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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! We had probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

1206-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 6 Dec 12, Thursday





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: Jill Denny & Jeff Chen
THEME: pH Scale … today’s crossword is a rebus puzzle, with the letters PH in some squares:
49A. Theme of this puzzle : PH SCALE

5A. Substances high on the 49-Across : BASES
37A. Substance in the middle of the 49-Across : WATER
62A. Substances low on the 49-Across : ACIDS
COMPLETION TIME: 14m 53s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Needle holder : TACH
The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word "tachos" meaning "speed". A tachometer measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).

14. Federal watchdog agcy. : OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

17. Half an Asian capital? : PHNOM
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, and has been since the French colonized the country in the late 1800s. The city's name translates from the Khmer language as "Hill of Penh".

21. Stick (to) : HEW
“To hew to” is to conform to a rule or principle.

22. Vixen feature : ANTLER
We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:
- Dasher
- Dancer
- Prancer
- Vixen
- Comet
- Cupid
- Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
- Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)
Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

26. "Typee" sequel : OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for "Moby Dick"). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for "Typee"). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for "Omoo").

35. Nigerian native : IBO
The Igbo (or Ibo) people are an ethnic group living in southeastern Nigeria.

39. Actress Long : NIA
Nia Long is an American actress, probably best known for playing Will Smith's sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes, on the TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".

42. Contemporary of Aeschylus : SOPHOCLES
Sophocles was one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived. The first of these was Aeschylus, the second Sophocles, and the third Euripides. Sophocles is believed to have written 123 plays, the most famous of which are "Antigone" and "Oedipus the King".

44. N.L. East team, informally : PHILS
Philadelphia’s baseball team was founded in 1883 as the Quakers, with the name changing to the Philadelphias and Phillies not long into the team’s history. The Phillies have been based in the same city using the same team name longer than any other team in US professional sports.

45. Place for cargo : HOLD
Our word "cargo" is Spanish for "burden". The Spanish word in turn comes from the Latin "carricare" meaning "to load onto a cart". Quite interesting ...

46. Fictional captive in carbonite : HAN SOLO
At one point in the “Star Wars” storyline, Han Solo was imprisoned in a block of carbonite, a fictional substance created just for the movies.

Han Solo is the space smuggler in "Star Wars" played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for "Star Wars", but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

49. Theme of this puzzle : PH SCALE
5. Substances high on the 49-Across : BASES

37A. Substance in the middle of the 49-Across : WATER

62. Substances low on the 49-Across : ACIDS
As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral, and water is the primary example of a substance with a pH equal to seven. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

52. Mich. neighbor : WIS
Wisconsin is named for the Wisconsin River, the longest river in the state. The famous missionary Father Jacques Marquette recorded the Algonquian name for the river as “Meskousing”. This was modified by French explorers to “Ouisconsin”, with the first syllable pronounced just like the French word for “yes” … “oui’. In the early 1800s this was anglicized to “Wisconsin”.

53. Destructive pest : APHID
Aphids are called "greenfly" back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids in my experience is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called "ladybirds" in Ireland!).

54. ___-Tass news agency : ITAR-
TASS is the abbreviation used for the former news agency that had the full name Telegraph Association of the Soviet Union (Telegrafnoe Agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza). When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1992, the Moscow-based agency's scope changed along with its name. It is now known as the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS).

57. DVR system : TIVO
TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world's first commercially successful DVR (Digital Video Recorder). If you don't have a DVR, you might want to consider getting one. For those who enjoy television, it's very liberating ...

60. Six-Day War leader Weizman : EZER
Ezer Weizman was the seventh President of Israel. Earlier in his career, Weizman was a combat pilot in the UK’s Royal Air Force and rose to Commander of the Israeli Air Force. He also served as Minister of Defense before becoming President.

Down
1. Bit of attire for Mr. Monopoly : TOP HAT
Mr. Monopoly is also known as Rich “Uncle” Pennybags, and is the mascot of the game Monopoly. For years you could spot Mr. Monopoly reaching out of the “O” in the word "Monopoly" inscribed on the game board.

2. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star : ASNER
Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and on the spin-off drama "Lou Grant". Off-screen, Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When "Lou Grant" was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact one of Asner's activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever), found that his show "WKRP in Cincinnati" was also cancelled ... on the very same day ...

4. Deli choice : HAM ON RYE
The word "delicatessen" (or “deli” for short) came into English from the German "Delikatessen". The Germans borrowed the word from French, in which language "délicatesse" means "delicious things (to eat)". The terms ultimate root is "delicatus", the Latin for "giving pleasure, delightful".

5. Whole lot : BUSHEL
In the imperial system of weights and measures, a bushel is a unit of dry volume made up of 4 pecks. In the US system, a bushel is a dry volume of 8 gallons.

7. Cargo vessel : SCOW
A scow is a flat-bottomed boat with squared off ends that's often used for transportation, usually pushed or pulled by a barge. Often a scow can be seen carrying junk or garbage.

8. E.E.C. part: Abbr. : EUR
The European Economic Community (also called "the Common Market") was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today's European Union.

23. Entre ___ : NOUS
"Entre nous" is French for "between us".

25. Lieutenant ___ of "Forrest Gump" : DAN
Actor Gary Sinise was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the 1994 film "Forrest Gump". Senise has been playing the lead in television's "CSI: NY" since 2004. The actor was awarded the Presidential citizen medal by President George W. Bush for his work helping Iraqi school children and his work with the USO.

The epic 1994 movie “Forrest Gump” is based on a 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. Groom said that he had envisioned John Goodman playing the title role, and not Tom Hanks.

30. PayPal purchaser : EBAY
PayPal has been around since the year 2000, born out of a merger of two older companies: Confinity and X.com. PayPal was so successful that it was the first of the beleaguered dot.com companies to successfully complete an IPO after the attacks of 9/11. Then in 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion.

33. "Charles in Charge" star : BAIO
Scott Baio is the actor who played Chachi Arcola in the great sitcom “Happy Days” and in the not so great spin-off “Joanie Loves Chachi”. Baio also played the title role in a later sitcom called “Charles in Charge”. Earlier in his career, he played another title role, in the 1976 movie “Bugsy Malone”, appearing opposite a young Jodie Foster.

37. Big name in flying : WALLENDA
The Flying Wallendas is a circus act noted for highwire routines that are performed without a net. The original Wallenda troupe was from Germany, and first performed in the US in Madison Square Garden in 1928. The safety net that was used by the act was lost in transit and so the Wallendas made their first American performance without a net to the delight of the crowd. Working without a net then became the act’s trademark. Despite many tragic incidents that have resulted in deaths, Wallenda family members are performing to this day.

43. Scarlett's kin : O'HARAS
Rhett Butler hung out with Scarlett O'Hara at the Tara plantation in Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind". Tara was founded by Scarlett's father, Irish immigrant Gerald O'Hara. Gerald named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland.

44. Futuristic weapons : PHASERS
A MASER is a device that was around long before LASERs came into the public consciousness. A MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is similar to a LASER, but microwaves are emitted rather than light waves. When the storyline for "Star Trek" was being developed, the writers introduced a weapon called a "phaser", with the name "phaser" derived from PHoton mASER.

49. Do some online skulduggery : PHISH
Phishing is the name given to the online practice of stealing user names, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a variant of the word "fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PIN numbers etc."

51. Women's rights pioneer Elizabeth ___ Stanton : CADY
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the earliest leaders of the woman's rights and woman's suffrage movements in the United States. Notably, she opposed the extension of voting rights to African American men (the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments), even though she was an outspoken abolitionist. She believed that increasing the number of male voters in the country would just make it harder for women to get the vote.

52. Surcharge item in many hotels : WI-FI
"Wi-Fi" is nothing more than a trademark, a trademark registered by an association of manufacturers of equipment that use wireless LAN (Local Area Network) technology. A device labeled with "Wi-Fi" has to meet certain defined technical standards, basically meaning that the devices can talk to each other. The name “Wi-Fi” suggests “Wireless Fidelity”, although apparently the term was never intended to mean anything at all.

56. Federal agcy. of 1946-75 : AEC
The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was set up right after WWII in 1946, with the aim of promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy. Establishing the AEC was a significant move made by President Truman, as it passed control of atomic energy from the military to the civilian sector. The AEC continued to operate until 1974 when its functions were divided up into two new agencies: the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Needle holder : TACH
5. Substances high on the 49-Across : BASES
10. Ring : PHONE
14. Federal watchdog agcy. : OSHA
15. Complete : UNCUT
16. Swear : AVOW
17. Half an Asian capital? : PHNOM
18. Cache : STORE
19. End of a haircut? : NAPE
20. ___-engine : AERO-
21. Stick (to) : HEW
22. Vixen feature : ANTLER
24. Leaned in one direction : TRENDED
26. "Typee" sequel : OMOO
27. Verbalized : ORAL
28. Won : TRIUMPHED
32. Delivery person : OB/GYN
34. Programs : CODES
35. Nigerian native : IBO
36. House starter or ender : WARE- or -WARE
37. Substance in the middle of the 49-Across : WATER
38. Program : PLAN
39. Actress Long : NIA
40. Avid : EAGER
41. Lifts : BUOYS
42. Contemporary of Aeschylus : SOPHOCLES
44. N.L. East team, informally : PHILS
45. Place for cargo : HOLD
46. Fictional captive in carbonite : HAN SOLO
49. Theme of this puzzle : PH SCALE
52. Mich. neighbor : WIS
53. Destructive pest : APHID
54. ___-Tass news agency : ITAR-
55. Foolable : NAIVE
57. DVR system : TIVO
58. Pop : SODA
59. Hold off : DEFER
60. Six-Day War leader Weizman : EZER
61. Some map lines: Abbr. : HWYS
62. Substances low on the 49-Across : ACIDS
63. Capitol V.I.P.'s: Abbr. : SENS

Down
1. Bit of attire for Mr. Monopoly : TOP HAT
2. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star : ASNER
3. Arrange : CHOREOGRAPH
4. Deli choice : HAM ON RYE
5. Whole lot : BUSHEL
6. Chipped in : ANTED
7. Cargo vessel : SCOW
8. E.E.C. part: Abbr. : EUR
9. More erotic : STEAMIER
10. Unreal : PHANTOM
11. Elliptical : OVAL
12. "Fat chance!" : NOPE
13. Pitcher : EWER
23. Entre ___ : NOUS
25. Lieutenant ___ of "Forrest Gump" : DAN
26. Command : ORDER
28. Lugs : TOTES
29. Speculate superficially : PHILOSOPHIZE
30. PayPal purchaser : EBAY
31. Gets into : DONS
32. Dominates : OWNS
33. "Charles in Charge" star : BAIO
34. Imprisoned : CAGED
37. Big name in flying : WALLENDA
38. Beats : PULSATES
40. Subj. for a forest ranger : ECOL
41. Recycling ___ : BIN
43. Scarlett's kin : O'HARAS
44. Futuristic weapons : PHASERS
46. Gathered, as bees : HIVED
47. Energize : LIVEN
48. Olfactory ticklers : ODORS
49. Do some online skulduggery : PHISH
50. Place, as cargo : STOW
51. Women's rights pioneer Elizabeth ___ Stanton : CADY
52. Surcharge item in many hotels : WI-FI
56. Federal agcy. of 1946-75 : AEC

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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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