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Vacation Alert

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

1201-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 Dec 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: Joon Pahk
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 23m 03s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. What many a character in "The Iceman Cometh" expresses : PIPE DREAM
In common parlance, a “pipe dream” is a vain hope for something that is unlikely to take place. The original pipe dreams were visions that were experienced after taking opiates.

"The Iceman Cometh" is a play written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill and first performed in 1946 on Broadway. The play centers on some down-and-out men in a shabby saloon in Manhattan. The title is a reference to the "ice man", the man who would have delivered ice to homes back in the time of the play. The reference is to a bawdy joke in which the "ice man" was having an affair with someone's wife.

10. Part of a Spanish forest : ARBOL
“Arbol” is Spanish for “tree”.

15. 1997 voice role for Meg Ryan : ANASTASIA
"Anastasia" is an animated musical from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. The storyline is based on the urban myth that Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, survived the family's execution by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Anastasia is voiced by Meg Ryan, although when Anastasia sings she is played by Liz Callaway.

18. Corny fare? : PONES
Pone is another word for corn bread, from the Powhatan word “apan” meaning “something baked”.

19. Second-largest moon in the solar system : TITAN
Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. Titan is unusual in many ways, including the fact that it is the only known satellite in the solar system that is has its own atmosphere (our own moon does not, for example). Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system, after Ganymede that orbits Jupiter. Titan is so large that it has a greater volume than Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet.

20. Month before Tishri : ELUL
Elul is the month in the Hebrew calendar that occurs in August-September.

22. Astronomer's calculation: Abbr. : GST
Greenwich Sidereal Times (GST).

Astronomers use sidereal time to know where to locate given stars in the night sky. Sidereal time is a time scale that takes into account the Earth’s rotation relative to stars with a fixed location in the night sky.

23. Lab directive? : STAY
The Labrador breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s.

24. Desert gullies : WADIS
"Wadi" is an Arabic term referring to a valley, or perhaps a (mostly) dry riverbed. In English we might call this a wash, or in Spanish an "arroyo".

26. Letter after Oscar : PAPA
The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie etc.

27. The dark side : YIN
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

38. Where blackbirds may be baked? : IN A PIE
“Sing a Song of Sixpence” is an English nursery rhyme that dates back to the 1700s. In the rhyme there are a couple of lines that go :
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie
This seems to be a reference to the practice in the 16th century of “baking” live birds into a pie for special occasions. When the crust was cut open the birds would fly away, much to the amusement of the diners.

39. Poses a bomb threat? : GOES DEEP
A bomb is a long pass in American football, for which a receiver would have to “go deep”.

40. Emulated Tiresias : FORESAW
Tiresias of Thebes was a blind prophet of Greek mythology. Tiresias was noted for his seven-year transformation into a woman.

43. Texter's "bye now" : TTYL
Talk To You Later (TTYL).

46. "Every saint has a ___": Oscar Wilde : PAST
If you didn't know Oscar Wilde was Irish, you will when you see the name he was given at birth: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde!

50. Magic, on scoreboards : ORL
The Orlando Magic were formed in 1989 as an NBA expansion team. A local paper was asked to run a competition to suggest names for the new team and the community came up with its four top picks of "Heat", "Tropics", "Juice" and "Magic". A committee then opted for "Orlando Magic". A good choice I think ...

51. Subject of King Deioces : MEDE
Deioces was the first king of the Medes.

The Medes were an ancient people that lived in what is now northwestern Iran. The Medes held sway in the region only for about 60 years, until Cyrus the Great came along and defeated Astyages, the king of Media (not to be confused with Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed "king of all media"!).

52. Eponymous container : DEWAR
A vacuum flask is also called a Dewar flask, named after the container’s inventor Sir James Dewar. A Dewar flask is made from two flasks, one inside the other and joined at the neck. The gap between the flasks is evacuated so that there is very little air to conduct heat or transmit heat by convection from inside one flask to the outside of the other.

53. National Voting Rights Museum locale : SELMA
The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day.

55. Virginia v. Sebelius subject, in headlines : OBAMACARE
Virginia v. Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services was the decision made by the US Supreme Court upholding most provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).

59. Prominently demonstrated : WRIT LARGE
Something “writ large” is expressed in a more obvious way.

61. 1999 Best Director winner : SAM MENDES
Sam Mendes is a director from England known for directing “American Beauty”, “Road to Perdition” and the James Bond movie “Skyfall”. Mendes was married for several years to actress Kate Winslet.

Down
2. Certain harpooner : INUIT
The Inuit peoples live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

4. Locke work : ESSAY
John Locke was the English philosopher who postulated that the mind is a blank slate (or "tabula rasa") when we are born, and that we fill that slate with our experiences and observations.

7. That, in Toledo : ESO
Toledo is a city in central Spain.

9. Fill-in-the-blank story : MAD LIB
Mad Libs is a word game, usually played by American kids. The idea is that one player provides a list of words which are then inserted into blank spots in a story, usually with hilarious results (they say!).

10. Washer, e.g.: Abbr. : APPL
A washer is an appliance (appl.)

11. 2014 World Cup locale, for short : RIO
The next three FIFA World Cups (soccer) will be hosted by Brazil (2014), Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022).

12. India's so-called "Garden City" : BANGALORE
Bangalore is the third most-populous city in India and is located in the south of the country. Today Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India because it is a center of excellence for all things related to the semiconductor and information technology industries. I had the privilege of spending a very enjoyable few days working in Bangalore when I was in that line of work.

21. Paywall charges : USER FEES
A paywall is the system used by websites to protect content from being accessed by anyone who isn’t a paid-up subscriber.

27. Beasts of the East : YETIS
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. "Yeti" is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

29. "1234" singer, 2007 : FEIST
Feist is the stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist. Feist sings as a solo act, and is also a member of the indie rock group Broken Social Scene.

31. Egg-laying mammal : MONOTREME
Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. The most famous example of a monotreme has to be the platypus.

32. Belladonna lily : AMARYLLIS
Plants of the genus Amaryllis are known as belladonna lilies, although they are only distant cousins of lilies. The shape of the flower of an Amaryllis plant only resembles that of a lily.

34. Dutch financial giant : ING
ING is a huge Dutch banking institution created via a merger in 1991. The company headquarters is in a spectacular building in Amsterdam called simply ING House. ING stands for Internationale Nederlanden Groep.

41. ___ walk (old house feature) : WIDOW’S
Some older coastal houses may have a railed rooftop platform that is called a widow’s walk. Despite the romantic myth that such structures were used by the wives and widows of mariners to look out to sea, a widow’s walk is just an architectural feature.

45. "I finally got around to reading the dictionary. Turns out the ___ did it": Steven Wright : ZEBRA
Steven Wright is a remarkable and drole comedian from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

51. Bread spread : MAYO
Mayonnaise originated in the town of Mahon in Menorca, a Mediterranean island belonging to Spain. The Spanish called the sauce “salsa mahonesa” after the town, and this morphed into the French word “mayonnaise” which we use today.

57. "Hill Street Blues" production co. : MTM
MTM Enterprises was a television production company founded in 1969 by Mary Tyler Moore, originally to produce the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. The company subsequently produced the likes of “The Bob Newhart Show”, “Rhoda”, “WKRP in Cincinnati”, “Hill Street Blues” and “St. Elsewhere”. That’s a lot of great television ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. What many a character in "The Iceman Cometh" expresses : PIPE DREAM
10. Part of a Spanish forest : ARBOL
15. 1997 voice role for Meg Ryan : ANASTASIA
16. It's in front of a benched player : PIANO
17. It may be replaced by a dash : CURSE WORD
18. Corny fare? : PONES
19. Second-largest moon in the solar system : TITAN
20. Month before Tishri : ELUL
22. Astronomer's calculation: Abbr. : GST
23. Lab directive? : STAY
24. Desert gullies : WADIS
26. Letter after Oscar : PAPA
27. The dark side : YIN
28. Happens to : BEFALLS
30. Italian almond cookies : AMARETTI
35. Put more layers on : RECOAT
36. Tremendously : SOMETHING FIERCE
38. Where blackbirds may be baked? : IN A PIE
39. Poses a bomb threat? : GOES DEEP
40. Emulated Tiresias : FORESAW
42. Realize : NET
43. Texter's "bye now" : TTYL
44. All ___ (store sign) : SIZES
46. "Every saint has a ___": Oscar Wilde : PAST
50. Magic, on scoreboards : ORL
51. Subject of King Deioces : MEDE
52. Eponymous container : DEWAR
53. National Voting Rights Museum locale : SELMA
55. Virginia v. Sebelius subject, in headlines : OBAMACARE
58. Accord : AMITY
59. Prominently demonstrated : WRIT LARGE
60. Binary, in a way : YES/NO
61. 1999 Best Director winner : SAM MENDES

Down
1. Accords : PACTS
2. Certain harpooner : INUIT
3. First section : PART A
4. Locke work : ESSAY
5. Decahedron-shaped die, to a gamer : D-TEN
6. Still green, or still red : RAW
7. That, in Toledo : ESO
8. Ran : AIRED
9. Fill-in-the-blank story : MAD LIB
10. Washer, e.g.: Abbr. : APPL
11. 2014 World Cup locale, for short : RIO
12. India's so-called "Garden City" : BANGALORE
13. It's beside the point : ONE’S PLACE
14. Got older and slower : LOST A STEP
21. Paywall charges : USER FEES
24. Effortlessly : WITH EASE
25. Like con men? : ANTI
26. Betrayed anxiety, say : PACED
27. Beasts of the East : YETIS
29. "1234" singer, 2007 : FEIST
30. Seemingly expressing : AS IF TO SAY
31. Egg-laying mammal : MONOTREME
32. Belladonna lily : AMARYLLIS
33. What like charges do : REPEL
34. Dutch financial giant : ING
37. No longer to be found : GONE
41. ___ walk (old house feature) : WIDOW’S
45. "I finally got around to reading the dictionary. Turns out the ___ did it": Steven Wright : ZEBRA
46. Tough nut to crack : PECAN
47. Court determination : AWARD
48. Certain noncom : SARGE
49. They may be clear-cut : TREES
51. Bread spread : MAYO
52. Lowland : DALE
54. High point: Abbr. : MTN
56. Direct : AIM
57. "Hill Street Blues" production co. : MTM

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The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

26 Across: Isn't the "P" in NATO code "PETE"?

Bart Berlin said...

Thanks for an insightful commentary. Isn't the Iceman a metaphor for death in the play?

Packetman said...

25 years in the Navy... I'll guarantee it is "PAPA" (to emphasise the sound of the "P")

Bill Butler said...

There are quite a few different phonetic alphabets in English, I think. I agree with Packetman that PAPA is P in the NATO alphabet. I believe that other alphabets, including NYPD's, use P for Peter.

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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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