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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

0802-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 2 Aug 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: Xan Vongsathorn
THEME: Duck, Duck Goose … this is a rebus puzzle with some squares accepting the letters DUCK and one square at the bottom of the grid taking the letters GOOSE. I think the idea is to remind us of the children’s game “Duck, Duck Goose”. In the grid above, the black bird symbol represents DUCK, and the white bird symbol represents GOOSE:
1A. Vulnerable one : SITTING DUCK
22A. Makes like Chuck Berry : DUCK-WALKS
26A. Dish often served with hoisin sauce : PEKING DUCK
50A. Platypus-like, in a way : DUCKBILLED
53A. Disney character with long eyelashes : DAISY DUCK
68A. Relatives of currants : GOOSEBERRIES
8D. Something short found in an alley : DUCKPIN
14D. Kind of session : LAME DUCK
22D. A cinch : DUCK SOUP
36D. Toast, with "a" : DEAD DUCK
50D. Centerpiece of many a park : DUCK POND
56D. Animal in a Kipling story : MONGOOSE
COMPLETION TIME: 15m 26s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. Start of a small sundae : ONE SCOOP
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.

16. Armpit : AXILLA
Axilla is the anatomical term for armpit, not to be confused with the maxilla, the upper jawbone.

17. Racing legend who voices a character in "Cars" : ANDRETTI
Mario Andretti is a retired Italian American racing driver, named US Driver of the Year in 1967, 1978 and 1984. Both of Mario's sons, Michael and Jeff are successful auto racers, as well as Mario's nephew, John Andretti.

“Cars” is a 2006 animated feature from Pixar. The great cast of voice actors includes Paul Newman in his last movie role before he passed away in 2008.

18. Take turns skiing? : SLALOM
Slalom is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word "slalam", meaning "skiing race".

19. Bean and Combs : SEANS
Sean Bean is an English actor, perhaps best known in North America for playing Boromir in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. All you James Bond fans will remember him as the bad guy in “GoldenEye”, the character called Alec Trevelyan.

When Sean John Combs started his rapping career, he used the stage name Puff Daddy. Then he went with P. Diddy, and is now recording simply as Diddy. Having said that, he has to stick with P. Diddy in some countries as he lost a legal battle over use of the simpler "Diddy" name as there is another artist called Richard "Diddy" Dearlove. There's now talk of Mr. Combs going with the name "Ciroc Obama".

21. Memorable 2011 hurricane : IRENE
Hurricane Irene caused extensive flooding as it travelled through the Caribbean, up the East Coast of the United States and into the Atlantic seaboard of Canada. The hurricane was unusual in that it came so far up north. Fifty-five deaths were attributed to Irene.

22. Makes like Chuck Berry : DUCK-WALKS
The on-stage manoeuvre known as the “duck-walk” was made popular by guitarist Chuck Berry, although it had been around at least since the thirties. When duck-walking, the guitarist sort of hops forward on one leg while crouched and playing away.

Chuck Berry may be a pioneer of rock and roll, but he had an inauspicious start to his life. He was raised in a middle class family in St. Louis, and started playing and performing music in high school. However, while still at school he was arrested and convicted of armed robbery. He served three years for the crime, and was released from prison in 1947 on his 21st birthday. He certainly got his act together after that …

26. Dish often served with hoisin sauce : PEKING DUCK
Peking Duck is a traditional dish from Beijing. The duck that is served is mainly the skin, skin that has been made very crispy by roasting. In order to get the skin easily away from the meat, after the duck is slaughtered, air is pumped under the skin to separate it from the underlying fat. Sounds very appetizing …

Hoisin sauce is named for the Chinese word for “seafood”. However, hoisin sauce contains no seafood, and nor is it served with seafood!

28. First name on the Supreme Court : SONIA
In a 2001 speech addressing the need for stronger representation of the Hispanic community in the judiciary, future Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor made the remark:
I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
That line raised a few eyebrows, and was a topic of some discussion during her confirmation hearing. Discuss ...

33. Like a plane, for short : TWO-D
The dimension of an object is defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify each point in the object. Therefore a line is one-dimensional, as you only need an x-coordinate to specify a particular point on the line. A surface is two-dimensional, as you need both an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate to locate a point on the surface. The inside of a solid object is then three-dimensional, needing an x-, y- and z-coordinate to specify a point, say within a cube.

37. Something you might pick in Hawaii : UKE
The ukulele originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

42. ___ Alto : PALO
The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for "the tall stick") that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall and over a thousand years old.

45. Doodlebug, e.g. : LARVA
“Doodlebug” is a name given to the larva of an antlion, a type of flying insect. Antlions tend to live in sandy areas, and their larvae move through the sand leaving winding spirals that look like doodles, inattentive drawings. Hence the name “doodlebug”.

50. Platypus-like, in a way : DUCKBILLED
The platypus is one of only five mammalian species that we know of that lay eggs rather than give birth to live young. The platypus is a native of Eastern Australia, and it is a weird creature to say the least. It's appearance is bizarre enough, with it's duck-like bill, but it is also poisonous. It has a spur on it hind foot that can inject venom and cause severe pain in humans.

53. Disney character with long eyelashes : DAISY DUCK
Daisy Duck was introduced to us in 1940 by Walt Disney, a female counterpart for Donald Duck.

54. "Catch Me If You Can" airline : PAN AM
Pan Am was the more familiar name for Pan American World Airways, founded in 1927 and flying until it went bankrupt in 1991. Pan Am was the unofficial flag carrier of the United States during most of its lifetime, largely because the airline focused on international routes. ABC introduced a television series called “Pan Am” in 2011 which brought back memories of the glamorous aspects of air travel in the sixties. Sadly, the show was cancelled in 2012.

“Catch Me If You Can” is a fascinating biographical film about the life of Frank Abagnale, Jr. Abagnale was the con man who made millions of dollars by posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor and a prosecutor. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and has a great cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Recommended viewing …

68. Relatives of currants : GOOSEBERRIES
You don’t see gooseberries very much over here in the US, but they grew wild in the British Isles when I was growing up. Gooseberry pies and jams were very popular.

Down
3. Annual conference with the slogan "Ideas worth spreading" : TED
The acronym TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.

4. Original Dungeons & Dragons co. : TSR
Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game, first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). It was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my nerdy son ...

7. #1 Ray Charles R&B hit "I've ___ Woman" : GOT A
Ray Charles came up with his stage name by dropping the family name from his real moniker: Ray Charles Robinson. Ray’s life was a wild ride, well represented in the excellent biopic called “Ray” released in 2004 and starring Jamie Foxx in the title role. Ray was married twice and fathered 12 children with nine different women. As I said, a wild ride …

8. Something short found in an alley : DUCKPIN
Duckpin bowling is similar to 10-pin bowling, however the pins are shorter and squatter and the ball is about the size of a softball and doesn’t have finger holes.

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

9. "Illmatic" and "Stillmatic" rapper : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album "Illmatic" in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say ...

11. Anne Frank, e.g. : DIARIST
Anne Frank has to be one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust. This is largely because the story of this young girl lives on in her widely published diary, and in adaptations of the diary for stage and screen. Anne Frank was a German until she lost her nationality in 1941 when the Nazis came to power. By this time she was living with her family in Amsterdam, as the Franks chose to flee Germany in 1933. When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, the family went into hiding in the attic of Otto Frank's office building (Otto was Anne's father). There the family hid for two whole years, until they were betrayed. The family was split up, and Anne and her sister died from typhus in a concentration camp in 1945.

12. Actress Page of "Juno" : ELLEN
Canadian actress Ellen Page came to prominence playing the female lead in the 2007 hit film “Juno”. Page also played the female lead in one of my favorite films of the past few years, 2010’s “Inception”.

"Juno" is a great comedy-drama released in 2007 that tells the story of a spunky teenager who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The relatively low-budget movie earned back its initial budget in the first day of its full release to the public. Low-budget blockbuster; my kind of movie ...

14. Kind of session : LAME DUCK
The original usage of the term “lame duck” was on the London Stock Exchange where it referred to a broker who could not honor his debts. The idea was that a lame duck could not keep up with the rest of the flock and so was a target for predators.

23. Candy man played by Depp : WONKA
Willy Wonka is the lead character in the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl, called "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory". Willy Wonka has been portrayed on the big screen twice. Gene Wilder was a fabulous Wonka in the 1971 version titled "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory", and Johnny Depp played him in the Tim Burton movie from 2005, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". I'm not too fond of Tim Burton movies, so I haven't seen that one ...

Johnny Depp had his big break as an actor on television, in the eighties television show “21 Jump Street”. Depp’s first film success came when he played the title role in 1990’s “Edward Scissorhands”. He has twice been named Sexiest Man Alive by “People” magazine.

24. Photographer Adams : ANSEL
As an amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. He was famous for the clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final image with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

27. "... ___ saw Elba" : ERE I
The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:
- Able was I ere I saw Elba
- A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
- Madam, I'm Adam
One of my favorite words is "Aibohphobia", although it doesn't appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. It is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix "-phobia".

35. "Oh brother!" : OY VEY!
“Oh vey” is a Yiddish expression of dismay which literally translates as “oh, pain”.

36. Toast, with "a" : DEAD DUCK
Something that is “toast” is a goner, has no chance, is a dead duck.

40. Non-deluxe sofa covering : PLEATHER
“Pleather” is a slang tern for leather made out of plastic. "Pleather" is of course a portmanteau of “plastic” and “leather”.

43. Monastery residents who have not taken monastic vows : OBLATES
An oblate is a individual who is a member of the extended community of a monastic order, someone who has made a formal and private promise to follow the rules of the order. An oblate therefore is dedicated to God’s service but is not a member of the Order.

46. Young Skywalker, informally : ANI
Anakin Skywalker is the principal character in all six of the "Star Wars" movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:
- Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
- Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
- Episode IV: Anakin, as Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
- Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
- Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor's evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after ...

48. Glue with a bovine logo : ELMER’S
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World's Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. Elsie was also given a husband, Elmer the Bull, who eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer's Glue.

53. Raison ___ : D’ETRE
"Raison d'ĂȘtre" is a French phrase meaning "reason for existence".

56. Animal in a Kipling story : MONGOOSE
The mongoose has no relationship with the "goose" as such, as "mongoose" is derived from "mangus", an Indian name for the beast. The mongoose does indeed eat snakes as part of its diet, along with other small creatures. However, it usually avoids the dangerous cobra, although humans have used the mongoose to fight cobras for sport and entertainment. The mongoose fares well against poisonous snakes because the it is agile and wily, and has a thick skin, literally.

In Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book", one of the short stories is titled "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi". The story is about a mongoose, the brave pet of an English family who protects them from a succession of snakes.

57. One who's always looking down : SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasised their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

63. Soccer stadium cry : OLE
"Ole Ole Ole!" is chanted at soccer games by many Spanish-speaking (or -shouting!) fans. I am very proud to claim that the fans of the Irish national team have adopted the chant as their own, and it can be heard practically non-stop when Ireland is playing (with some inventive melody behind it!).

64. Cobb and Treadway : TYS
Ty Cobb was one of the richest baseball players of all times. When he retired he was a major stockholder of the Coca-Cola Corporation, and by the time he passed away in 1961 he had an even bigger investment in General Electric. He left an estate worth about $86m (in 2008 dollars).

Ty Treadway is a game show and talk show host from Trenton, New Jersey. Apparently he hosts the game show “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords” and co-hosted “Soap Talk”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Vulnerable one : SITTING DUCK
9. "That's your offer?!" : NO DEAL
15. Start of a small sundae : ONE SCOOP
16. Armpit : AXILLA
17. Racing legend who voices a character in "Cars" : ANDRETTI
18. Take turns skiing? : SLALOM
19. Bean and Combs : SEANS
21. Memorable 2011 hurricane : IRENE
22. Makes like Chuck Berry : DUCK-WALKS
26. Dish often served with hoisin sauce : PEKING DUCK
28. First name on the Supreme Court : SONIA
29. Exchange units : SHARES
31. Kickoff : ONSET
32. Get to work? : HIRE
33. Like a plane, for short : TWO-D
37. Something you might pick in Hawaii : UKE
38. Self-gratifying episode : EGO TRIP
41. Response that's often doubled : AYE
42. ___ Alto : PALO
44. Camera setting : AUTO
45. Doodlebug, e.g. : LARVA
47. More than shout : BELLOW
49. Open-___ : ENDED
50. Platypus-like, in a way : DUCKBILLED
53. Disney character with long eyelashes : DAISY DUCK
54. "Catch Me If You Can" airline : PAN AM
55. "That'll do me" : I’M SET
58. Presented an address : ORATED
60. Precisely : ON THE DOT
65. Revolution brings it : NEW ERA
66. Sarcastic reply to the obvious : NO, REALLY
67. Somewhat formal : DRESSY
68. Relatives of currants : GOOSEBERRIES

Down
1. "___ wise guy, eh?" : SO, A
2. What a keeper keeps : INN
3. Annual conference with the slogan "Ideas worth spreading" : TED
4. Original Dungeons & Dragons co. : TSR
5. Go in circles, in a way? : ICE-SKATE
6. Classroom writing : NOTES
7. #1 Ray Charles R&B hit "I've ___ Woman" : GOT A
8. Something short found in an alley : DUCKPIN
9. "Illmatic" and "Stillmatic" rapper : NAS
10. Strong, say : OXLIKE
11. Anne Frank, e.g. : DIARIST
12. Actress Page of "Juno" : ELLEN
13. Together (with) : ALONG
14. Kind of session : LAME DUCK
20. Word with house or song : SPARROW
22. A cinch : DUCK SOUP
23. Candy man played by Depp : WONKA
24. Photographer Adams : ANSEL
25. Piece of fiction : LIE
27. "... ___ saw Elba" : ERE I
29. Question of self-doubt : SHOULD I?
30. Give ground-ball practice, maybe : HIT TO
34. Hospital divisions : WARDS
35. "Oh brother!" : OY VEY!
36. Toast, with "a" : DEAD DUCK
39. Air force? : GALE
40. Non-deluxe sofa covering : PLEATHER
43. Monastery residents who have not taken monastic vows : OBLATES
46. Young Skywalker, informally : ANI
48. Glue with a bovine logo : ELMER’S
50. Centerpiece of many a park : DUCK POND
51. Not so well stocked : BARER
52. More than impressed : IN AWE
53. Raison ___ : D’ETRE
56. Animal in a Kipling story : MONGOOSE
57. One who's always looking down : SNOB
59. One revolution : DAY
61. Organ that's sensitive to vibrations : EAR
62. Half of MCII : DLI
63. Soccer stadium cry : OLE
64. Cobb and Treadway : TYS


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3 comments :

Anonymous said...

36. Toast, with "a" : DEAD DUCK
Something that is “toast” is a goner, has no chance, is a dead duck.

Now that is one WEAK clue. Surely they could have come up with something a bit more direct, and not so doubly misleading.

Anonymous said...

I think they should outlaw Rebus puzzles unless there is some clue to let a person know. I think I'm going to quit attempting Thursday-on puzzles. I like your site. Thanks.

Bill Butler said...

Rebus puzzles are the most controversial crosswords in the NYTimes (based on comments here and emails I receive). I would note that they do tend to be limited to Thursdays.

Friday and Saturday puzzles are my personal favorites as they are almost invariably just straight crosswords, no rebuses, not even a theme.

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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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