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Greetings from Dromod, County Leitrim 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

0808-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Aug 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: Peter A. Collins
THEME: Hank Aaron to Barry Bonds … there’s a note with today’s puzzle that reads:
When this puzzle is done, the answers to the six starred clues will form a word ladder, starting with 4-Across, whose record of 33-/42-Across was broken by 68-Across.
4A. *Brother of Moses : AARON
9A. *Von Richthofen, e.g. : BARON
25A. *Element in the cleanser 20 Mule Team : BORON
53A. *Bklyn., Queens and others : BOROS
67A. *Sonny and Chaz : BONOS
68A. *Adheres : BONDS
COMPLETION TIME: 8m 33s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Letters in front of an e-mail address : BCC
A blind carbon copy (Bcc) is a copy of a document or message that is sent to someone without other recipients of the message knowing about that extra copy.

I wonder do the kids of today know that "cc" stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle?

4. *Brother of Moses : 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.

9. *Von Richthofen, e.g. : BARON
Manfred von Richthofen was a famous WWI fighter pilot flying for the Germans and was known as the Red Baron. Von Richthofen was credited with more kills than any other pilot fighting on either side of the conflict, recording over 80 combat victories. He didn't survive the war though, as he was shot down near Amiens in France in 1918.

14. Sender of much e-mail : AOL
Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the "America-centric" sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL's success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That's when users referred to AOL as "Always Off-Line".

15. Campfire treat : S’MORE
S'mores are a treat peculiar to North America, usually eaten around a campfire. A s'more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts". Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!

16. Like some rial spenders : OMANI
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The capital city of Muscat has a strategic location on the Gulf of Oman and has a history of invasion and unrest. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody attack. The Portuguese held Muscat for much of the next one hundred years until finally ousted by local Omani forces in 1648. A Yemeni tribe invaded the area in 1741 and set up a monarchy that has been in place in Oman ever since.

The Rial is name of the currency of Oman (as well as that of Yemen , Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia!).

17. Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
The Eli Young Band is a country band from Texas founded by Mike Eli and James Young when they were roommates in the University of North Texas.

18. It's just not done : TABOO
The word "taboo" was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book "A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean". He described "tabu" (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

19. Arc lamp gas : XENON
Metal halide lamps that are called xenons don't actually rely on the incorporated xenon gas to generate light. The xenon gas is added so that the lamp comes on "instantly". Without the xenon, the lamp would start up rather like a street lamp, flickering and sputtering for a while before staying alight.

20. Victoria Falls river : ZAMBEZI
The Zambezi is the largest African river flowing into the Indian Ocean, and the fourth-longest river on the continent. The most famous spot along the river is Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, right on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls were named by Scottish explorer David Livingstone in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain. Victoria Falls isn’t the highest waterfall in the world, nor is it the widest. However, the total “area” of the sheet of falling water is the largest in the world, so it is usually recognized as the largest waterfall on the planet.

22. Many a PX patron : NCO
A PX is a Post Exchange, a retail store operating on a US Army Base. The equivalent store on an Air Force Base is called a Base Exchange (BX). At a Navy installation it's a Navy Exchange (NEX), at a Marine Corps installation it's a Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) and at a Coast Guard Installation it's a CGX.

24. Hydrocarbon suffix : -ANE
The “smaller” alkanes are gases and are quite combustible. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component. Propane (C3H8) is another component of natural gas and is heavy enough to be readily turned into a liquid by compression, for ease of transportation and storage. Butane (C4H10) is also easily liquefied under pressure and can be used as the fuel in cigarette lighters or as the propellant in aerosol sprays. The heavier alkanes are liquids and solids at room temperature.

25. *Element in the cleanser 20 Mule Team : BORON
20 Mule Team Borax is a brand of cleaner made the Dial Corporation. The brand name comes from the 20-mule teams that were used to transport the mineral form of borax out of the desert in Death Valley, California.

28. Second man to walk on the moon : ALDRIN
Buzz Aldrin is a true American hero, I'd say. He flew 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MiGs, earned his Sc. D. degree from MIT, and was one of the two men who landed on the moon for the first time. Now that man, he has lived a life worth living.

30. ___ Bandito : FRITO
The Frito Bandito was a mascot for Fritos corn chips from 1967 to 1971. On television, Frito’s voice was provided by the great Mel Blanc, the same man who voiced Speedy Gonzales, Bugs Bunny and so many other cartoon characters.

The Frito Corporation was started in 1932 by Elmer Doolin, basically in his mother’s kitchen. Doolin paid $100 for a corn chip recipe from a local restaurant and started producing Fritos at the rate of 10 pounds per day.

31. Subatomic particles : MUONS
A muon is a subatomic particle similar to an electron but very unstable. A muon has a mean lifetime of only 2.2 microseconds.

32. Cassandra, e.g. : SEER
I think Cassandra is such a great name, translating from Greek as "she who entangles men". The Cassandra of Greek mythology was so beautiful that Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy. There is another story though, that she gained her gift as a seer by spending the night in Apollo's temple where snakes licked her ears clean so that she could hear the future. Ugh ...

37. Org. that bargains with G.M. : UAW
The United Auto Workers (UAW) was founded to represent workers in auto plants in the Detroit area in 1935. Nowadays its membership extends into the Aerospace, Agriculture and other industries.

38. Manx litter : KITTENS
I've seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They're found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name "Manx") located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have no tails, they really don't ...

41. Kilmer of film : VAL
Val Kilmer's first big leading role in a movie was playing Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic "The Doors". A few years later he was chosen for the lead in another big production, "Batman Forever". Things haven't really gone as well for Kilmer since then, I'd say. Off the screen, he flirted with the idea of running for Governor of New Mexico in 2010. A Hollywood actor as a Governor? Would never happen ...

44. Director Joel or Ethan : COEN
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. The Coen brothers do love the movie-making business and they even married industry "insiders". Ethan's wife is film editor Tricia Cooke, and Joel is married to one of my favorite actresses, the lovely Frances McDormand.

45. Founding member of NATO : THE US
NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (or OTAN in French, "l'Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord"). NATO was founded not long after WWII in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The first NATO Secretary General was Lord Ismay, Winston Churchill's chief military assistant during WWII. Famously, Lord Ismay said the goal of NATO was "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down."

47. Several Russian czars : IVANS
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. "Czar" is derived from the word "Caesar", which was synonymous with "emperor" at that time.

49. "Will it play in ___?" : PEORIA
The phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” is used to mean, “Will it appeal to the mainstream?” It is believed that the expression originated as a corruption of, “We shall play in Peoria”, a line used by characters in the 1890 novel "Five Hundred Dollars" by Horatio Alger, Jr.

50. Potpourri fragrance : JASMINE
The French term "pot pourri" literally translates to "rotten pot", but in France it used to mean "stew". Over time the term evolved in English usage to mean a "medley", and eventually a mixture of dried flowers and spices.

53. *Bklyn., Queens and others : BOROS
The New York City borough of Brooklyn used to be its own city, but was annexed by its larger neighbor in 1989. Brooklyn takes its name from the original village that was settled by the Dutch, which they called Breuckelen. The village in turn took its name from the town of Breukelen back in the Netherlands.

Queens is the largest borough in New York City. Queens is an amazingly diverse location in terms of ethnicity. There is a population of over 2 million people, with almost 50% of that population being foreign-born. Apparently there are over 130 native languages spoken in the area. Queens was named for Catherine of Braganza (from Portugal), the Queen consort of King Charles II of England.

54. Toothpaste box letters : ADA
The American Dental Association (ADA) is the largest and oldest national dental association in the world. Today the ADA 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.

55. "The Mayor of Simpleton" band, 1989 : XTC
XTC were a band from Swindon in the UK whose most famous hits were “Making Plans for Nigel” from 1979, and “Senses Working Overtime” from 1982.

56. Coat electrolytically : ANODIZE
Anodizing is an electrolytic technique used to thicken the naturally existing oxide layer on a piece of metal. The oxide layer is grown by passing a current through the metal in an electrolytic solution. The metal acts as an anode in the circuit, hence the term "anodizing".

63. 1970s-'80s Pakistani leader : ZIA
Muhammas Zia-ul-Haq was the President of Pakistan from 1978 until he died in 1988. Zia died in a plane crash along with US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel and several other VIPs. The official investigation into the cause of the crash concluded that the plane was probably brought down by sabotage.

67. *Sonny and Chaz : BONOS
Chaz Bono is the only child of the singers Sonny and Cher. Chaz was named Chastity Sun Bono at birth, and told her parents at the age of 18 that she was a lesbian. More recently Bono underwent gender reassignment surgery, and he has legally changed his name to Chaz.

69. 1/14 of a fortnight : DAY
I had to learn to drop my usage of the term “fortnight” when I came to the US. A fortnight is a period of 14 days or 2 weeks, a word used in Britain and countries in which Britain has had influence over the centuries.

Down
1. Joan with a guitar : BAEZ
Joan Baez is an American folk singer and a prominent activist in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights and environmental protection. Baez has dated some high-profile figures in her life including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs (of Apple) and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.

2. Pepsi, e.g. : COLA
The Pepsi-Cola formulation was developed by one Caleb Bradham who made the drink at home and sold it as “Brad’s Drink”. Bradham's aim was to provide a drink that was pleasant to taste, that would aid digestion and boost energy. He included in the formula pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts, eventually using these ingredients as inspiration for the brand name we use today, Pepsi-Cola.

5. Fighting female of myth : AMAZON
In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of female warriors.

6. With 46-Down, cohort of Little John : ROBIN
46. See 6-Down : HOOD
Robin Hood is a figure from English folklore, celebrated in story and song. Some suggest that Robin Hood the outlaw was actually a real nobleman, the Earl of Huntington. Robin Hood's famous companion was Maid Marian. Interestingly, the legend of Maid Marian (full name Lady Marian of Leaford) had been around for centuries before she became associated with Robin Hood in the 1700s.

In the legend of Robin Hood, Little John is Robin’s second-in-command of his band of Merry Men. Little John was a giant of man standing at over seven feet tall, with an original name of John Little.

7. Conquistador's goal : ORO
Conquistador is the Spanish for "conqueror".

8. Baylor basketball uniform color : NEON GREEN
Remember Ken Starr of Whitewater fame? Starr is now President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

10. ___ Zion Church : AME
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church was formed in New York City. The church was established by African American Christians who faced discrimination when attending other churches. Initially the African American congregations were led by Caucasian Methodist ministers, with the first African American being ordained in 1820.

13. San Fran gridder : NINER
The very successful National Football League team in San Francisco takes its name from the gold prospectors who flooded into Northern California around 1949 during the California Gold Rush. These 1949-prospectors became known as the "49ers".

23. Terrier type : CAIRN
The Cairn Terrier breed of dog originated in the Highlands of Scotland. The breed is named for the original task given to the dog,rooting out rats and other rodents from man-made piles of stones called cairns.

27. Japanese drama : NOH
Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, both male and female parts.

28. Russia/China border river : AMUR
The Amur is a river that serves as the border between Russia and China in Manchuria. On one side of the border is Outer Manchuria (in Russia) and on the other is Inner Manchuria (in China).

29. Pig-roasting occasion : LUAU
Nowadays the word "luau" denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of "poi", the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.

35. Hawaiian isle : MAUI
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. Maui is sometimes called the “Valley Isle” as it is composed of two volcanoes to the northwest and southeast of the island, each with numerous beautiful valleys carved into them.

36. Lanchester of film : ELSA
Elsa Lanchester was an English actress who made her life and career in Hollywood. Lanchester's husband was the actor Charles Laughton.

40. Athletes' no-nos : STEROIDS
Steroids are found commonly in nature, with familiar examples being cholesterol and testosterone. The controversial class of drugs called anabolic steroids (known informally as “roids” or simply "steroids") are artificially produced chemicals designed to mimic the effect of the male sex hormone, testosterone. They are termed "anabolic" as they build up cellular tissue (particularly muscle) in a process called anabolism.

43. ___ card : SIM
Most cell phones have SIM cards these days. SIM cards hold the personal information of the subscriber, with the acronym being short for Subscriber Identity Module.

50. Ebenezer's partner in "A Christmas Carol" : JACOB
Jacob Marley is a character appearing in the wonderful novella by Charles Dickens called “A Christmas Carol”. Marley is the deceased business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge who appears to him as a ghost.

51. Hersey bell town : ADANO
"A Bell for Adano" is a novel written by John Hersey. Hersey's story is about an Italian-American US Army officer, Major Joppolo, who found a replacement for a town's bell stolen by fascists. "A Bell for Adano" was made into a film in 1945, the same year the novel won a Pulitzer.

52. Polio vaccine pioneer : SABIN
Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine. Sabin's vaccine was a "live", controlled vaccine. The equally famous Salk vaccine was a "killed" vaccine.

53. When doubled, a spa city : BADEN
Baden-Baden is located in the southwest of German in the Black Forest, very close to the border with France. The natural springs of Baden-Baden were greatly prized by the Ancient Romans who used the town as spa. Baden-Baden became very popular with the aristocracy in the 1800s when visitors included Queen Victoria, as well as the composers Berlioz and Brahms, and the writer Dostoevsky. The town's reputation earned it the nickname of the "European Summer Capital". The town was originally called just Baden in the Middle Ages, and the name was officially changed to Baden-Baden in 1931, short for "the town of Baden in the state of Baden".

57. Coors alcopop brand : ZIMA
Zima is a clear alcoholic beverage with about the same strength as beer. Zima is sold in beer bottles but is marketed as "not" a beer. It has a lemon-lime flavor and is referred to as an "alcopop", a portmanteau word from "alcohol" and "pop".

60. Head of Parliament? : LOO
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.

In old sailing ships the toilet area for the regular sailors was located in the forward part (the head) of the ship, hence the term "head" that has been used since then for any toilet on board a boat.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Letters in front of an e-mail address : BCC
4. *Brother of Moses : AARON
9. *Von Richthofen, e.g. : BARON
14. Sender of much e-mail : AOL
15. Campfire treat : S’MORE
16. Like some rial spenders : OMANI
17. Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
18. It's just not done : TABOO
19. Arc lamp gas : XENON
20. Victoria Falls river : ZAMBEZI
22. Many a PX patron : NCO
24. Hydrocarbon suffix : -ANE
25. *Element in the cleanser 20 Mule Team : BORON
26. More haggard : GAUNTER
28. Second man to walk on the moon : ALDRIN
30. ___ Bandito : FRITO
31. Subatomic particles : MUONS
32. Cassandra, e.g. : SEER
33. Place for many an office : HOME
37. Org. that bargains with G.M. : UAW
38. Manx litter : KITTENS
41. Kilmer of film : VAL
42. Areas in dog pounds : RUNS
44. Director Joel or Ethan : COEN
45. Founding member of NATO : THE US
47. Several Russian czars : IVANS
49. "Will it play in ___?" : PEORIA
50. Potpourri fragrance : JASMINE
53. *Bklyn., Queens and others : BOROS
54. Toothpaste box letters : ADA
55. "The Mayor of Simpleton" band, 1989 : XTC
56. Coat electrolytically : ANODIZE
59. Dish alternative : CABLE
61. Spokes : RADII
63. 1970s-'80s Pakistani leader : ZIA
64. Bagel choice : ONION
65. "Find ___ and fill it" : A NEED
66. Ambulance org. : EMS
67. *Sonny and Chaz : BONOS
68. *Adheres : BONDS
69. 1/14 of a fortnight : DAY

Down
1. Joan with a guitar : BAEZ
2. Pepsi, e.g. : COLA
3. Dismount : CLIMB DOWN
4. Star : ASTERISK
5. Fighting female of myth : AMAZON
6. With 46-Down, cohort of Little John : ROBIN
7. Conquistador's goal : ORO
8. Baylor basketball uniform color : NEON GREEN
9. Block from rebounding, in basketball : BOX OUT
10. ___ Zion Church : AME
11. Charged : RAN AT
12. ___ occasion : ON ONE
13. San Fran gridder : NINER
21. Partner of bred : BORN
23. Terrier type : CAIRN
27. Japanese drama : NOH
28. Russia/China border river : AMUR
29. Pig-roasting occasion : LUAU
30. Honors with style : FETES
32. Creature prized for its claws : STONE CRAB
34. Too large : OVERSIZED
35. Hawaiian isle : MAUI
36. Lanchester of film : ELSA
39. Quitter's cry : I CAN’T
40. Athletes' no-nos : STEROIDS
43. ___ card : SIM
46. See 6-Down : HOOD
48. Alluring ladies : VIXENS
49. Paid (up) : PONIED
50. Ebenezer's partner in "A Christmas Carol" : JACOB
51. Hersey bell town : ADANO
52. Polio vaccine pioneer : SABIN
53. When doubled, a spa city : BADEN
57. Coors alcopop brand : ZIMA
58. "Don't get so excited!" : EASY
60. Head of Parliament? : LOO
62. "I'll take that as ___" : A NO


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6 comments :

Anonymous said...

The word ladder was a pretty weak little gimmick, which added absolutely nothing to the puzzle.

Bill Butler said...

I think that word ladders can get a bit overused in the NYTimes puzzle, but having said that, the transition from one baseball player to another was clever and fresh.

My humble opinion, as they say ...!

Anonymous said...

22. Many a PX patron : NCO
A PX is a Post Exchange, a retail store operating on a US Army Base. The equivalent store on an Air Force Base is called a Base Exchange (BX). At a Navy installation it's a Navy Exchange (NEX), at a Marine Corps installation it's a Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) and at a Coast Guard Installation it's a CGX.


Thanks for explaining all those abbrevs. But in regard to the actual answer to the clue, (and maybe I'm missing it, in which case I appologize for not being good at observing),... what exactly does NCO stand for?

Thanks

Bill Butler said...

Yes, I probably should have mentioned that!

An NCO is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant.

I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I really enjoy your site because of the extra tidbits of info you post about the answers and subjects. Helps people understand the story behind many of the answers as well as becoming a little more educated about the world around them in general. Thanks again!

Bill Butler said...

You are most welcome.

I am glad the posts are proving to be of some service!

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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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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