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Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada (again!)

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! We had a long and strenuos hike today in Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas in 100-degree weather, complete with a touch of heatstroke (scary), and saw the Cirque de Soleil show "Zarkana" this evening (amazing, as all Cirque shows are).

Bill

0829-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 29 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: Tony Orbach
THEME: AL comes from LA … each of the theme answers is a well-known phrase, but with the letters AL turned around to LA:
17A. Balm business? : SALVE TRADE (from “slave trade”)
23A. Yodeling tribute band's repertoire? : ALP-TOP COVERS (from “laptop covers”)
38A. Words of encouragement to a tailor? : ALTER ON! (from “later on”)
48A. Figure at Sarah's cigar store? : PALIN’S INDIAN (from “Plains Indian”)
57A. "Columbo" trench coat? : FALK JACKET (from “flak jacket”)
COMPLETION TIME: 13m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. 100 centimes, once : FRANC
The French franc was made up of 100 centimes, before being replaced by the Euro.

The European Union today stands at a membership of 27 states. The Euro is the official currency of only 16 of the 27. The list of states not using the Euro includes the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

10. Belgium-based imaging company : AGFA
Agfa was founded in Germany in 1867, a company focused on the manufacture of dyes. The full name of the enterprise was Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation, shortened to Agfa, and translating as "Corporation for Aniline (a dye) Production". Agfa merged with the Belgian company Gevaert in 1894, getting them into the photographic business. Agfa 35mm film hasn't been produced for a few years now, but there is still inventory out there and purists are buying it when they can.

19. Mischievous Norse god : LOKI
Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki was bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing causes the earthquakes that we poor humans have to endure.

20. Bottom-of-the-barrel stuff : LEES
The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), is also called "lees".

21. Learn by ___ : OSMOSIS
Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often just water) across a semi-permeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of "absorbing" water effortlessly gives rise to the expression "learning by osmosis".

27. Place for a washer and dryer: Abbr. : BSMT
Basement (bsmt.)

32. R&B pioneer Johnny : OTIS
Johnny Otis was the stage name of Ioannis Veliotes, a musician from Vallejo, California. Otis is sometimes referred to as the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues”.

33. N.Y.C.'s first subway line : IRT
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) was the original private operator of the New York Subway when it opened in 1904. The city took over ownership of the system in 1940, but the lines originally operated by the IRT are still known by the IRT moniker.

34. Tattoo ___ : PARLOR
The word "tattoo" was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, he anglicized the Tahitian word "tatau" into our "tattoo".

40. "Evil Woman" grp. : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. The band's manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).

41. Regency hotels : HYATTS
The Hyatt hotel chain takes its name from the first hotel in the group, that was purchased in 1957 i.e. Hyatt House at Los Angeles International Airport. Among other things, Hyatt is famous for designing the world's first atrium hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.

44. Next-to-last Greek letters : PSIS
The Greek letter psi is the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork. The resemblance to a trident is probably why the letter psi is the symbol for the planet Neptune. Neptune was the Roman god of the sea and is often depicted carrying a trident.

45. Comic Margaret : CHO
Margaret Cho is a very successful stand-up comedian, but she is also a fashion designer with her own line of clothing. Cho also acts, and you might have seen her in the John Travolta/Nicholas Cage movie "Face/Off" in which she played John Travolta's FBI colleague.

46. Cameron who voiced Fiona : DIAZ
The Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz started out her professional life as a model. Diaz’s first acting role was in the 1994 film “The Mask”, starring alongside Jim Carrey.

48. Figure at Sarah's cigar store? : PALIN’S INDIAN (from “Plains Indian”)
The Plains Indians are those native Americans who inhabit the Great Plains of North America. The list of peoples includes the Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Iowa, Omaha and Otoe.

53. "Born from jets" automaker : SAAB
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. SAAB was, and still is, mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automobile division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011.

56. Mass vestments : ALBS
The alb is the white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from "albus", the Latin word for "white".

57. "Columbo" trench coat? : FALK JACKET (from “flak jacket”)
"Columbo" is a police drama that aired from 1971-78, with some more episodes made as recently as 2003. Columbo was of course played by Peter Falk, although the character of Columbo was first played by Bert Freed in 1960 in an episode of "The Chevy Mystery Show". That first appearance was so successful that the episode was adapted for the stage in 1962, with Thomas Mitchell taking on the role. Then the same episode was stretched into a TV movie in 1968, with Peter Falk playing Lt. Columbo for the first time.

"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".

66. Rec centers : YMCAS
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.

67. New Ager who sings in Irish Gaelic : ENYA
Enya's real name is Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from the Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career. And she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

Down
2. Osso buco need : VEAL
Osso is the Italian word for bone as in the name of the dish "Osso Buco", braised veal shanks.

4. "As is" and others : CAVEATS
A caveat is a warning or a qualification. “Caveat” is the Latin for “let him beware”.

6. Grammar school basics, briefly : RRR
The “three Rs” are Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.

7. Decay-fighting org. : 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.

11. Bodily reaction to fear : GOOSE FLESH
The terms "goosebumps" and “goose flesh” come from the fact that skin which is cold can look like the flesh of a plucked goose.

12. Hot-coals walker : FAKIR
A fakir (also faqir) is an ascetic in the Muslim tradition. The term “fakir” is derived from “faqr”, an Arabic word for “poverty”.

18. Alien's subj. : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

22. Bugs of the underworld : MORAN
Bugs Moran was a Chicago gangster, the main rival to the slightly more famous Al Capone. Moran tried twice to kill Capone. In the first attempt Moran and his gang shot at Capone from their car as their target was getting out of his own automobile. They missed Capone, and subsequent to the attack he took to driving in an armored vehicle. The second, more famous attempt (in 1926), involved Moran and a fleet of cars driving by Capone's hotel and spraying the lobby in which he was standing. Again, Capone escaped unharmed. Three years later, in February 1929, six members of Moran's gang were lined up against a wall and shot by order of Capone, an incident we now remember as the famous St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

24. Pop music's Collins and Spector : PHILS
The English musician Phil Collins is best known for his work as drummer with the rock group Genesis, as well as for his solo career. In fact, Collins is often grouped with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, two other artists who had tremendous solo success after careers with very well-known bands.

25. Suit material? : TORT
The word "tort" is a French word meaning "mischief, injury or wrong". Tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another but that action falls outside of the scope of criminal law.

29. Push-up garment : MIRACLE BRA
The word "brassière" is of course French in origin, but it isn't the word the French use for a "bra". In France what we call a bra is known as a "soutien-gorge", translating to "held under the neck". The word "brassière" is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby's undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. "Brassière" comes from the Old French word for an "arm protector" in a military uniform ("bras" is the French for "arm"). Later "brassière" came to mean "breast plate" and from there the word was used for a type of woman's corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

34. Kind of scheme : PONZI
Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. Ponzi devised a scheme to buy what were known as "international reply coupons" through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an "illegal" transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it's what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme. He couldn't redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. Many people wanted to get in on the scheme seeing that Ponzi was able to make the new investors a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn't double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.

35. This and that : OLIO
Olio is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish "olla", the clay pot used when cooking the stew.

39. Scan, as a U.P.C. : READ
UPC stands for Universal Price Code. The first UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum …

44. Pizazz : PANACHE
Someone exhibiting panache is showing dash and verve, and perhaps has a swagger. “Panache” is a French word used for a plume of feathers, especially one in a hat.

48. Some H.S. exams : PSATS
I think the acronym PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

51. "... lovely ___ tree" : AS A
The American journalist and poet Joyce Kilmer is primarily known for his 1913 poem titled “Trees”. The original text of the poem is:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Kilmer died a few years after writing “Trees”, a casualty of the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.

55. Group of quail : BEVY
“Bevy” is a collective noun used for a number of types of bird, including quail and swans.

58. TV captain Jean-___ Picard : LUC
When Gene Roddenberry was creating the “Star Trek” spin-off series “Star Trek: The New Generation”, I think he chose a quite magnificent name for the new starship captain. The name Jean-Luc Picard is imitative of one or both of the twin-brother Swiss scientists Auguste and Jean Felix Piccard. The role of Picard was of course played by the wonderful Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart.

59. Mauna ___ : KEA
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed. So, the "real" height of the volcano is over 33,000 feet, which is significantly "taller" than even Mount Everest, which has an elevation of 29,029 feet above sea level.

60. Takers of 48-Down: Abbr. : JRS
Juniors in high school may take the PSAT.

61. Caddy's contents : TEA
A caddy is a container used for tea. “Caddy” comes from the Malay word “kati”, a unit of weight used as a standard by British tea companies in the East Indies.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Rescue op : EVAC
5. 100 centimes, once : FRANC
10. Belgium-based imaging company : AGFA
14. Dodeca- halved : HEXA-
15. Fiery feeling : ARDOR
16. Nursery bagful : LOAM
17. Balm business? : SALVE TRADE (from “slave trade”)
19. Mischievous Norse god : LOKI
20. Bottom-of-the-barrel stuff : LEES
21. Learn by ___ : OSMOSIS
23. Yodeling tribute band's repertoire? : ALP-TOP COVERS (from “laptop covers”)
27. Place for a washer and dryer: Abbr. : BSMT
30. Cross one's fingers : HOPE
31. Call a game : REF
32. R&B pioneer Johnny : OTIS
33. N.Y.C.'s first subway line : IRT
34. Tattoo ___ : PARLOR
37. Steamrolled stuff : TAR
38. Words of encouragement to a tailor? : ALTER ON! (from “later on”)
40. "Evil Woman" grp. : ELO
41. Regency hotels : HYATTS
43. Place to play video games : DEN
44. Next-to-last Greek letters : PSIS
45. Comic Margaret : CHO
46. Cameron who voiced Fiona : DIAZ
47. Matey's greeting : AHOY
48. Figure at Sarah's cigar store? : PALIN’S INDIAN (from “Plains Indian”)
52. Gear with docking stations : STEREOS
53. "Born from jets" automaker : SAAB
56. Mass vestments : ALBS
57. "Columbo" trench coat? : FALK JACKET (from “flak jacket”)
62. Pucker-producing : TART
63. More faithful : TRUER
64. Busy place : HIVE
65. Influence : SWAY
66. Rec centers : YMCAS
67. New Ager who sings in Irish Gaelic : ENYA

Down
1. Comments accompanying shrugs : EHS
2. Osso buco need : VEAL
3. What a drivetrain connects to : AXLE
4. "As is" and others : CAVEATS
5. Marbled meat feature : FAT
6. Grammar school basics, briefly : RRR
7. Decay-fighting org. : ADA
8. A real smarty : NO DOPE
9. Dimin.'s opposite, in music : CRESC
10. Here, there and everywhere : ALL OVER
11. Bodily reaction to fear : GOOSE FLESH
12. Hot-coals walker : FAKIR
13. Out of kilter : AMISS
18. Alien's subj. : ESL
22. Bugs of the underworld : MORAN
24. Pop music's Collins and Spector : PHILS
25. Suit material? : TORT
26. Decided to join : OPTED IN
27. This and that : BOTH
28. Hang around : STAY
29. Push-up garment : MIRACLE BRA
34. Kind of scheme : PONZI
35. This and that : OLIO
36. Looking up : ROSY
38. Do penance : ATONE
39. Scan, as a U.P.C. : READ
42. Like under-watered plants : THIRSTY
44. Pizazz : PANACHE
46. Render harmless : DISARM
48. Some H.S. exams : PSATS
49. Counselor-___ : AT-LAW
50. Pushover : SOFTY
51. "... lovely ___ tree" : AS A
54. Very similar : AKIN
55. Group of quail : BEVY
58. TV captain Jean-___ Picard : LUC
59. Mauna ___ : KEA
60. Takers of 48-Down: Abbr. : JRS
61. Caddy's contents : TEA


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The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

What an utterly insipid theme. "AL comes from LA?" What does that have to do with anything?

Bill Butler said...

The puzzle title "AL comes from LA" wasn't published with the puzzle. I'll have to take the blame for that myself. I was trying to indicate that the AL in the answers comes from the LA in the original term/expression.

You win some, you lose some ...

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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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