings represent : THE DEAD MAN’S HAND

17A. Jim Carrey title role : ACE VENTURA
26A. Company for which John Madden was once pitchman : ACE HARDWARE
46A. Film about the 1919 Black Sox scandal : EIGHT MEN OUT
57A. Old tape format : EIGHT TRACK
COMPLETION TIME: 8m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

14. Hill in Hollywood : JONAH
The actor Jonah Hill was a friend of the children of Dustin Hoffman. The children introduced the aspiring actor and writer to their father and Hoffman asked Hill to audition for a role in “I Heart Huckabees”. Hill got the part and his career took off. I saw Hill not too long ago in the film “Moneyball”, and for my money (pun intended!) he stole the show.

15. The Maumee flows northeast to this lake : ERIE
Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to the lake effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake's edge.

The Maumee River forms at Fort Wayne, Indiana and flows for 137 miles through Indiana and Ohio, emptying into Lake Erie in Toledo, Ohio.

16. Old Iranian leader : SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown by the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

17. Jim Carrey title role : ACE VENTURA
Ace Ventura was the title character in two movies, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (1994) and “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” (1995). In both films the title role was played by Jim Carrey.

Jim Carrey is a comedian and actor from Newmarket, Ontario. Carrey’s big break in films came with the first in a series of “Ace Ventura” films in 1994. My favorite of his big screen performances is in the fascinating film “The Truman Show”, released in 1998.

23. Homer Simpson outburst : D’OH
"The Simpsons" is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson's catchphrase is "D'oh", now such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001.

26. Company for which John Madden was once pitchman : ACE HARDWARE
The Ace Hardware chain of stores was founded in 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. The name “Ace” was chosen after “ace” fighter pilots from World War I.

31. Island group east of the Philippines : PALAU
Palau is a tiny island nation lying 500 miles east of the Philippines, and 2,000 mile south of Japan. Palau was once a Spanish possession, and was sold by Spain to Germany in the late 19th century. During WWI, Japan invaded the islands (as Japan had declared war on Germany during WWI) and was awarded the islands as a territory by the League of Nations at the end of hostilities. In WWII the US took Palau from the Japanese in a bloody battle in 1944. Palau emerged from American administration in 1994, and is now a sovereign state.

38. What 17-, 26-, 46- and 57-Across's beginnings represent : THE DEAD MAN’S HAND
In 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing poker in a saloon in the town of Deadwood in the Black Hills in the Dakota Territory. For once, the gunfighting lawman was sitting with his back to the door, something he almost always avoided. He had twice tried to change seats to give him a view of the door, but his card-playing comrades weren't obliging. An enemy of Wild Bill's named Jack McCall then was able to enter the saloon without being noticed. He walked up to the table and shot Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The hand that Hickok was holding contained four black cards, two aces and two eights. Since the killing, black aces and eights in a poker hand have been referred to as the "dead man's hand".

41. Without: Fr. : SANS
In French, one might use the words “sans” (without) and “avec” (with).

43. Shinto temple gateway : TORII
A torii is a very traditional Japanese gate, often seen at the entrance to a Shinto shrine.

It is perhaps best not to describe Shinto as a religion, but more as a "spirituality of the Japanese people", a spirituality that encompasses folklore, history and mythology. Having said that, "Shinto" translates literally as "Way of the Gods". Most people in Japan who are described as practicing Shinto, also practice Buddhism.

45. Bernard with a Ponzi scheme : MADOFF
Bernie Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence for having operated what is described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Basically Madoff took investor's money and instead of investing it in the markets as agreed, he put the money into a bank account. He used some of the money he collected from new investors to pay the older investors the anticipated monthly returns. This worked just fine, until too many investors started looking for the return of the original investment. The money was "gone", paid to new investors (and Madoff), so the whole scheme collapsed.

Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. Ponzi devised a scheme to buy what were known as "international reply coupons" through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an "illegal" transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it's what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme. He couldn't redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. Many people wanted to get in on the scheme seeing that Ponzi was able to make the new investors a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn't double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.

46. Film about the 1919 Black Sox scandal : EIGHT MEN OUT
In the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, eight Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the World Series for financial gain. The tale is told in "Eight Men Out", a movie released in 1988 based on the book "8 Men Out" written by Eliot Asinof and published in 1963.

52. Napoleonic marshal : NEY
Michel Ney was one of the first 18 Marshals of France created by Napoleon. When Bonaparte was eventually defeated for the last time, Ney was arrested and sentenced to death. He was executed in Paris by firing squad. Nay refused to wear a blindfold, and demanded that he himself be allowed to give the order to fire.

53. Economic barometer : THE DOW
Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company's most famous publication has to be "The Wall Street Journal". In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day, including the renowned Dow Jones Industrials.

57. Old tape format : EIGHT-TRACK
“8-track” is common term for the sound recording technology more correctly called “Stereo 8”. 8-track became popular for a while because its magnetic tape came in a cartridge that was convenient to use in a car.

62. Tel ___ : AVIV
The full name of Israel's second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into "Spring Mound", a name chosen in 1910.

65. Beatty and Flanders : NEDS
Ned Beatty is probably best remembered for the rather disturbing "squeal like a pig" scene in the movie "Deliverance". Beatty also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1976 movie “Network”.

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV's "The Simpsons". Ned is voiced by the actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode aired on Fox in 1989.

Down
1. Double-platinum Steely Dan album : AJA
Steely Dan's heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993 and they are still going strong today.

4. Loos : LAVS
Our word “lavatory” originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a "lavatory" came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

When I was growing up in Ireland, a "bathroom" was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called "the toilet" or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term closet was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes in a "closet", as a closet was the right size to take the commode. It has been suggested that the British term "loo" comes from Waterloo (water-closet ... water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure.

5. Where Dutch royals live : THE HAGUE
Den Haag is the Dutch name for the city in the Netherlands that we know in English as The Hague. Even though The Hague is the seat of the Dutch parliament and is where Queen Beatrix resides, it is not the country's capital city. That honor goes to Amsterdam.

8. Former Russian space station : MIR
Mir was a remarkably successful project, with the station still holding the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at just under ten years. Towards the end of the space station's life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth's atmosphere in 2001.

9. Colored like the boat in Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat" : PEA GREEN
“The Owl and the Pussycat” is a poem by Edward Lear first published in 1871. It tells of an owl and a pussycat who set out to sea in a pea green boat with honey and plenty of money wrapped in a five pound note ...

11. Tibet's capital : LHASA
Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet, and the name "Lhasa" translates as "place of the gods". However, Lhasa used to be called Rasa, a name that translates into the less auspicious "goat's place". Lhasa was also once called the “Forbidden City” due to its inaccessible location high in the Himalayas and a traditional hostility exhibited by residents to outsiders. The “forbidden” nature of the city has been reinforced since the Chinese took over Tibet in the early 1950s as it has been difficult for foreigners to get permission to visit Lhasa.

12. 1984 best-selling Ed Koch memoir : MAYOR
Ed Koch was a Democratic Representative in the US Congress from 1969-73, and then Mayor of New York City from 1978-89. From 1997 to 1999 Koch was a “judge” on the TV show “The People’s Court”. And in 2004, he collaborated with his sister Pat Koch, and wrote a children's book called "Eddie, Harold's Little Brother", a tale about Ed's own childhood experiences.

23. Cabinet units: Abbr. : DEPTS
In the Westminster system, the Cabinet is a group of sitting politicians chosen by the Prime Minister to head up government departments and also to participate collectively in major governmental decisions in all areas. In the US system, the Cabinet is made up not of sitting politicians, but rather of non-legislative individuals who are considered to have expertise in a particular area. Outside of their own departments, the Cabinet members in the US system tend to have more of an advisory role for the President.

24. ___ Steaks : OMAHA
Omaha Steaks is a company that sells meat and related products directly to end customers. Omaha steaks are shipped directly to purchasers in coolers packed with ice.

25. Hayes of the theater : HELEN
Helen Hayes was an actress born in 1900 in Washington D.C. Such was her success that Hayes came to be known as “the First Lady of the American Theatre”. She also gave her name to the Helen Hayes Awards which recognize excellence in Washington D.C. theater productions.

27. The "A" in E. A. Poe : 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.

29. X-ray units : RADS
A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels, but is largely obsolete now. It has been superseded by the rem.

X-rays were first really studied by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also "Roentgen"), and it was he who gave the name "X-rays" to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen's native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as "Röntgen rays". In 1901 Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded, recognition for his work on X-rays.

32. Brick material : ADOBE
The building material known as adobe has been around a long time, and has been used in dry climates all over the world. The original form of the word "adobe" dates back to Middle Egyptian times, about 2000 BC. The original "spelling" is dj-b-t, and translates as mud (sun-dried) brick.

33. Inits. on most Rolling Stones records : BMI
Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) collects licence fees for musicians and distributes royalties to composers whose works have been performed.

35. Moses' brother : AARON
In the Bible and the Qur’an, Aaron was the older brother of Moses and a prophet. Aaron became the first High Priest of the Israelites.

37. Enlighten : EDIFY
“To edify” is to provide instruction in order to improve spiritually, morally or intellectually. The intent is to “build up” someone's faith or morality and so “edify” comes from the Latin “aedificare” meaning “to build, construct”. This Latin root also gives us our word “edifice”.

39. Batman portrayer : ADAM WEST
Adam West is the actor who played the title role in the sixties TV series “Batman”. These days you might hear him as the voice of a character called “Adam West” on the animated show “Family Guy”. Back in 1970, West was offered the role of James Bond in the movie “Diamonds are Forever”, but he turned it down!

44. "Yeah, yeah, little ___" (1964 song refrain part) : GTO
"Yeah, yeah, little GTO" are words appearing the song “G.T.O”, the debut recording for the surf rock group from the sixties known as Ronny & the Daytonas.

46. One of filmdom's Coen brothers : ETHAN
I think it's great to see two brothers working together and being so successful. Joel and Ethan Coen are two movie producers and directors who both live in New York City. They do love the movie-making business and they even married "insiders". Ethan's wife is film editor Tricia Cooke, and Joel is married to one of my favorite actresses, the lovely Frances McDormand.

48. Very cold : GELID
“Gelid” is such a lovely word, and means “icy cold”. “Gelid” derives from the Latin “gelum” meaning “frost, intense cold”.

49. They hang on walls nowadays : HDTVS
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 TVs 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.

58. 2012 Facebook event, in brief : IPO
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words it marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually). Anyone owning stock in the company prior to the IPO can find that after that IPO, their stock is worth something on the market (as opposed to just on paper), and can become quite wealthy overnight.

Everything I know about Facebook I learned from the very entertaining movie “The Social Network”, from 2010. I have a Facebook page for this blog, but I really have no idea how to use it ...!

60. Covert org. : CIA
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII, and was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. XXX : ADULT
6. Easy chair accompanier : LAMP
10. Charity : ALMS
14. Hill in Hollywood : JONAH
15. The Maumee flows northeast to this lake : ERIE
16. Old Iranian leader : SHAH
17. Jim Carrey title role : ACE VENTURA
19. Send to the canvas : KAYO
20. Leveling wedges : SHIMS
21. Doesn't shut up : GOES ON
23. Homer Simpson outburst : D’OH
26. Company for which John Madden was once pitchman : ACE HARDWARE
28. Come out of hiding : EMERGE
30. Put the first card down : LED
31. Island group east of the Philippines : PALAU
32. Up to the task : ABLE
34. Benefit : SAKE
38. What 17-, 26-, 46- and 57-Across's beginnings represent : THE DEAD MAN’S HAND
41. Without: Fr. : SANS
42. "Whatcha ___?" : DOIN’
43. Shinto temple gateway : TORII
44. Talk, talk, talk : GAB
45. Bernard with a Ponzi scheme : MADOFF
46. Film about the 1919 Black Sox scandal : EIGHT MEN OUT
52. Napoleonic marshal : NEY
53. Economic barometer : THE DOW
54. Misbehave : ACT UP
56. Stop : HALT
57. Old tape format : EIGHT-TRACK
62. Tel ___ : AVIV
63. Sail support : SPAR
64. Like some coincidences : EERIE
65. Beatty and Flanders : NEDS
66. Carry : TOTE
67. Turn a hose on : SPRAY

Down
1. Double-platinum Steely Dan album : AJA
2. Sawbones : DOC
3. French article : UNE
4. Loos : LAVS
5. Where Dutch royals live : THE HAGUE
6. "I can help" : LET ME
7. Hurriedly, after "in" : A RUSH
8. Former Russian space station : MIR
9. Colored like the boat in Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat" : PEA GREEN
10. Crooked : ASKEW
11. Tibet's capital : LHASA
12. 1984 best-selling Ed Koch memoir : MAYOR
13. Glimmered : SHONE
18. Pleasing : NICE
22. "Hmm, that's ___" : ODD
23. Cabinet units: Abbr. : DEPTS
24. ___ Steaks : OMAHA
25. Hayes of the theater : HELEN
27. The "A" in E. A. Poe : ALLAN
29. X-ray units : RADS
32. Brick material : ADOBE
33. Inits. on most Rolling Stones records : BMI
34. Like plow horses : SHOD
35. Moses' brother : AARON
36. Piece in a place setting : KNIFE
37. Enlighten : EDIFY
39. Batman portrayer : ADAM WEST
40. Laws : STATUTES
44. "Yeah, yeah, little ___" (1964 song refrain part) : GTO
45. Mongrel : MUTT
46. One of filmdom's Coen brothers : ETHAN
47. "___ my reasons" : I HAVE
48. Very cold : GELID
49. They hang on walls nowadays : HDTVS
50. Pester : NAG AT
51. Yellow shade : OCHRE
55. SAT course, e.g. : PREP
58. 2012 Facebook event, in brief : IPO
59. Flight board datum: Abbr. : ARR
60. Covert org. : CIA
61. Critical : KEY

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6 comments :

Anonymous said...

nice site; i'm an escapee of the rex parker blog; too mean.
this is very helpful.
thanks

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, and welcome.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I'm glad you find it helpful. I have a lot of fun writing it up each night.

Come back and visit again soon.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog when I am stuck and frustrated!

M. A. In St. Louis

Bill Butler said...

Thanks M. A.

There's no need to wait until you're stuck and frustrated to check out the blog. Drop by anytime! :)

WonderGirl said...

I just love your blog and am so happy to have discovered it. I inherited my Papa's love of words and literature; the dictionary he bequeathed was my prized possession. Now that we have web hopping as a tool to aid us in searching for knowledge, I have found it quite dizzying trying to find accurate background stories for words. Your site has saved me from much wasted effort, and I love that I can learn the histories in one place. I was especially impressed to see that you sometimes include the root word components from ancient times to show how the words were born. That was my favorite feature in my Daddy's gigantic dictionary, and trying to find root words online has been an exercise in frustration. I also am an escapee from Mr. Parker's blog...it is great that that he has been attempting to inform us for so long but as a younger solver, I find he seems too dry and a bit grouchy in tone...I almost feel as if I am being scolded by him for not knowing where a clue should lead! Thank you for the nice tone of your blog, & the educational factor. It seems as if you really care about teaching and sharing all these great bits of knowledge; that you care about your readers & fellow solvers, a trait that is definitely missing in some blogs. If I wanted to read a blog in which the writer is just showing off, there are plenty to choose from, so I hope you keep on sharing for years to come!

Bill Butler said...

Hi WonderGirl,

Thanks for such a comprehensive comment, and for such kind words! It's great to see a younger solver visiting the blog as I mostly hear from folks who are of my own generation.

As far as being "a teacher" is concerned, I'd have to point out that the only person I am trying to teach is myself! I just share what I learn from the puzzle, in the hope that it provides some service to others who are interested in learning a little something, a bit of trivia perhaps, from the puzzle too.

I have to agree with your love of etymology. Not all words have interesting roots, but some do and I try to share those here. I was lucky enough to learn a little Latin at school many moons ago, and find it really helps in understanding word meanings. I wish my own kids had the chance to learn Latin when they were at school (although they would hated it at the time, I am sure!).

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, WonderGirl. I appreciate it. Drop back soon!

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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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