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Greetings from Louisburgh, County Mayo 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

0911-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Sep 12, Tuesday





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: Kenneth Leeser
THEME: Sounds Like the City … each of the theme answers is the name of a city combined with a synonym of that name:
24A. Lebanese water passage? : BEIRUT BAY-ROUTE
38A. Sudanese junkyard? : KHARTOUM CAR-TOMB
50A. Big shoe specification in Libya? : TRIPOLI TRIPLE-E
COMPLETION TIME: 8m 05s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Wise guys? : MAGI
"Magi" is the plural of the Latin word "magus", a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, magi is commonly used with reference to the "wise men from the East" who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born.

14. Off one's rocker : LOCO
“Loco” is the Spanish word for “insane”.

16. Midmonth day : IDES
There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually "fixed" by law. "Kalendae" were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. "Nonae" were originally the days of the half moon. And "idus" (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure ...

17. Red-skinned food : EDAM
Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps it travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

18. Island dances : HULAS
Hula is the name of the Polynesian dance. The chant or song that the dance illustrates, that's known as the mele.

20. Articles in Dracula's wardrobe : CAPES
"Dracula" is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker, and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn't the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can't stand vampire fiction ...

22. Actress Hayworth : RITA
Rita Hayworth was born in Brooklyn as Margarita Carmen Cansino. Her father was a flamenco dancer from Spain and so his daughter fell naturally into dancing. The family moved to Hollywood where Hayworth's father set up a dance studio, and there worked with the likes of James Cagney and Jean Harlow. The young Hayworth had a slow start in movies, finding herself typecast because of her Mediterranean features. When she underwent extensive electrolysis to change her forehead and dyed her hair red, she started to get more work (how sad is that?). In 1941 she posed for that famous pin-up picture which accompanied GIs all over the world.

24. Lebanese water passage? : BEIRUT BAY-ROUTE
Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon. After WWI, Lebanon was placed under administrative control of the French and Beirut flourished as a financial center in the Middle East and a major world tourist destination. The city was devastated in the Lebanese Civil War that raged from 1975 to 1990, but reconstruction has restored the city to much of its former glory, making it a major cultural center once again.

28. Start of a long-distance call : ONE
The first transcontinental telephone call was made in 1915 by Alexander Graham Bell, from New York City to San Francisco. The call took 23 minutes to connect as five telephone operators were involved.

29. Nord's opposite : SUD
In France, “nord” (north) is opposite to “sud” (south).

30. Ike's command in W.W. II : ETO
Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII. If you're a WWII buff like me, then I recommend you take a look at a great made-for-TV movie starring Tom Selleck as Eisenhower called "Ike: Countdown to D-Day" which came out in 2004.

There doesn't seem to be any good reason why President Eisenhower was called "Ike". However, it is known that the nickname dates back to his childhood as his parents called him "Ike" as well as “Dwight”.

34. Book after Daniel : HOSEA
Hosea was one of the Twelve Prophets of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.

38. Sudanese junkyard? : KHARTOUM CAR-TOMB
Khartoum is the capital city of Sudan, and is located at the point where the Blue Nile and White Nile meet.

Sudan is the largest country in Africa, and lies south of Egypt, with the River Nile running north-south through its center.

42. Perfume compound : ESTER
Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic.

43. Officer on the bridge with Spock and Uhura : SULU
Mr. Sulu was of course played by George Takei in the original "Star Trek" series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film about President Kennedy's WWII career called "Pt-109"? Not only did Takei play the helmsman on the Starship Enterprise, he played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy's motor torpedo boat.

Leonard Nimoy played the logical Mr. Spock on the original "Star Trek" television series. Spock has to be the most popular character on the show, and keeps popping up in "Star Trek" spin offs to this day. Nimoy first worked alongside William Shatner (Captain Kirk) in an episode of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (I loved that show!), with Nimoy playing a bad guy and Shatner playing an U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

Lt. Nyota Uhura was the communications officer in the original "Star Trek" television series, played by Nichelle Nichols. The role was significant in that it was one of the first African American characters to figure front and center in US television. In a 1968 episode, Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Uhura kiss, the first inter-racial kiss to be broadcast in the US. Apparently the scene was meant to be shot twice, with and without the kiss, so that network executives could later decide which version to air. William Shatner says that he deliberately ran long on the first shoot (with the kiss) and fluffed the hurried second shoot (without the kiss), so that the network would have no choice.

44. Penpoint : NIB
"Nib" is a Scottish variant of the Old English word "neb", with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of "nib" as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with "nib" meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

50. Big shoe specification in Libya? : TRIPOLI TRIPLE-E
Tripoli is the capital city of Libya, and sits on the Mediterranean Coast. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC when it was called Oea.

56. U2 frontman : BONO
Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner, born Paul David Hewson. As a youth, Hewson was given the nickname "Bono Vox" by a friend, a Latin expression meaning "good voice", and so the singer has been known as Bono since the late seventies. The band U2's first name was "Feedback", later changed to "The Hype". The band members searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least ...

58. Alternative to Travelers : AETNA
When the health care management company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the European volcano.

Travelers is the largest American insurance company, with revenues of over $25 billion in 2010 and assets of over $100 billion. The red umbrella logo first appeared in 1870 in a newspaper ad for Travelers just a few years after it was founded. The umbrella was resurrected in the sixties and adopted as the company's emblem.

63. Trader ___ : VIC’S
The "Vic" in "Trader Vic's" is Victor Jules Bergeron Jr, the founder of the chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants. "Vic" started off with $500 of borrowed money in Oakland, California in 1934, taking over his first establishment. He changed the name to Trader Vic's, and introduced the Polynesian theme. By the time the sixties rolled round, he had 25 Trader Vic's restaurants up and running all round the world.

64. Unlikely prom king : NERD
"If I Ran the Zoo" is a book written by Dr. Seuss and published in 1950. Apparently this book is famous for using the word "nerd", the first time it had been seen in print.

65. Greenland native : INUIT
The Inuit peoples live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

66. Book before Daniel: Abbr. : EZEK
The Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible tells mainly of the life of Daniel. The Book of Ezekiel is a collection of the preachings of the prophet Ezekiel.

Down
1. Writer Waugh : ALEC
Alec Waugh was the older brother of the more famous Evelyn Waugh. Both were successful novelists (Evelyn of "Brideshead Revisited" fame), but what I like about Alec is that he supposedly invented the cocktail party. He invited his friends around "for tea" in the twenties, and served them all rum swizzles instead!

4. "My Cousin Vinny" co-star : TOMEI
Marisa Tomei's first screen role was in "As the World Turns", but her break came with a recurring role in "The Cosby Show" spin-off, "A Different World". Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in "My Cousin Vinny" in 1992.

"My Cousin Vinny" is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated "My Cousin Vinny" as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "12 Angry Man"!

7. Extemporize : AD LIB
"Ad libitum" is a Latin phrase meaning "at one's pleasure". In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to "ad lib". On the stage the concept of an "ad lib" is very familiar. For example, an actor may substitute his or her own words for forgotten lines using an ad lib, or a director may instruct an actor to use his or her own words at a particular point in a performance to promote a sense of spontaneity.

8. Rope, for Ricardo : REATA
“Reata” is the Spanish word for “lasso”.

9. Op-ed pieces : ESSAYS
Op-ed is an abbreviation for "opposite the editorial page". Op-eds started in "The New York Evening World" in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

11. Word on taking one's leave : ADIEU
"Adieu" is the French for "goodbye" or "farewell", from "à Dieu" meaning "to God".

13. Val d'___ (Alpine skiing destination) : ISERE
Val d'Isère is a noted ski resort in south-eastern France, lying just 3 miles from the Italian border. If you’ve ever watched the British sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous”, Edina and Patsy used to holiday in Val d'Isère whenever they got they chance.

21. Fleabag hotel, for short : SRO
Single Room Occupancy (SRO).

26. European coal center : RUHR
The Ruhr is a large urban area in western Germany. The area is heavily populated, and is the fifth largest urban area in the whole of Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow, London and Paris.

27. Farmworker who became the Cowardly Lion in Dorothy's dream : ZEKE
Zeke was the farmworker played by Bert Lahr in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz”. Zeke is the character who morphed into the Cowardly Lion in Dorothy’s dream.

32. Ostrich's cousin : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an "Emu War" in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the "invading force". The emus were clever, breaking their usual formation and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of "war", the military withdrew. Subsequent requests by farmers for military help were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

33. Medical hardening : SCLEROSIS
Sclerosis is the stiffening of an anatomical structure. One example is atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries caused by fat deposition.

35. Write Shakespearean poetry : SONNETIZE
A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century. The Shakespearean sonnet is composed of three quatrains (4 lines) and a final couplet (2 lines).

40. Charlie's Angels, e.g. : TRIO
When the TV show “Charlie’s Angels” started airing in the mid-seventies it was a little unusual in that it featured three women playing private detectives, a role usually reserved for men. The name first chosen for the show was “The Alley Cats”, then “Harry’s Angels”, before finally settling on “Charlies Angels”.

41. Quattro manufacturer : AUDI
The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909, but soon after Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new company and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch's young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that "Horch" was German for "hear", and he suggested "Audi" as a replacement, the Latin for "listen".

46. From Serbia or Croatia : SLAVIC
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:
- the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
- the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
- the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

48. Elite retreat : SPA
The word "spa" migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name "spa" comes from the Walloon word "espa" meaning "spring, fountain".

51. Gallivants : ROVES
"Gallivant" is such a lovely word, and is probably a derivative of "gallant". To gallivant is to gad about, to flirt, to wander in search of pleasure or amusement.

53. Memorable 2011 hurricane : IRENE
Hurricane Irene caused extensive flooding in 2011 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.

54. Springsteen's "Born ___" : TO RUN
“Born to Run” is a 1975 album released by Bruce Springsteen, the third of his career. It turned out to be Springsteen’s “breakout” album and really established him as popular artist.

62. French 101 word with two accents : ETE
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in France.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Admin. aide : ASST
5. Spook : SCARE
10. Wise guys? : MAGI
14. Off one's rocker : LOCO
15. Does some computer programming : CODES
16. Midmonth day : IDES
17. Red-skinned food : EDAM
18. Island dances : HULAS
19. Reference : CITE
20. Articles in Dracula's wardrobe : CAPES
22. Actress Hayworth : RITA
23. Raise, as young : REAR
24. Lebanese water passage? : BEIRUT BAY-ROUTE
27. Veer back in the other direction : ZAG
28. Start of a long-distance call : ONE
29. Nord's opposite : SUD
30. Ike's command in W.W. II : ETO
31. Fawning females : DOES
34. Book after Daniel : HOSEA
38. Sudanese junkyard? : KHARTOUM CAR-TOMB
42. Perfume compound : ESTER
43. Officer on the bridge with Spock and Uhura : SULU
44. Penpoint : NIB
45. Family member, informally : SIS
47. Magazine staff, for short : EDS
49. Mississippi-to-Michigan dir. : NNE
50. Big shoe specification in Libya? : TRIPOLI TRIPLE-E
56. U2 frontman : BONO
57. Buck tail? : -AROO
58. Alternative to Travelers : AETNA
60. Kitchen fixture : OVEN
61. Poetry : VERSE
63. Trader ___ : VIC’S
64. Unlikely prom king : NERD
65. Greenland native : INUIT
66. Book before Daniel: Abbr. : EZEK
67. Ballpark figs. : ESTS
68. Perfume : CENSE
69. Minus : LESS

Down
1. Writer Waugh : ALEC
2. Soothing soaks : SODA BATHS
3. One getting the blame : SCAPEGOAT
4. "My Cousin Vinny" co-star : TOMEI
5. Where to study chem. or hist. : SCH
6. Mannerly : COURTEOUS
7. Extemporize : AD LIB
8. Rope, for Ricardo : REATA
9. Op-ed pieces : ESSAYS
10. Pinhead-size spy photo : MICRODOT
11. Word on taking one's leave : ADIEU
12. Imply : GET AT
13. Val d'___ (Alpine skiing destination) : ISERE
21. Fleabag hotel, for short : SRO
25. Helpful computer command : UNDO
26. European coal center : RUHR
27. Farmworker who became the Cowardly Lion in Dorothy's dream : ZEKE
32. Ostrich's cousin : EMU
33. Medical hardening : SCLEROSIS
35. Write Shakespearean poetry : SONNETIZE
36. Popes and the like : EMINENCES
37. Head of a French monastery : ABBE
39. Answers : RESPONDS
40. Charlie's Angels, e.g. : TRIO
41. Quattro manufacturer : AUDI
46. From Serbia or Croatia : SLAVIC
48. Elite retreat : SPA
50. Hearty steak : T-BONE
51. Gallivants : ROVES
52. Unable to move : INERT
53. Memorable 2011 hurricane : IRENE
54. Springsteen's "Born ___" : TO RUN
55. Tier : LEVEL
59. Questions : ASKS
62. French 101 word with two accents : ETE


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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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