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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

1128-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Nov 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: Adam G. Perl
THEME: Algebra … today we need to solve an algebra problem:
17A. Start of an algebra problem : X PLUS Y IS SIXTEEN
36A. The rest of the algebra problem : X MINUS Y IS FOUR
58A. Answer to the algebra problem : X IS TEN AND Y IS SIX

Firstly: x + y = 16
Secondly: x - y = 4
Adding the above two equations gives (x+x) + (y-y) = 16 + 4
or 2x + 0 = 20, so x = 10
Putting x = 10 into the first equation gives
10 + y = 16, so y = 6
Putting x = 10 into the second equation gives
10 - y = 4, confirming that y = 6
COMPLETION TIME: 15m 23s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. "Major" beast : URSA
The constellation called Ursa Major (Latin for "Larger Bear") is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that's what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland: the "plough".

10. Porter's regretful Miss : OTIS
“Miss Otis Regrets” is a Cole Porter composition written in 1934 that is usually sung in a blues style. Porter wrote the song as a friendly bet. He had boasted that he could write a song about any subject, so the challenge from some friends was to create something using the next words they should hear. Porter and friends were at lunch in a restaurant, and they heard a waiter at an adjoining table say “Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today”. And that became a classic song …

14. From Basra, say : IRAQI
It's quite a coincidence that the Iraqi city of Basra has a name that is an anagram of "Arabs", isn't it? Basra also features in the H. G. Wells science-fiction tale "The Shape of Things to Come". Written in 1933, the storyline predicts a global conflict (WWII) that breaks out in 1940 lasting for ten years, after which chaos reigns as no victor emerges. Following worldwide plague, a benevolent dictatorship emerges and the world moves towards a serene utopia. In time, the dictators are overthrown and peacefully retired, and the people of the Earth live happily ever after, all citizens of one global state with its capital in Basra in the Middle East.

15. Time to stuff stockings : NOEL
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for "birth" i.e. "natalis". Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

20. Toby filler : ALE
The verb "mug" means to make an exaggerated facial expression. The term comes from mugs used to drink beer (called Toby mugs) that are the made in the shape of heads with grotesque expressions.

30. Poet with a "fanatic's heart" : YEATS
Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for "inspired poetry" that gave "expression to a whole nation". Yeats was Ireland's first Nobel laureate.

33. Québec assent : OUI
The name "Québec" comes from an Algonquin word "kebec" meaning "where the river narrows". This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.

41. Kitty : POT
The "pot" in a card game has been referred to as the kitty since the 1880s. It's not certain how the name "kitty" evolved but possibly it came from "kit", the necessary equipment for the game.

42. "L'___ c'est moi" : ETAT
"L'Etat, c'est moi" is a French phrase, supposedly spoken by Louis XIV on his deathbed. It translates to "I am the State", and would appear to mean that Louis considered himself to be "above his station" as it were. However, many dispute the quotation, and argue that Louis actually said on his deathbed that even though he was dying, the State would live on.

43. Alternative to Yahoo! : AOL
Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the "America-centric" sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL's success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That's when users referred to AOL as "Always Off-Line".

Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company "Yahoo!" for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". Secondly, Yahoo stands for "Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle".

45. It has feathers and flies : DART
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.

47. Black Sabbath's genre : METAL
Black Sabbath are an English heavy metal band set up in 1969 in Birmingham in the north of the country. Black Sabbath’s most famous band member was the lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy was kicked out of the group in 1979 as his drug usage was becoming overly disruptive.

54. Meditation sounds : OMS
Om is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. Om is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

57. Messenger ___ : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

67. Fictional Flanders and Devine : NEDS
Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV's "The Simpsons". Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

"Waking Ned Devine" is an entertaining comedy film from 1998 set in Ireland. It's all about Ned Devine who wins a fortune from the National Lottery but also who dies before he can claim the prize. The whole village conspires to "keep him alive" so that the winnings will be delivered and the locals can share the loot. Worth a rental ...

69. Historic English county : ESSEX
Essex is a county in England, referred to as one of the “home counties”.

The home counties are the counties that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. "Home county" is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s.

Down
1. Beiderbecke of jazz : BIX
Bix Beiderbecke was a jazz cornet player and composer. Beiderbecke was very influential in the world of jazz in the 1920s in particular and is said to have invented the jazz ballad style.

2. Dadaist Jean : ARP
Hans Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn't the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both "Hans" and "Jean" translate into English as "John". In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. He was sent home …

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement began in Zurich, Switzerland started by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire, frequently expressing disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

5. Fine cotton thread : LISLE
Lisle is a cotton fabric that has been through an extra process at the end of its manufacture that burns off lint and the ends of fibers leaving the fabric very smooth and with a clean edge.

7. Parks in front of a bus? : ROSA
Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white woman. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capital Rotunda.

8. Sonnet part : SESTET
A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

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.

9. Xenophobes' fear : ALIENS
Xenophobia is the uncontrollable fear of foreigners. The word comes from Greek, with “xeno” meaning guest, stranger or foreigner, and “phobia” meaning fear, horror or aversion.

10. Muesli morsel : OAT
"Muesli" is a Swiss-German term describing a breakfast serving of oats, nuts, fruit and milk. Delicious ...

11. Mrs. Robinson's movie : THE GRADUATE
When Mike Nichols was making the 1967 film "The Graduate" he apparently became obsessed with the music of Simon and Garfunkel, who were just coming into the limelight. Nichols made a deal with Paul Simon to write three songs that he could use on the soundtrack of his new movie. Simon and Garfunkel were touring constantly around that time, so Nichols had to badger Simon to hold up his end of the bargain. When Nichols was ready to lay down the film's soundtrack there was only one commissioned song available, so Nichols had to basically beg Paul Simon for anything. Simon mentioned that he was finishing up one new song, but it wasn't written for the film. It was more a celebration of former times, with lyrics about baseball great Joe DiMaggio and former First Lady, Mrs. Roosevelt. Nichols informed Simon that the song was no longer about Mrs. Roosevelt, and it was about Mrs. Robinson ...

23. Menu general : TSO
General Tso's chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zontang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

24. Gumbo thickener : ROUX
A roux is a mixture of wheat flour and clarified butter (or other fat) cooked together until it can be used as a thickening agent. Roux is an essential ingredient in French cooking, although "healthier" versions are being used more and more these days.

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the "holy trinity" of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for this African vegetable is "okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

26. Actress Harper of "No Country for Old Men" : TESS
“No Country for Old Men” is a 2007 thriller made by the Coen brothers that is based on a novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. I have to put this one on my list as I hear good things about it. It won several Oscars and stars Tommy Lee Jones, a favorite actor of mine.

34. Cause of a boom and bust? : TNT
TNT is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand in 1863, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

35. Young newt : EFT
Newts wouldn't be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

37. Smidge : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word "iota" to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

44. "Dropped" drug : LSD
LSD (colloquially known as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn't until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man ...

45. Compound in Agent Orange : DIOXIN
Agent Orange is a defoliant used by the US Military as a chemical weapon, particularly during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is a mixture of two herbicides, and one of these herbicides was shown to be contaminated with an extremely toxic dioxin compound that has been linked to various forms of cancer and birth defects. The name “Agent Orange” arose as the chemical was shipped into the field in 55-gallon barrels with an identifying orange stripe.

47. More Scroogelike : MEANER
The classic 1843 novella "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to the popular use of "Merry Christmas", and secondly it gave us the word "scrooge" meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that the character Scrooge was fond of using the now famous line "Bah! Humbug!".

51. Battlefield fare: Abbr. : MRE
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that's easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

56. Slaughter in baseball : ENOS
Enos Slaughter has a remarkable playing record in Major League Baseball over a 19-year career. Slaughter's record is particularly remarkable given that he left baseball for three years to serve in the military during WWII.

63. Affectionate sign-off : XOX
In the sequence XOX, I think the X represents a kiss, and the O a hug. Hugs and kisses ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Goose egg : BAGEL
6. "Major" beast : URSA
10. Porter's regretful Miss : OTIS
14. From Basra, say : IRAQI
15. Time to stuff stockings : NOEL
16. [sigh] : AH ME
17. Start of an algebra problem : X PLUS Y IS SIXTEEN
20. Toby filler : ALE
21. To ___ (perfectly) : A TEE
22. Heating option : GAS
23. Least fresh : TRITEST
27. Throw one's support behind : ENDORSE
29. "___ nerve!" : SOME
30. Poet with a "fanatic's heart" : YEATS
32. Passage preventers, often : NAYS
33. Québec assent : OUI
34. Jettison : TOSS
35. Outgoing flight stat : ETD
36. The rest of the algebra problem : X MINUS Y IS FOUR
41. Kitty : POT
42. "L'___ c'est moi" : ETAT
43. Alternative to Yahoo! : AOL
45. It has feathers and flies : DART
47. Black Sabbath's genre : METAL
49. Benchmarks: Abbr. : STDS
50. Think tank types : IDEA MEN
52. Like stir-fry : SAUTEED
54. Meditation sounds : OMS
55. One-in-a-million : RARE
57. Messenger ___ : RNA
58. Answer to the algebra problem : X IS TEN AND Y IS SIX
64. Steaming : IRED
65. Causes of some celebrity clashes : EGOS
66. Link with : TIE TO
67. Fictional Flanders and Devine : NEDS
68. Kind of day for a competitive cyclist : REST
69. Historic English county : ESSEX

Down
1. Beiderbecke of jazz : BIX
2. Dadaist Jean : ARP
3. Guy's mate : GAL
4. Regard as identical : EQUATE
5. Fine cotton thread : LISLE
6. Prefix with -form : UNI-
7. Parks in front of a bus? : ROSA
8. Sonnet part : SESTET
9. Xenophobes' fear : ALIENS
10. Muesli morsel : OAT
11. Mrs. Robinson's movie : THE GRADUATE
12. "Fine with me" : I’M EASY
13. Classic quintet : SENSES
18. Response to "Who, me?" : YES, YOU
19. Marked, in a way : XED
23. Menu general : TSO
24. Gumbo thickener : ROUX
25. "Wow!" : I’M IMPRESSED
26. Actress Harper of "No Country for Old Men" : TESS
28. Savvy about : ONTO
31. Until now : AS YET
34. Cause of a boom and bust? : TNT
35. Young newt : EFT
37. Smidge : IOTA
38. "Take ___ a sign" : IT AS
39. Subject of a cap, in sports : SALARY
40. Didn't go by foot : RODE
44. "Dropped" drug : LSD
45. Compound in Agent Orange : DIOXIN
46. Venerate : ADMIRE
47. More Scroogelike : MEANER
48. Tee off : ENRAGE
49. Equilibrium : STASIS
51. Battlefield fare: Abbr. : MRE
53. Pull together : UNITE
56. Slaughter in baseball : ENOS
59. Some highlight reel features, for short : TDS
60. Summer hrs. : DST
61. Parisian's possessive : SES
62. Ore suffix : -ITE
63. Affectionate sign-off : XOX

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The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections

4 comments :

CanadaLes said...

In 1A, I cannot figure out how "bagel" is the answer to the clue "goose egg". Is bagel slang for either zero or a bump on the head? Those are the only definitions of goose egg I am familiar with. Thanks!

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Les.

Yes indeed. I perhaps should have expanded on that clue. Both "bagel" and "goose egg" are slang terms for "zero", the idea being that the number zero has the same shape as a bagel and a goose egg.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

I can understand (34D) the boom of TNT, but not the bust. Please elaborate. Thanks.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there,

Re 34D and TNT, I think the idea is that the use of TNT creates a boom (the explosion) and a "bust" (the destruction of everything near the explosive).

Hope that helps!

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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.

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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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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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