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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, California

My wife and I are on vacation until Friday, July 25th; a road trip through the backroads of the states east of California. I anticipate late-night solving and posting, with acknowledgement of comments and emails suffering. Please, don't be offended at my silence as I prioritize the writing of posts! Today's hike was in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest where we passed a tree over 4,750 years old. Getting close to home ...

Bill

0817-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Aug 12, Friday





QuickLinks:
Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter Wentz
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 36m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Modern mail? : FLAK JACKET
"Flak" was originally an acronym from the German term for an aircraft defense cannon (FLiegerAbwehrKanone). Flak then became used in English as a general term for antiaircraft fire, and ultimately a term for verbal criticism, as in "take flak".

11. British ___ : RAJ
"A Passage to India" is a wonderful novel by E. M. Forster set in the days of the British Raj. There are two excellent adaptations for the screen that I would recommend. There's a BBC television version from 1965 starring a wonderful cast including Virginia McKenna and Cyril Cusack. There is also an Oscar-winning movie version from 1984 with Alec Guinness and Peggy Ashcroft. Forster had first-hand knowledge of life during the Raj, having worked in India during the twenties.

15. Main part, often : HERO
One of the main parts for an actor to play would be the hero.

16. The Bay of Fundy has the largest one in the world : TIDAL RANGE
The Bay of Fundy lies at the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine, surrounded mainly by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Bay of Fundy is famous for having the highest tidal range in the world, a phenomenon that may one day lead to the construction of a tidal electric power generating facility there.

18. Estadio call : OLE
In Spain, one might hear a shout of “ole” in a stadium (“estadio”).

22. Like A through D : PASSING
A through D are passing grades.

25. Examine carefully : VET
The verb “to vet” comes from the term “veterinarian”. The idea is that to “vet” something is to subject it to careful examination, like a veterinarian checking out an animal.

26. QB who threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes in a single game (1962) : Y A TITTLE
Y. A. Tittle is a former professional football player, a quarterback. There’s a famous photograph of Tittle taking during a game in 1964 in which he is kneeling without his helmet, bloodied after a tackle. The image is regarded as iconic in the world of sports photography as it is one of the first pictures to focus on a player’s reaction as opposed to focusing on just action.

32. Somalia's locale in Africa : HORN
The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the easternmost tip of the continent, containing the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia. The Horn of Africa is also known as the Somali Peninsula.

33. Compromise of 1877 figure : HAYES
Rutherford Hayes was the 19th president of the US. Long before we had to endure the dispute over the 2000 Presidential election, Rutherford Hayes found himself president after a disputed election in 1876. President Hayes came went into office having lost the popular vote to his opponent Samuel Tilden, but was voted into office by one electoral college vote. Hayes was awarded the election in the end because of an informal deal struck between Democrats and Republicans called the Compromise of 1877. Democrats allowed Rutherford to occupy the White House in exchange for removal of federal troops occupying some of the southern states.

36. Southern writer William Gilmore ___ : SIMMS
William Gilmore Simms was a very successful writer from the American South. Simms's novels aren’t read much these days, but he was cited by Edgar Allen Poe as the best novelist the US had ever produced. Simms became less popular over time partly because he was a vocal supporter of slavery, and publicly panned Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

40. Nickname in classic jazz : DIZ
Dizzy Gillespie was a musician from Cheraw, South Carolina, best known as a jazz trumpeter. Gillespie was also known for playing a “bent” trumpet, one with the bell projecting upwards at a 45-degree angle. The unusual configuration of the instrument came about accidentally, when a pair of dancers fell on it during a birthday party. The damage to the instrument caused a change in the tone which Gillespie liked, so he left it as is.

41. "The Bourne Identity" plot device : AMNESIA
"The Bourne Identity" is a great spy novel written by Robert Ludlum, first published in 1980. "The Bourne Identity" has been ranked as the second best spy novel of all time, just behind the even more enjoyable "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" by John le CarrĂ©. Ludlum wrote two sequels, and all three parts of "The Bourne Trilogy" have been made into very successful movies starring Matt Damon in the title role. Ludlum died before he could write more than three novels featuring Jason Bourne, but five more titles in the series have been published, written by Eric Van Lustbader. I must check them out, especially after having seen the movie version of the fourth novel, “The Bourne Legacy”.

47. Cartoonist Kelly : WALT
The cartoonist Walt Kelly was best known for his comic strip “Pogo”.

“Pogo” is a comic strip that was launched in 1948, the creation of cartoonist Walt Kelly. The story centers on animals that live in the Okefenokee Swamp that lies on the Georgia-Florida border, with the title character “Pogo Possum” being an anthropomorphic opossum.

50. View from the Sydney Harbour Bridge : OPERA HOUSE
The stunning building that is the Sydney Opera House was designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon. The Sydney Opera House was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, making Utzon only the second person ever to be so honored during his own lifetime.

53. Hershey brand : ROLO
Rolo was a hugely popular chocolate candy in Ireland when I was growing up. Rolo was introduced in the thirties in the UK, and is produced under license in the US by Hershey. I was a little disappointed when I had my first taste of the American version as the center is very hard and chewy, whereas the recipe used on the other side of the Atlantic calls for a soft gooey center.

55. Animal in a comic strip title : KAT
"Krazy Kat" was a successful comic strip that ran from 1913-1944, drawn by George Herriman.

Down
1. It controls the amount of light admitted : F-STOP
Varying the f-stop in a lens varies how big the lens opening (the aperture) is when a photograph is taken. Smaller apertures (higher f-stop values) admit less light, but result in sharper photographs.

2. "The Pearl Fishers" soprano : LEILA
"The Pearl Fishers" (“Les PĂȘcheurs de Perles”) is the second most famous opera produced by Georges Bizet, the French composer from the Romantic era.

Georg Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet's most famous work has to be his opera "Carmen". "Carmen" received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly Bizet died at only 36 years of age, before he could see "Carmen's" tremendous success.

3. Altiplano locale : ANDES
The Altiplano is a part of the Andes mountain range in South America, an area of high plateau (“Altiplano” is Spanish for “high plain”). The highest navigable lake in the world is located in the Altiplano, namely Lake Titicaca.

4. Soul producer : KIA
The Soul is a compact car produced by Kia in South Korea, although the design for car came out of Kia’s design center in California.

6. Downright : ARRANT
"Arrant" means "out-and-out, complete", and is a variant of "errant".

7. Cho ___, romantic interest for Harry Potter : CHANG
Cho Chang is a fellow student of Harry Potter, one year ahead of him at Hogwarts. Chang is the girl who gives Harry his first kiss!

10. Moirai, in Greek myth : THE FATES
The three Fates of Greek mythology were white-robed deities, and were also called the Moirai. The three Fates were Clotho the spinner, Lachesis the allotter and Atropos the unturnable.

11. "Big Brother," for example : REALITY TV
The “Big Brother” television franchise started out in 1999 in the Netherlands. The term “Big Brother” of course comes from George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

12. It includes provision for the admission of new states : ARTICLE IV
Article IV of the US Constitution defines the duties of individual states to each other, and the duties of the federal government to the states. Article IV also allows for admission of new states and the changing of state boundaries.

13. "A stronger America" sloganeer : JOHN KERRY
Former presidential candidate John Kerry enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966 and went straight into Officer Candidate School. Kerry's first post was as an ensign on a frigate in the Vietnam theater, mainly working on rescue missions picking up downed pilots. He requested a transfer to Swift boat duty. While serving on Swift boats Kerry was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.

15. "The Planets" composer : HOLST
Despite the Scandinavian-sounding name, Gustav Holst was born in Britain, and was the most English of classical composers. His most famous work is the orchestral suite known as ‘The Planets”. The suite has seven movements, one for each of the planets known at the time (1914-1916) except Earth. Pluto was discovered during Holst’s lifetime, but decades after he had completed his masterpiece.

21. It controls the amount of light admitted : IRIS
The iris is the colored part of the eye with an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

23. ___ Kramer, 2010 Dutch speed-skating gold medalist : SVEN
Sven Kramer is a famous Dutch long track speed skater, the holder of the world record for the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and the team pursuit. Kramer won the 5,000 meters gold medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games, and although he finished first in the 10,000 meters, he was disqualified for failing to make a required lane change. He wasn't happy ...

28. Grateful Dead album whose title reads the same forward and backward : AOXOMOXOA
The Grateful Dead’s third studio album is called “Auxomoxoa”, a palindrome created in a collaboration between the artist designing the album cover and one of the band’s lyricists. The title is apparently pronounced “ox-oh-mox-oh-ah” ...

29. Intermediate level in karate : GREEN BELT
"Kara-te", means "open hand", and the related word "kara-oke", means "open orchestra".

30. Navigator Islands, now : SAMOA
The official name for the South Pacific country is the Independent State of Samoa. "Samoa" is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of native Samoans.

39. Verizon, e.g. : TELCO
A “telco” is a telecommunications company.

GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000, forming the company that we know today as Verizon.

42. Short-range missiles : DARTS
Darts is a wonderful game often played in British and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called "Round the Clock" is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 in sequence.

43. Buddhist shrine : STUPA
A stupa is a place of worship in the Buddhist tradition. “Stupa” is a Sanskrit word meaning “heap” and a stupa is a mound-like structure that contains relics, possibly even the remains of Buddha.

44. Big stinger : TASER
Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called "Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle". The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon named their product as a homage to the novel, as TASER is an acronym standing for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle". Interesting, eh?

51. Sugar ___ : PEA
Sugar peas are also known as snap peas. These peas are eaten before the seeds mature, and the whole pod is consumed.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Modern mail? : FLAK JACKET
11. British ___ : RAJ
14. It ends at 12 : SENIOR HIGH
15. Main part, often : HERO
16. The Bay of Fundy has the largest one in the world : TIDAL RANGE
17. Judicial administration? : OATH
18. Estadio call : OLE
19. Tall and thin : LANK
20. Complete, as a crossword : FILL IN
22. Like A through D : PASSING
24. Having a bad trip, maybe : CARSICK
25. Examine carefully : VET
26. QB who threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes in a single game (1962) : Y A TITTLE
27. W-2 figure : WAGES
30. Pitcher's stat : SAVES
31. "___ out!" : YER
32. Somalia's locale in Africa : HORN
33. Compromise of 1877 figure : HAYES
34. To-do : STIR
35. Split, in a way : AXE
36. Southern writer William Gilmore ___ : SIMMS
37. Split (up) : DIVVY
38. Fighting directly : TOE-TO-TOE
40. Nickname in classic jazz : DIZ
41. "The Bourne Identity" plot device : AMNESIA
42. Makes sense of : DIGESTS
46. Commercial miscellany : JOB LOT
47. Cartoonist Kelly : WALT
48. Bug : TAP
49. Director-type : EXEC
50. View from the Sydney Harbour Bridge : OPERA HOUSE
53. Hershey brand : ROLO
54. What a drawer may hold : FELT-TIP PEN
55. Animal in a comic strip title : KAT
56. Running too quickly? : FALSE START

Down
1. It controls the amount of light admitted : F-STOP
2. "The Pearl Fishers" soprano : LEILA
3. Altiplano locale : ANDES
4. Soul producer : KIA
5. Kicks : JOLLIES
6. Downright : ARRANT
7. Cho ___, romantic interest for Harry Potter : CHANG
8. Twist : KINK
9. ___-shaped : EGG
10. Moirai, in Greek myth : THE FATES
11. "Big Brother," for example : REALITY TV
12. It includes provision for the admission of new states : ARTICLE IV
13. "A stronger America" sloganeer : JOHN KERRY
15. "The Planets" composer : HOLST
21. It controls the amount of light admitted : IRIS
23. ___ Kramer, 2010 Dutch speed-skating gold medalist : SVEN
24. Gives in under pressure : CAVES
26. "Lookie what I did!" : YAY ME
27. "Can you believe that guy?!" : WHAT A JERK
28. Grateful Dead album whose title reads the same forward and backward : AOXOMOXOA
29. Intermediate level in karate : GREEN BELT
30. Navigator Islands, now : SAMOA
33. Clicked : HIT IT OFF
34. One criterion for sorting : SIZE
36. Fair : SO-SO
37. "Dude, I got something to tell you ..." : DIG THIS
39. Verizon, e.g. : TELCO
40. Widen : DILATE
42. Short-range missiles : DARTS
43. Buddhist shrine : STUPA
44. Big stinger : TASER
45. Dog-tired : SPENT
47. "Now that you mention it ..." : WELL
51. Sugar ___ : PEA
52. Vote (for) : OPT


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

And for those who are still not sure how the answer "Leila" relates to the clue in 2 down, Leila is the virgin priestess that the two men Nadir and Zurga were in love with.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for the extra info about "The Pearl Fishers". I appreciate it!

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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.

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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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