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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth 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

0627-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Jun 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: Mike Buckley
THEME: PENTOMINOES … the black squares in the grid make up the twelve possible “pentominoes”, shapes made from five squares of the some size connected at the edges. The grid features clues and answers related to the use of these twelve shapes:
15A. Descriptive of this puzzle's grid : LACKING SYMMETRY
37A. Complete set of 12 shapes formed by this puzzle's black squares : PENTOMINOES
54A. Like this puzzle's 37-Across : NON-INTERLOCKING
COMPLETION TIME: 20m 16s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Like areas where cattails thrive : MARSHY
Cattails are flowering plants found in wetlands, although we call them bullrushes back in Ireland ...

17. Its symbol is AA on the New York Stock Exchange : ALCOA
The Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA) is the largest producer of aluminum in the United States. The company was founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where its headquarters are to this day.

18. Volt/ampere : OHM
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after Georg Simon Ohm, the German physicist. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm's Law.

20. Whom Uncle Sam wants : YOU
The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the codeword "Samland" to mean "America" in intelligence communiques.

23. Jack Kerouac's last novel : PIC
“Pic” is an out-of-print novella by Jack Kerouac. It tells the story of a young boy called Pic, short for Pictorial Review Jackson. What a name …

24. Long-running NBC staple, for short : SNL
NBC first aired a form of "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) in 1975 under the title "NBC's Saturday Night". The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from "The Tonight Show". Back then "The Tonight Show" had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to pull together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call "Saturday Night Live".

25. Stevedores, say : LOADERS
A stevedore, or longshoreman, is someone employed in the loading and unloading of ships at a port. The word "stevedore" comes from the Spanish "estibador", meaning "one who loads cargo". The word "longshoreman", is simply from "a man who works alongshore".

28. Good name for an investment adviser? : IRA
I have to tell you when I first came to the US from Ireland, it was pretty confusing seeing big signs along the freeway advocating IRA contributions. Back in Ireland, that was pretty illegal (where IRA stands for the outlawed Irish Republican Army!).

29. Secret supply : STASH
"Stash" is criminal slang dating back to the late 1700s. "To stash" means "to hoard", and is perhaps a blend of the words "stow" and "cache".

31. Mount in Exodus : SINAI
According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments. The Biblical Mount Sinai is probably not the mountain in Egypt that today has the same name, although this is the subject of much debate. The Egyptian Mount Sinai has two developed routes that one can take to reach the summit. The longer gentler climb takes about 2 1/2 hours, but there is also the steeper climb up the 3,750 "steps of penitence".

33. "Put it there" indicator : CARET
The character known as a caret was originally a proofreading mark, used to indicate where a punctuation mark was to be inserted. “Caret” is Latin for “it lacks”.

36. Novelist Grey : ZANE
Zane Grey sure did hit on the right niche. Grey wrote romanticized western novels and stories that really lent themselves to the big screen in the days when westerns were very popular movies. Incredibly, 110 films were made based on his works.

37. Complete set of 12 shapes formed by this puzzle's black squares : PENTOMINOES
A pentomino is a shape comprised of five squares of the same size, with the squares touching at an edge or edges. There are 12 different shapes of pentomino in all.

48. Hatcher of a "desperate" plot? : TERI
Teri Hatcher's most famous role these days is as Susan Meyer in "Desperate Housewives". I've never seen more than a few minutes of this show, but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl as she appeared in "Tomorrow Never Dies".

50. 2011 Grammy-winning song by Jay-Z and Kanye West : OTIS
Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyonce.

Kanye West is a rap singer from Atlanta, Georgia. That’s all I know ...

52. To be in France? : ETRE
The French for “to be” is “être”.

54. Like this puzzle's 37-Across : NON-INTERLOCKING
In the grid, none of the twelve pentominoes actually touch or interlock.

58. A monomaniac has it : ONE-TRACK MIND
Monomania is a preoccupation with one particular emotion or idea.

Down
2. Breed of cat, goat or rabbit : ANGORA
Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. On the other hand, the Angora goat produces wool known as mohair.

3. Phylicia of "The Cosby Show" : RASHAD
Phylicia Rashād is an actress best known for playing Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”.

4. Block : STYMIE
The word “stymie” comes from golf, and is a situation in which one’s approach to the hole is blocked by an opponent’s ball.

6. Verb from Popeye : YAM
“I yam what I yam …”

Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called "Thimble Theatre". The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon "took over" the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip's title. Before Popeye turned up Olive Oyl was the main character.

9. Like arts taught at Hogwarts : OCCULT
Hogwarts is of course the boarding school in the "Harry Potter" books.

10. Studio that made nine Astaire/Rogers films : RKO
The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO acronym then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

As you may well know, Fred Astaire's real name was Frederick Austerlitz. Fred was from Omaha, Nebraska and before he made it big in movies, he was one half of a celebrated music hall act with his sister, Adele. The pair were particularly successful in the UK and Adele ended up marrying into nobility in England, taking the name Lady Charles Cavendish.

I am a huge Ginger Rogers fan. She is famous as the on-screen and dancing partner of Fred Astaire. However, my favorite films are those romantic comedies she made later in her career, especially “The Major and the Minor” and “Monkey Business”.

11. Soccer great Hamm : MIA
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played on the US national team that won the FIFA women's World Cup in 1991. Mia Hamm is quite the player and has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female.

12. What framed Roger Rabbit? : CEL
In the world of animation a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the "cel" its name.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was released in 1988, a clever film featuring cartoon characters that interact directly with human beings. The film is based on a novel written by Gary K. Wolf, called "Who Censored Roger Rabbit?" There is a prequel floating around that has never been produced, and it's called "Who Discovered Roger Rabbit".

13. Pie-in-the-sky : UTOPIAN
The word Utopia was invented by Sir Thomas More for his book "Utopia" published in 1516, describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More's use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek "ou" meaning "not" and "topos" meaning "place". By calling his perfect island "Not Place", More was apparently making the point that he didn't think that the ideal could actually exist.

16. Many a gym locale : YMCA
The YMCA is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of "a healthy spirit, mind and body". The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

22. J and No : DRS
Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as Dr. J, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

"Dr. No" may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you've read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you'll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. No and Fu Manchu.

25. Future D.A.'s hurdle : LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been around since 1948.

26. Repeated Laura Petrie line on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" : OH, ROB
“The Dick Van Dyke Show” is a sitcom that ran from 1961 to 1966 starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. This really classic show was created by the great Carl Reiner.

30. Neutrogena target : ACNE
Neutrogena is a brand of skin care products that was founded in 1930 as a cosmetics company called Natone.

32. Mariner's org. : NASA
The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957, a development that shocked the establishment in the US. Within months President Eisenhower made his move, creating the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA’s Mariner program was a series of probes launched into space to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury. There were ten Mariner probes launched in all (three were lost, though), and Mariner 11 and 12 evolved into the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft.

35. Pioneering jazz standard of 1917 : TIGER RAG
“Tiger Rag” was first recorded in 1917, a jazz standard that has been recorded many times by many artists over the years. The first recording was made by the Original Dixieland Jass Band. Note that the “Jass” spelling was used by the band at the time of the recording, changing to “Jazz” later in the same year.

37. Former Ford subcompact : PINTO
The Pinto is a small car that was made by the Ford company from 1971 to 1980. The Pinto was of course named for the type of horse.

38. "Hamlet" castle : ELSINORE
Elsinore is the castle which William Shakespeare used as the setting for his play “Hamlet”. Elsinore is based on the actual Kronberg castle in the Danish city of Helsingør (hence “Elsinore”).

39. Electric shaver brand : NORELCO
Norelco is a brand of shavers and personal care products made by Philips. The brand name was introduced as the company was barred from using “Philips” in the US in the early 1940s. The name Norelco was chosen as an acronym for “NOR-th American Philips EL-ectrical CO-mpany.

40. Commercial prefix with Clean : OXI-
OxiClean is a bleaching agent and cleaner that was famously marketed using infomercials that featured Billy Mays.

41. Donald or Daffy Duck : TOON
Donald Duck was created in 1934 by Walt Disney Productions, first appearing “The Wise Little Hen” in 1934. Donald’s full name is Donald Fauntleroy Duck.

Daffy Duck first appeared on the screen in "Porky's Duck Hunt" in 1937. In the original cartoon, Daffy was just meant to have a small role, but he was a big hit as he had so much sass. Even back then, Daffy was voiced by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc.

45. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," e.g. : ROUND
46. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," e.g. : SONG
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

51. Bone-muscle connector : SINEW
Sinew is another name for a tendon. Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.

52. Singer James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song "At Last". Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

53. Penniless, in Pennington : SKINT
“Skint” is British slang for “out of money”, and is a variant of “skinned”.

There are at least three locations in England called Pennington.

55. Hawaiian goose : NENE
The bird called a nene is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name "nene" is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Like areas where cattails thrive : MARSHY
7. Much ado about nothing : STORM IN A TEACUP
15. Descriptive of this puzzle's grid : LACKING SYMMETRY
17. Its symbol is AA on the New York Stock Exchange : ALCOA
18. Volt/ampere : OHM
19. Potting material : LOAM
20. Whom Uncle Sam wants : YOU
21. Go commando? : RAID
23. Jack Kerouac's last novel : PIC
24. Long-running NBC staple, for short : SNL
25. Stevedores, say : LOADERS
28. Good name for an investment adviser? : IRA
29. Secret supply : STASH
31. Mount in Exodus : SINAI
33. "Put it there" indicator : CARET
36. Novelist Grey : ZANE
37. Complete set of 12 shapes formed by this puzzle's black squares : PENTOMINOES
41. Game piece : TILE
42. Oaf : BIG OX
43. Runs : AIRS
47. Run-___ : ONS
48. Hatcher of a "desperate" plot? : TERI
49. Call to a calf : MOO
50. 2011 Grammy-winning song by Jay-Z and Kanye West : OTIS
52. To be in France? : ETRE
53. Twirled : SPUN
54. Like this puzzle's 37-Across : NON-INTERLOCKING
58. A monomaniac has it : ONE-TRACK MIND
59. Sports venue : ARENA
60. What a wide receiver or an Oscar broadcast might do : GO LONG
61. Milk source : EWE
62. Gambler's stake : ANTE

Down
1. One sweep of a hand: Abbr. : MIN
2. Breed of cat, goat or rabbit : ANGORA
3. Phylicia of "The Cosby Show" : RASHAD
4. Block : STYMIE
5. Haw's partner : HEM
6. Verb from Popeye : YAM
7. Dispatches : SLAYS
8. Bird claws : TALONS
9. Like arts taught at Hogwarts : OCCULT
10. Studio that made nine Astaire/Rogers films : RKO
11. Soccer great Hamm : MIA
12. What framed Roger Rabbit? : CEL
13. Pie-in-the-sky : UTOPIAN
14. Flat land : PRAIRIE
16. Many a gym locale : YMCA
22. J and No : DRS
25. Future D.A.'s hurdle : LSAT
26. Repeated Laura Petrie line on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" : OH, ROB
27. Economy-___ : SIZE
30. Neutrogena target : ACNE
32. Mariner's org. : NASA
34. Radio tower, for one : EMITTER
35. Pioneering jazz standard of 1917 : TIGER RAG
37. Former Ford subcompact : PINTO
38. "Hamlet" castle : ELSINORE
39. Electric shaver brand : NORELCO
40. Commercial prefix with Clean : OXI-
41. Donald or Daffy Duck : TOON
44. Encroach : IMPINGE
45. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," e.g. : ROUND
46. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," e.g. : SONG
51. Bone-muscle connector : SINEW
52. Singer James : ETTA
53. Penniless, in Pennington : SKINT
55. Hawaiian goose : NENE
56. It's between Kan. and Tex. : OKLA
57. "Let's get goin'!" : C’MON

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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Bizarre grid; I suppose it was obvious to anyone who had heard of pentominoes, but I stumbled on to that and caret by crosses. Thanks for the SNL background.

Bill Butler said...

Definitely an odd grid, one that broke a couple of "rules". Like you I stumbled onto PENTOMINOES assuming it was somehow related to DOMINOES, and I also finished up on caret with the help of crosses.

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, and for visiting the blog.

Anonymous said...

7A: Storm in a Teacup? I have never heard that phrase in Canada, where I live. Here we say "Tempest in a Teapot". That one got me off to a bad start!

Bill Butler said...

Hi there,

I'm afraid I glided past that one. I do know that the expression over here in North America is usually "Tempest in a Teapot", but I grew up with "Storm in a Teacup" which is more common on the other side of the Atlantic.

Sorry about that! I should have made a comment ...

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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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