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Greetings from San Jose, 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! We had a long and spectacular drive across the Sierra Nevada today, and saw Julianne and Derek Hough's dance spectacular this evening. Back home and back to reality tomorrow (Friday) ...

Bill

0927-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Sep 12, Thursday



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I recently started solving the LA Times crossword, and a week ago I launched an LA Times crossword blog. If you work on the LA Times puzzle, then please check out my new blog at LAXCrossword.com. For that matter, if you know anyone who likes to solve the LA Times crossword, please think about sending them an email pointing them to LAXCrossword.com!



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: Joel Fagliano
THEME: ON/OFF SWITCH … each of the theme answers is a well-known term containing the words On and OFF, but the ON and OFF are switched:
18A. Sports team management group : FROFFT ONICE (from FRONT OFFICE)
29A. Digress : GO ON OFF A TANGENT (from GO OFF ON A TANGENT)
45A. What a mayor wins, usually : ON-YEAR ELECTIOFF (from OFF-YEAR ELECTION)
56A. Toggle ... or a hint to 18-, 29- and 45-Across? : ON/OFF SWITCH
COMPLETION TIME: 27m 48s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Part of a metaphorical ladder : JOB
A particular job can be a step up the ladder.

4. Any of the Galápagos : ISLA
Isla is the Spanish for "island".

The Galápagos Islands lie over 500 miles west of Ecuador. The Galápagos owe their celebrity to the voyage of HMS Beagle which landed there in 1835, with Charles Darwin on board. It was Darwin’s study of various species on the islands that inspired him to postulate his Theory of Evolution.

8. Color classification quality : CHROMA
Colorfulness, chroma and saturation are related concepts that help define the intensity of a particular color. Frankly, I don’t really understand the specifics!

15. "Angels From the Realms of Glory," e.g. : NOEL
“Angels From the Realms of Glory” is a lovely Christmas carol written by James Montgomery, an English poet. It was first published in 1816.

17. Cellphone feature, for short : GPS
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The modern GPS system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War about the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. He was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.

24. Language for a 37-Down : ERSE
There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

28. California's ___ Padres National Forest : LOS
The Santa Barbara National Forest in California was renamed to Los Padres National Forest in 1936.

32. Word appearing more than 20 times on Iran's flag : ALLAH
The Iranian flag in use today was adopted in 1980, a product of the Iranian Revolution. The flag is a tricolor composed of horizontal bands of green, white and red. Included in the green and red bands are the repeated words “Allahu Akbar”, which translates as “God is great”.

34. ___ meteor shower : LEONID
The two most famous meteor showers are the Perseids and Leonids. The Perseid meteor shower is most visible around 12 August each year, and the Leonid meteor shower is most notable around 17 November. The Perseids appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus, and the Leonids from the constellation Leo.

44. Capital on the Gulf of Guinea : ACCRA
Accra sits on Ghana's coast and is a major seaport as well as the country's capital city. The name "Accra" comes from a local word "Nkran" meaning "ants", a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

45. What a mayor wins, usually : ON-YEAR ELECTIOFF (from OFF-YEAR ELECTION)
Off-year elections are general elections held in odd-numbered years. Elections for federal, state and gubernatorial offices usually occur in even-numbered years. Off-year elections tend to be devoted to municipal offices, such as that of mayor.

50. Orion ___ : NEBULA
The Orion Nebula is found in the constellation of Orion, just south of Orion’s Belt. Orion’s Nebula is very bright and is easily seen with the naked eye.

51. French word with a circumflex : ETRE
The French for “to be” is “être”.

A circumflex is a diacritic mark used routinely in some languages, such as French. For example, there’s a circumflex over the first “e” in “être”, the French for “to be”.

53. What portable Apple products run : IOS
iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system, previously known as iPhone OS.

54. It can be found in runes : NORSE
A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

62. Classic 1740 romance subtitled "Virtue Rewarded" : PAMELA
Samuel Richardson’s 1740 novel “Pamela” has a well-suited subtitle: “Virtue Rewarded”. Pamela is a maid who continually resists the improper advances of her employer. Eventually, the unwelcome suitor makes a proper offer of marriage, which Pamela accepts. The remainder of the story is about Pamela developing a relationship with her new husband, and trying to get comfortable with her new station in life. Sounds like one to put on my reading list ...

64. Kind of dye : AZO
Azo compounds have very vivid colors and so are used to make dyes, especially dyes with the colors red, orange and yellow.

66. Architect Saarinen : EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in this country for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK.

Down
2. Out, in a way : ON PAROLE
The term "parole" is a French word that we use in English, with the French "parole" meaning "word, speech". Of particular interest is the French phrase "parole d'honneur" which translates as "word of honor". In the early 1600s we started using "parole" to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his "word of honor" not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

6. 48-Down follower : LEO
48. 6-Down preceder : CANCER
The twelve astrological signs of the zodiac are, in order:
- Aries
- Taurus
- Gemini
- Cancer
- Leo
- Virgo
- Libra
- Scorpio
- Sagittarius
- Capricorn
- Aquarius
- Pisces

7. Movement founded by Yasser Arafat : AL FATAH
“Fatah” is actually an acronym, formed from the initials (in reverse) of "Palestinian National Liberation Movement". Al Fatah is the largest political party in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Yasser (also Yasir) Arafat was born in Cairo in 1929, the son of two Palestinians and the second-youngest of seven children. Arafat was beaten by his father as a child and so did not have a good relationship with him. Arafat did not attend his father's funeral, nor did he visit his grave. The beatings were apparently administered because the young Arafat was repeatedly attending religious services in the Jewish quarter of Cairo. Arafat's explanation was that he wanted to "study the mentality" of the Jewish people.

10. ___ Swanson, "Parks and Recreation" boss : RON
Ron Swanson is the boss, the director of the parks and recreation department on the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. Swanson is played by the actor Nick Offerman.

“Parks and Recreation” is a sitcom that started airing on NBC in 2009, and it is a show that has grown on me. It stars the "Saturday Night Live" alum, Amy Poehler. The creators of "Parks and Recreation" are part of the team responsible for the American version of “The Office”, so you’ll notice some similarities in the style of the two shows, and some actors that have appeared in both.

11. 13-Down athlete : ORIOLE
The Baltimore Orioles was one of the eight charter teams of MLB's American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn't fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn't help the team's performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

12. Diacritical mark : MACRON
A macron is a diacritical mark placed above a vowel. It is a horizontal line and is used to indicate that the vowel is long.

19. Popular corn chip, informally : FRITO
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.

21. Expiation : PENANCE
Expiation is the act of atonement, of doing penance.

24. Even in Paris? : EGAL
"Egal" is the French word for "equal, alike", and a word we sometimes use in English. The national motto of France is of course "Liberté, égalité, fraternité", meaning "Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood).

26. Mixed martial arts org. : UFC
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a largest promoter in the world of mixed martial arts competitions. I think the idea is that competitors fight each other in various disciplines to see who is the “best of the best” ...

30. Many a Browns fan : OHIOAN
The Cleveland Browns football team was a charter member of the All-American Football Conference, formed in 1946. Cleveland is the only NFL city that has never hosted, and has never sent a team to the Super Bowl.

37. Arthur Conan Doyle, e.g. : SCOTSMAN
The Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is most closely associated with his wonderful character Sherlock Holmes. Doyle also wrote a series of science fiction stories featuring the character Professor Challenger. The first book in which Challenger appears is the famous "The Lost World", a story about prehistoric creatures that are found living in the modern age on an isolated plateau in South America.

38. "Batman" villain in a cryogenic suit : MR FREEZE
Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s enemies. In the original “Batman” television series, Mr. Freeze was played by three big names in different episodes, namely George Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach. More recently, Mr. Freeze was played on the big screen in 1997’s “Batman & Robin” by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

41. "America's favorite active pro athlete," per a 2012 ESPN poll : TEBOW
Tim Tebow is a quarterback playing for the Denver Broncos. Tebow was the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.

43. Singer Lana ___ Rey : DEL
Lana Del Ray is the stage name of singer/songwriter Elizabeth Grant. Del Ray calls herself a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”. Nice …

45. Exotic aquarium specimens : OCTOPI
Octopi move around by swimming through the water, and walking across the seabed. However, their fastest means of locomotion is jet propulsion, when they squeeze water out explosively to the rear creating forward motion.

46. Speechwriter who coined the phrase "Read my lips: no new taxes" : NOONAN
Peggy Noonan is an author and columnist, and was once a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan. Noonan was responsible for one of President Reagan's most-remembered speeches, when he addressed the nation after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. She also came up with some famous phrases used by President George H. W. Bush, such as "a kinder, gentler nation", "a thousand points of light" and "read my lips; no new taxes".

47. Classical musician whose career has had its ups and downs? : YOYO MA
Yo-Yo Ma is a marvelous American cellist, born in Paris to Chinese parents. Ma started studying the violin when he was very young, working his way up (in size) to the viola and finally to the cello. He has said that he wanted to play the double bass, but it was just too big for his relatively small frame.

58. Fourth-largest state in population: Abbr. : FLA
The largest US states by population are, in order:
- California
- Texas
- New York
- Florida
- Illinois
The largest US states by population density are, in order:
- New Jersey
- Rhode island
- Massachusetts
- Connecticut
- Maryland

59. N.H.L. impossibility : TIE
National Hockey League games cannot end in a tie. If the scores are even after regular play then there is an overtime period. If the scores are still tied then the game is decided by a penalty shootout.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Part of a metaphorical ladder : JOB
4. Any of the Galápagos : ISLA
8. Color classification quality : CHROMA
14. Italian article : UNA
15. "Angels From the Realms of Glory," e.g. : NOEL
16. Like psychopaths, say : AMORAL
17. Cellphone feature, for short : GPS
18. Sports team management group : FROFFT ONICE (from FRONT OFFICE)
20. "You missed ___" : A SPOT
22. Suffix with diet : -ARY
23. "... boy ___ girl?" : OR A
24. Language for a 37-Down : ERSE
25. Some navels : OUTIES
28. California's ___ Padres National Forest : LOS
29. Digress : GO ON OFF A TANGENT (from GO OFF ON A TANGENT)
32. Word appearing more than 20 times on Iran's flag : ALLAH
33. Like some music : CHORAL
34. ___ meteor shower : LEONID
36. Muscle cramps, e.g. : SPASMS
40. Covered : COATED
44. Capital on the Gulf of Guinea : ACCRA
45. What a mayor wins, usually : ONYEARELECTIOFF
49. Engage in some pillow talk : COO
50. Orion ___ : NEBULA
51. French word with a circumflex : ETRE
52. Play (with) : TOY
53. What portable Apple products run : IOS
54. It can be found in runes : NORSE
56. Toggle ... or a hint to 18-, 29- and 45-Across? : ON/OFF SWITCH
60. Kitten call : MEW
62. Classic 1740 romance subtitled "Virtue Rewarded" : PAMELA
63. Contests : VIES
64. Kind of dye : AZO
65. To some extent : IN A WAY
66. Architect Saarinen : EERO
67. Shiny, say : NEW

Down
1. ___-eared : JUG
2. Out, in a way : ON PAROLE
3. Certain jazz club improvisation : BASS SOLO
4. Dope : INFO
5. To some extent : SORT OF
6. 48-Down follower : LEO
7. Movement founded by Yasser Arafat : AL FATAH
8. Age calculation at a vet clinic : CAT YEARS
9. Medical grp. : HMO
10. ___ Swanson, "Parks and Recreation" boss : RON
11. 13-Down athlete : ORIOLE
12. Diacritical mark : MACRON
13. See 11-Down : AL EAST
19. Popular corn chip, informally : FRITO
21. Expiation : PENANCE
24. Even in Paris? : EGAL
26. Mixed martial arts org. : UFC
27. Lose one's patience with, maybe : SNAP AT
30. Many a Browns fan : OHIOAN
31. Epitome of slowness : GLACIER
35. "This may be controversial, but ..." : DARE I SAY
37. Arthur Conan Doyle, e.g. : SCOTSMAN
38. "Batman" villain in a cryogenic suit : MR FREEZE
39. Cry at home, maybe : SAFE
41. "America's favorite active pro athlete," per a 2012 ESPN poll : TEBOW
42. Slippery : ELUSIVE
43. Singer Lana ___ Rey : DEL
45. Exotic aquarium specimens : OCTOPI
46. Speechwriter who coined the phrase "Read my lips: no new taxes" : NOONAN
47. Classical musician whose career has had its ups and downs? : YOYO MA
48. 6-Down preceder : CANCER
55. Very : OH SO
57. Small number : FEW
58. Fourth-largest state in population: Abbr. : FLA
59. N.H.L. impossibility : TIE
61. "That's crazy!" : WOW


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The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Oh, so now flagrant misspellings are OK to put in the puzzles?? This is just over the top.

Bill Butler said...

The themed puzzles in the New York Times can produce some really wacky answers at times. I'd say that this particular grid is a pretty extreme example.

Some people love wacky, and others hate it ...

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hated it. Doesn't make any sense...I particularly hate these nonsensical "open-ended" clues, as 11 and 13 Down, here... no context except "athlete". From that you're really supposed to get "A.L. East"? When there's no hint it's an abbreviation? If you really did this in 27+ minutes...with the idiotic "On/Off" inversion, I very much congratulate you. I got all the ones that made some degree of sense...but as the above commentator suggested, you can't just string together a bunch of non-words and call it a word puzzle.

Bill Butler said...

I agree with you, that the "athlete" clue seemed to break the rules. And I also found the ON/OFF switch to be an "untidy" theme as we ended up with nonsensical strings of letters as answers instead of words. A clever idea, but it just didn't deliver that sense of satisfaction on solving, for me anyway.

Having said that, the finish times that I quote are exact, and I also note any errors I make and occasions when I can't finish at all. My time of just under 28 minutes was really pedestrian compared to times recorded by others.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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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.

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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