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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth 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

1204-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Dec 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: Elizabeth C. Gorski
THEME: PG Feature … each of today’s theme answers is two words, starting with the letters PG:
20A. Weapons-testing area : PROVING GROUND
31A. Subject of a Euclidean treatise : PLANE GEOMETRY
38A. Cheap seating area in a theater : PEANUT GALLERY
52A. Bride in 1956 news : PRINCESS GRACE
COMPLETION TIME: 08m 33s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. It'll curl your hair : PERM
“Perm” is the name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls. I don't worry about such things as it's a number-one all over for me ...

9. Lou who sang "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" : RAWLS
Lou Rawls was an American soul and blues singer known for his smooth vocal style. With his singing career well on the way, Rawls was asked to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" in 1977 at a Muhammad Ali fight in Madison Square Garden. This performance led to him being asked to sing the anthem many, many times in the coming years with his last rendition being at a World Series game in 2005. Rawls passed away in January of the following year.

14. Muslim leader : IMAM
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

15. Sharpen : HONE
“To hone” is to sharpen, a verb derived from the noun “hone”, a whetstone used in sharpening.

22. Govt.-issued ID : SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an "identity number" to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the ago of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents "disappeared".

23. Monogram in '50s politics : AES
Adlai Stevenson ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were "Don't wait for the translation, answer 'yes' or 'no'!" followed up with, "I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!"

24. Holy communion, e.g. : RITUAL
The Communion rite is the part of the Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition. The rite involves distribution of the Communion bread (the host, a wafer) to the faithful.

27. Prefix with polar or cameral : UNI-
A unicameral legislature is one that has one house or chamber. One example of such an arrangement is the government of Israel, which has one chamber known as the Knesset. “Camera” is the Latin for “chamber”.

28. Wood-shaping tool : ADZE
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool's shaft. An axe's blade is set in line with the shaft.

30. Actress Zadora : PIA
Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Zadora's most famous role was in the 1982 film "Butterfly" in which she worked with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel "The Butterfly" by James M. Cain and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.

31. Subject of a Euclidean treatise : PLANE GEOMETRY
Euclid of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician who was active around 300 BC, and who is often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". Euclid wrote a famous book called "Elements" on the subject of mathematics, a book that was so enduring that it was used as the main textbook for the subject right up to the late 19th century.

34. Former home of the Mets : SHEA
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled (not imploded) in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

36. FedEx competitor : DHL
Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born ... D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn).

FedEx began operations in 1973 as Federal Express, but now operates very successfully under it's more catchy abbreviated name. Headquartered in Memphis with its "SuperHub" at Memphis International Airport, FedEx is the world's largest airline in terms of tons of freight flown. And due to the presence of FedEx, Memphis Airport has the largest-volume cargo operation of any airport worldwide.

37. Deep-six : TOSS
To deep-six something is to toss it, possibly overboard, or to completely destroy it. The derivation of this slang term is from “six feet deep”, not the length of a fathom but rather the traditional depth of a grave.

38. Cheap seating area in a theater : PEANUT GALLERY
The term “peanut gallery” arose in the days of vaudeville theater. The rowdiest audience members were in the cheapest seats, and ate the cheapest snack available, namely peanuts. Sometimes the rowdy patrons would throw peanuts onto the stage, all of which led to the cheapest seats becoming known as the peanut gallery.

44. Some coll. tests : GRES
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

45. France's ___ de Ré : ILE
Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France, a few kilometers away from the seaport of La Rochelle.

52. Bride in 1956 news : PRINCESS GRACE
The lovely American actress Grace Kelly led the US delegation to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 and there she met Prince Rainier III, at a photo-op in the Palace of Monaco. Twelve months later the pair were married and Kelly retired from acting at the age of 26. She suffered a stroke while driving her car in 1982, not long before her 53rd birthday. She died in the resulting car crash but her daughter, Princess Stéphanie, survived the accident.

56. Idaho's capital : BOISE
Boise, Idaho is the largest metropolitan area in the state by far. There are a number of stories pertaining to the etymology of the name “Boise”. One is that French trappers named the tree-lined river that ran through the area “la rivière boisée”, meaning “the wooded river”.

59. Lunchbox treats : OREOS
The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

60. Earth, to Brahms : ERDE
“Erde” is the German word for "earth".

Johannes Brahms was a leading German composer from the Romantic period. Brahms is one of the "Three Bs" of western classical music, often grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.

62. "The Man Who ___ There" : WASN'T
“The Man Who Wasn't There” is a 2001 film from the Coen brothers starring Billy Bob Thornton in the title role.

63. U.S. 1, e.g. : ROAD
64. U.S. 1 and others: Abbr. : RTES
US Route 1 runs from Fort Kent in Maine right down to Key West in Florida.

Down
2. Mideast moguls : EMIRS
An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written as “amir” and “ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

4. Year of Super Bowl XXXVIII : MMIV
Super Bowl XXXVIII was played in Houston, Texas in February 2004, with the New England Patriots defeating the Carolina Panthers. The game is remembered by many for the halftime show, which featured Janet Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction”.

6. Troubadour's repertoire : SONGS
A troubadour was a composer and musician of the Middle Ages whose works dealt mainly with chivalry and courtly love. Troubadours were usually men, and a female troubadour would have been called a trobairitz.

7. "The children were nestled all ___ in their beds" : SNUG
The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line "'Twas the night before Christmas". Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. a poet from Upstate New York.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash ...

9. "Dies Irae," e.g. : REQUIEM
"Dies Irae" is Latin for "Day of Wrath". It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

10. ___-garde : AVANT
People described as being avant-garde are especially innovative. "Avant-garde" is French for “advance guard”.

12. TV screen choice, for short : LCD
Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. They basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

18. William and Harry's mother : DIANA
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife Prince Charles, heir to the British throne. Diana and Charles had two children, William and Harry, who are second and third in line to the throne, after their father. Famously, Diana died in a car crash in 1997 in Paris while being chased by paparazzi.

21. Ricelike pasta : ORZO
Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, "orzo" is the Italian word for "barley".

25. What hoity-toity people put on : AIRS
Believe it or not, the word "hoity-toity" has been in the English language since the 1660s, but back then it meant "riotous behavior". It began to mean "haughty" in the late 1800s, simply because the two terms sounded familiar.

26. Major chip maker : LAY’S
Lay's potato chips were founded in 1938, by Herman W. Lay. Lay started selling his chips out the trunk of his car, travelling all over the US. In those days the chips were pretty much handmade, but Lay put an end to that in 1942. He invented the first continuous potato processor in 1948, and chips started to take over the world!

27. ___ Bator : ULAN
The name "Ulan Bator" translates from Mongolian as "the Red Hero", and is Mongolia's capital city. The "Red Hero" name was chosen in honor of the country's national figure, Damdin Sükhbaatar. Sükhbaatar fought alongside the Soviet Red Army in the fight for liberation from Chinese occupation.

28. Eastern leaders : AGHAS
"Aga" (also "agha") is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

29. Big name in computers : DELL
Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

33. To be, to Bernadette : ETRE
The French for “to be” is “être”.

34. Target of a filter : SPAM
I think that the oft-quoted story may be true that the term "SPAM", used for unwanted email, is taken from a "Monty Python" sketch. In the sketch (which I've seen) the dialog is taken over by the word SPAM, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So "SPAM" is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a "Monty Python" sketch to describe an online phenomenon ...

35. Queen in Greek myth : HERA
In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

39. Least pulchritudinous : UGLIEST
“Pulchritude” is great physical beauty, from the Latin “pulcher” meaning beautiful.

40. 1982 Jeff Bridges flick : TRON
Released in 1982, "Tron" was one of the first mainstream films to make extensive use of computer graphics. The starring role is played by Jeff Bridges.

The first major role for Jeff Bridges was in the wonderful 1971 movie, "The Last Picture Show". My favorite Bridges movie though is 1984's "Starman" in which he played a very charming alien opposite Karen Allen. As an amateur photographer myself, I also appreciate Jeff Bridges' photographic work. I own his book of fabulous images called "Pictures: Photographs by Jeff Bridges".

41. Kind of oil : LINSEED
Linseed oil is also known as flaxseed oil, as it is extracted from the dried seeds of the flax plant.

42. Somber song : ELEGY
Perhaps the most famous elegy in the English language is that written by Thomas Gray, completed in 1750. His “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is the source of many oft-quoted phrases, including:
- Celestial fire
- Far from the Madding Crowd
- Kindred spirit

48. Nutritional datum, in brief : US RDA
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

50. "Me and Bobby ___" : MCGEE
Janis Joplin recorded the song “Me and Bobby McGee” just a few days before she died in 1970. The song was released anyway, and it became Joplin’s only number one single. There have been just two posthumous number one singles, Joplin's “Me and Bobby McGee”, and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay”.

53. "Burlesque" co-star, 2010 : CHER
Cher's real name is Cherilyn Sarkisian, born in 1946. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in "Silkwood". She went further in 1998 and won the Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in "Moonstruck".

“Burlesque” is a 2010 musical film starring Cher and Christina Aguilera.

54. 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.

56. Cellist's purchase : BOW
The word “cello” is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation ‘cello was often used. Nowadays we just drop the apostrophe.

57. ___ pro nobis : ORA
"Ora pro nobis" translates from Latin as "pray for us". It is a common term used in the Roman Catholic tradition and is often shortened to "OPN".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. It'll curl your hair : PERM
5. Hushed "Wanna hear something?!" : PSST
9. Lou who sang "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" : RAWLS
14. Muslim leader : IMAM
15. Sharpen : HONE
16. Force out : EVICT
17. Small treat for a coffee break : MINI DONUT
19. Post-lecture session : Q AND A
20. Weapons-testing area : PROVING GROUND
22. Govt.-issued ID : SSN
23. Monogram in '50s politics : AES
24. Holy communion, e.g. : RITUAL
27. Prefix with polar or cameral : UNI-
28. Wood-shaping tool : ADZE
30. Actress Zadora : PIA
31. Subject of a Euclidean treatise : PLANE GEOMETRY
34. Former home of the Mets : SHEA
36. FedEx competitor : DHL
37. Deep-six : TOSS
38. Cheap seating area in a theater : PEANUT GALLERY
43. Lob's path : ARC
44. Some coll. tests : GRES
45. France's ___ de Ré : ILE
46. Hawaiian "thank you" : MAHALO
48. French article : UNE
49. "Very interesting ..." : HMM
52. Bride in 1956 news : PRINCESS GRACE
56. Idaho's capital : BOISE
58. "As requested ..." : HERE YOU GO ...
59. Lunchbox treats : OREOS
60. Earth, to Brahms : ERDE
61. From the top : ANEW
62. "The Man Who ___ There" : WASN'T
63. U.S. 1, e.g. : ROAD
64. U.S. 1 and others: Abbr. : RTES

Down
1. Gussies up, in modern slang : PIMPS
2. Mideast moguls : EMIRS
3. Kept talking and talking : RAN ON
4. Year of Super Bowl XXXVIII : MMIV
5. Call a radio host, say : PHONE IN
6. Troubadour's repertoire : SONGS
7. "The children were nestled all ___ in their beds" : SNUG
8. Four: Prefix : TETR-
9. "Dies Irae," e.g. : REQUIEM
10. ___-garde : AVANT
11. Clapping monkey or chattering teeth : WIND-UP TOY
12. TV screen choice, for short : LCD
13. Subway stop: Abbr. : STA
18. William and Harry's mother : DIANA
21. Ricelike pasta : ORZO
25. What hoity-toity people put on : AIRS
26. Major chip maker : LAY’S
27. ___ Bator : ULAN
28. Eastern leaders : AGHAS
29. Big name in computers : DELL
31. August bake sale inventory : PEACH PIES
32. Slight advantage : EDGE
33. To be, to Bernadette : ETRE
34. Target of a filter : SPAM
35. Queen in Greek myth : HERA
39. Least pulchritudinous : UGLIEST
40. 1982 Jeff Bridges flick : TRON
41. Kind of oil : LINSEED
42. Somber song : ELEGY
47. Hot crime topic? : ARSON
48. Nutritional datum, in brief : US RDA
49. Visit in a ghostly way : HAUNT
50. "Me and Bobby ___" : MCGEE
51. Cat calls : MEOWS
53. "Burlesque" co-star, 2010 : CHER
54. Architect Saarinen : EERO
55. Jet engine sound : ROAR
56. Cellist's purchase : BOW
57. ___ pro nobis : ORA

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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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