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I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

0825-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 25 Aug 12, Saturday





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: Caleb Madison
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 44m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Founding need : METAL
“To found” is to melt metal and pour it into a mold in order to make molded metal objects.

14. It often has a crust on top : ONION SOUP
To cook “au gratin” is to prepare something in a shallow dish with a crust of bread or cheese on top. In American we tend to think mainly of potatoes prepared this way, but the technique can be used for many different dishes. Notably, what we call French onion soup, is called a “gratiné” in France, an onion soup with some bread and cheese baked on top.

18. Football Hall of Famer Bobby : LAYNE
Bobby Layne was a quarterback who played in the NFL. The Detroit Lions traded Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958, much to Layne’s chagrin. He supposedly put a “curse” on the Lions as a result. The Lions are one of the few teams that have never played in a Super Bowl, something that some attribute to “the Curse of Bobby Layne”.

19. Captain Hook's alma mater : ETON
Captain Hook is the bad guy in “Peter Pan”, the famous play by J. M. Barrie. Hook is Peter Pan’s sworn enemy, as Pan cut off Hook’s hand causing it to be replaced by a “hook”. It is implied in the play that Hook attended Eton College, just outside London. Hook’s last words are “Floreat Etona”, which is Eton College’s motto.

20. "Tropic Thunder" director and co-star : STILLER
Ben Stiller is the son of actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Ben is perhaps as well-known as a director as he is an actor. He made his debut as a director in the film “Reality Bites” in 1994.

“Tropic Thunder” is a satirical action movie written, produced and directed by Ben Stiller. On top of all that, he stars in the film as well, alongside Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr.

22. Street heaters : GATS
“Gat” is a slang term for a gun, derived from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure ...

25. Growth theory subj. : ECON
Growth Theory is a subject in the field of economics ...

26. Mex. and Uru. are in it : OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS) has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. All the independent states in the Americas are members of the group except Honduras, which had her membership suspended after the country's 2009 coup.

28. Teen series whose title character is never seen : GOSSIP GIRL
“Gossip Girl” is a series of young adult novels by American author Cecily von Ziegesar. The Gossip Girl in the title is the narrator of the tale, a gossip blogger who recounts the experiences of two friends, Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen.

39. It set sail from Iolcus : ARGO
In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts set sail on the Argo from the city of Iolcos in search of the Golden Fleece. Jason's vessel was called the "Argo" in honor of the ship's builder, a man named Argus.

40. Altar adjunct : PRIE-DIEU
Prie-dieu literally means "pray (to) God" in French. A prie-dieu is basically a padded kneeler, with an arm rest in front with a shelf on which one placed books of prayer.

43. Sole component : FIN
The group of flatfish known as soles take their name from “solea”, the Latin word for “sandal”.

45. Met works : OILS
The Metropolitan Museum of Art ("the Met") was founded in 1870 by a group of private citizens. The current museum is huge, with 2 million square feet of floor space.

49. Hawks' old haunt : OMNI
The Omni Coliseum was the arena that was home to the Atlanta Hawks basketball team from 1972-1997. “The Omni” was part of the Omni Complex, which is now known as the CNN Center, the world headquarters of CNN.

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

53. Charged : ARRAIGNED
In the law, to arraign someone is to call a person before a court to answer charges that have been brought.

60. They get picked : AFROS
That would be the afro hairstyle.

Down
1. Web crawler : BOT
A bot is computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might “crawl” around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses.

2. ___ fois que (as soon as, in Arles) : UNE
A few years ago I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city's design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and where he painted his famous "Cafe Terrace at Night", as well as "Bedroom in Arles".

3. Chard or cab alternative : ZIN
Zinfandel is my favorite red wine varietal. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.

8. Jacquet who directed "March of the Penguins" : LUC
“March of the Penguins” is a truly moving, and humorous, nature documentary film by co-writer and director Luc Jacquet. It is a remarkable production, often filmed in temperatures as low as -76 degrees Fahrenheit.

10. Even, in Évreux : EGAL
Évreux is in the north of France.

11. 2009 Grammy winner for "Fearless" : TAYLOR SWIFT
Singer Taylor Swift had one of her first gigs at the US Open tennis tournament when she was in her early teens. There she sang the national anthem and received a lot of favorable attention for the performance.

12. Like some sleep disruptions : APNEAL
Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

15. 1990 Best Supporting Actor winner : PESCI
Joe Pesci won his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1990, for his perfromance in the film “Goodfellas”.

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in "Raging Bull" starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely "Once Upon a Time in America", "Goodfellas" and "Casino". But I like Pesci's comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the "Home Alone" films, the "Lethal Weapon" series, and my personal favorite, "My Cousin Vinny". Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical "Jersey Boys", which isn't too surprising as he is one of the show's producers.

22. Tex-Mex topping : GUAC
Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes, and is made by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

23. ___ Fort (World Heritage Site in India) : AGRA
Agra Fort is the less well-known of two famous monuments in the city of Agra, India. The more famous monument is the Taj Mahal. Fort Agra was once home to the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, now part of the British Crown Jewels.

24. 2009 comedy whose tagline is "Some guys just can't handle Vegas" : THE HANGOVER
“The Hangover” is a comedy film released in 2009. The action revolves around a bachelor party in Las Vegas. The critics liked this one, although I didn’t really enjoy it too much.

25. Yupik lang. : ESK
The Yupik are a group of peoples in Alaska and the Russian Far East. The Yupiks are part of the larger group of Eskimo peoples.

30. Letters from desperate people : SOS
The combination of three dots - three dashes - three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots - pause - three dashes - pause - three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases "Save Our Souls" and "Save Our Ship" are also mnemonics, introduced after the "SOS" signal was adopted.

31. Kind of app : IPAD
The very exciting iPad isn't Apple's first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

36. What some gurus are called : SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

37. She hailed from the planet Alderaan : LEIA
In the "Star Wars" series of films, there is a fictional planet of Alderaan. Alderaan is the home of Princess Leia, the character played by Carrie Fisher in the original movie.

40. Recreation areas: Abbr. : PKS
Parks (pks.)

42. 1942 Preakness winner : ALSAB
Alsab was a thoroughbred racehorse, winner of the Preakness Stakes in 1942.

44. Prefix with -hedron : ICOSA-
An icosahedron is a regular polyhedron, one with 20 faces, each being an equilateral triangle.

48. Mariposa's close relative : SEGO
The Sego Lily is the state flower of Utah, and is a perennial plant found throughout the Western United States.

Mariposa Lilies belong to the genus Calochortus.

49. Sandwich often given a twist : OREO
The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been produced since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

50. "Ali" director Michael : MANN
Not only is Michael Mann a film director, but he also produced the Academy Awards ceremony twice, in 1999 and 2004.

“Ali” is a 2001 biographical movie about Muhammad Ali, with Will Smith in the title role. Among other things, the film is noted for its realistic fight scenes. They were realistic because Smith was really being hit, as hard as his opponents could manage.

51. Time for Variety? : NITE
“Variety” is a magazine that focuses on the entertainment industry.

55. O.T. book : NEH
In the Hebrew Bible the Book of Ezra was originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah, with the two being separated in the early days of the Christian Era.

57. One taking the lead?: Abbr. : DET
A detective (det.) might take/follow a lead.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Modern drag : BUZZKILL
9. Founding need : METAL
14. It often has a crust on top : ONION SOUP
16. Visibly surprised : AGAPE
17. Point of no return? : TENNIS ACE
18. Football Hall of Famer Bobby : LAYNE
19. Captain Hook's alma mater : ETON
20. "Tropic Thunder" director and co-star : STILLER
22. Street heaters : GATS
25. Growth theory subj. : ECON
26. Mex. and Uru. are in it : OAS
27. "I hate this" : UGH
28. Teen series whose title character is never seen : GOSSIP GIRL
32. Query prompted by crying : ARE YOU OK?
34. Turn-of-the-season mos. : SEPS
35. Collusion : CAHOOTS
36. Doesn't lie gracefully : SPRAWLS
39. It set sail from Iolcus : ARGO
40. Altar adjunct : PRIE-DIEU
41. Sole : ONE OF A KIND
43. Sole component : FIN
44. End for end : -ING
45. Met works : OILS
46. One way to go to a party : STAG
47. Small parts of floor plans : CLOSETS
49. Hawks' old haunt : OMNI
52. "Such mishegoss!" : OY VEY!
53. Charged : ARRAIGNED
58. Kind of mentality : SIEGE
59. With 61-Across, "Nothing new to me!" : BEEN THERE
60. They get picked : AFROS
61. See 59-Across : DONE THAT

Down
1. Web crawler : BOT
2. ___ fois que (as soon as, in Arles) : UNE
3. Chard or cab alternative : ZIN
4. Defenders' assignments : ZONES
5. Make some loops : KNIT
6. Childish comeback : IS SO
7. Item of interest? : LOAN
8. Jacquet who directed "March of the Penguins" : LUC
9. Feigned incapacity : MALINGERED
10. Even, in Évreux : EGAL
11. 2009 Grammy winner for "Fearless" : TAYLOR SWIFT
12. Like some sleep disruptions : APNEAL
13. Goats' looks : LEERS
15. 1990 Best Supporting Actor winner : PESCI
21. Cause of a curved flight path : TOPSPIN
22. Tex-Mex topping : GUAC
23. ___ Fort (World Heritage Site in India) : AGRA
24. 2009 comedy whose tagline is "Some guys just can't handle Vegas" : THE HANGOVER
25. Yupik lang. : ESK
28. Kitten's look : GOO-GOO EYES
29. In la-la land : OUT OF IT
30. Letters from desperate people : SOS
31. Kind of app : IPAD
33. Old : YORE
36. What some gurus are called : SRI
37. She hailed from the planet Alderaan : LEIA
38. Like a chorus line : SUNG
40. Recreation areas: Abbr. : PKS
41. Not unless : ONLY IF
42. 1942 Preakness winner : ALSAB
44. Prefix with -hedron : ICOSA-
46. It's seeing things : SIGHT
48. Mariposa's close relative : SEGO
49. Sandwich often given a twist : OREO
50. "Ali" director Michael : MANN
51. Time for Variety? : NITE
54. Old revolutionist : RED
55. O.T. book : NEH
56. Word after many presidents' names : ERA
57. One taking the lead?: Abbr. : DET


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8 comments :

Cal said...

Hi Bill,

Per your explanation for 18-Across in this puzzle, there are actually four teams that have never been to the Super Bowl: Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Cal.

You've perfectly illustrated how weak I am when commenting on American sports! :)

I've deleted that comment in the write-up. I appreciate the help, Cal!

manxiecelt said...

30 down SOS
At the end of each Inspector Morse (British often on PBS) TV drama the play-out music starts with an SOS signal.
Manxie

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Manxie.

Thanks for pointing out the interesting trivia about "Inspector Morse". I've watched many an episode and never noticed that Morse signal. I just read that the opening theme features the Morse signal M-O-R-S-E.

Clever!

Gary k said...

Bill,

Layne actually put the curse the Lions (his former team), not the Steelers (his new team). It wouldn't make sense to put a curse on your new team.

Bill Butler said...

Hi Gary,

Well as you might know, a lot of my exposure to sport is very theoretical, especially American sports. However, this error was less my ignorance, and more my careless writing. We'll put this one down to a typo.

Thanks for pointing it out, Gary, and giving me the opportunity to fix it!

Gary k said...

Not a problem, Bill.

By the way, I love the blog. I read it frequently.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for the kind words about the blog, Gary.

Drop by again 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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