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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

1218-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 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: Adam G. Perl
THEME: Double Play … each of the theme answers is composed of two words, each of which can follow the word “play”:
17A. Place to see a Ferris wheel : FAIRGROUND (play fair & playground)
21A. Period for R&R : DOWN TIME (play down & playtime)
35A. Dorm assignment : ROOMMATE (playroom & playmate)
47A. W.W. I soldier : DOUGHBOY (playdough & playboy)
59A. You can plan on it : DATEBOOK (play date & playbook)

68A. Diamond feat ... and a hint to 17-, 21-, 35-, 47- and 59-Across : DOUBLE PLAY
COMPLETION TIME: 08m 22s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Washer/dryer brand : AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa.

6. Bygone despot : TSAR
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. "Czar" is derived from the word "Caesar", which was synonymous with "emperor" at that time.

16. Sister of Rachel : LEAH
Leah was the older sister of Rachel and the first wife of Jacob. Leahwas also mother of six of the twelve tribes of Israel as she was mother of six of Jacob's sons (she also had one daughter).

17. Place to see a Ferris wheel : FAIRGROUND (play fair & playground)
The first Ferris Wheel was built for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. That wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. who lent his name to wheels built from then on.

20. Fifth-century invader : ATTILA
In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However he never directly attacked Rome.

26. 1950s runner's inits. : 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 by "I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!"

33. Super Giant : OTT
At 5' 9", Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don't think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.

37. Composer Shostakovich : DMITRI
Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer, producing works in the Soviet period. He had a difficult relationship with the Communist Party and twice was officially denounced by the party.

41. Some pancakes : BLINI
A blintz (also “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe, although unlike a crêpe a blintz may contain yeast.

45. Pool choice : SOLIDS
The more correct name for the game of pool is pocket billiards. The name "pool" came after pocket billiards became a common feature in "pool halls", places where gamblers "pooled" their money to bet on horse races.

47. W.W. I soldier : DOUGHBOY (playdough & playboy)
The American soldiers that headed overseas during WWI wear often known as “doughboys”. The term had been used as early as the 1840s and persisted till WWII, when it was quickly replaced by “GI”. There are a number of theories about the origins of “doughboy”, but the exact etymology isn’t too clear.

I think ”playdough” is used now as a generic term, derived from the brand name Play-Doh.

Back in the 1930s, a manufacturer in Cincinnati produced a doughy compound that was used to clean wallpaper. Twenty years later, school-kids started using the cleaning material as a modelling compound, so the manufacturer reworked the formula, and sold it to local schools. It was given the name Play-Doh.

51. "Cómo ___?" : ESTA
"¿Cómo está usted?" is the more formal way of asking, "How are you?" in Spanish.

55. Electrolysis particle : ION
Electrolysis is a chemical process that uses direct current passing through a solution to separate out individual chemicals in that solution. One chemical moves to the anode, and the other to the cathode.

57. Filmmaker Jean-___ Godard : LUC
Jean-Luc Godard is a so-called "Nouvelle Vague" (New Wave) cinematographer, making movies that challenge the conventions of both traditional Hollywood and French cinema.

71. Memo starter : IN RE
The term "in re" is Latin in origin. "In re" literally means "in the matter", and is used to mean "in regard to", or "in the matter of".

73. Curmudgeonly cries : BAHS
Curmudgeon is one of my wife's favorite terms to describe me. A curmudgeon is a bad-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions. I am sure she means it very affectionately ...

75. Classic poem that begins "I think that I shall never see" : TREES
The American journalist and poet Joyce Kilmer is primarily known for his 1913 poem titled “Trees”. The original text of the poem is:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Kilmer died a few years after writing “Trees”. He was a casualty of the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.

Down
1. ___ Romeo : ALFA
The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili ("Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company"), an enterprise founded in 1909. The company was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915, and in 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

6. "The ___ of Steve," 2000 film : TAO
“The Tao of Steve” is a romantic comedy film released in 2000. The story is all about a guy who’s a bit of a slob but who is taught “the Tao of Steve” by friends, a remarkably effective system for seducing women.

7. Gulf war missile : SCUD
Scud missiles were developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Soviets called them R-11 missiles at first, with later versions known as R-17 and R-300 Elbrus. The name "Scud" was actually the name NATO used for the missile, a name created by Western intelligence officers. Ballistic missiles haven't been used much in actual warfare, the exception being the German V-2 rocket attacks on England during WWII. After the V-2, the second most-used ballistic missile in warfare is the Scud, which featured in a number of conflicts:
- used by Egypt against Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973
- used by the USSR in Afghanistan
- used by Libya against a US Coast Guard station in 1986
- used by Iranians and Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88
- used by Iraq in the Gulf War of 1990-91

9. ___ City, California locale named for local flora : REDWOOD
Redwood City is a city on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is a port city located right on San Francisco Bay. It’s also a city where I worked for several years a couple of decades ago ...

11. City near Dayton : XENIA
Xenia, Ohio is in effect a suburb of Dayton. The name "Xenia" is the Greek word for "hospitality".

12. Wonderland cake instruction : EAT ME
In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labelled "DRINK ME". When she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. She also sees a cake adorned with the words "EAT ME", and when she eats the cake she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she utters the famous words, "Curiouser and curiouser".

13. Some brake parts : SHOES
The drum brake was invented in 1902 by Louis Renault (founder of Renault, the automobile company). In a drum brake, there is a set of brake shoes that usually presses on the inner surface of the drum to slow down rotation. Nowadays, the disc brake system is more popular, a design which uses brake pads instead of brake shoes.

18. Dreaded one? : RASTA
I must admit that I don't really understand Rastafarianism. I do know that a "Rasta", like Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair nowadays usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which "dread" is a very positive term meaning "fear of the Lord".

22. Tree that's the source of mace : NUTMEG
The fruit of the nutmeg tree yields two very different spices. What we call “nutmeg” comes from the seed of the tree. “Mace” is the dried covering of the seed.

24. What 6-Down means : PATH
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.

28. Court plea, briefly : NOLO
"Nolo contendere" is a legal term that translates from Latin as "I do not wish to contend". It's the plea of "no contest" and is an alternative to "guilty" or "not guilty", meaning that one doesn't admit guilt but nor does one dispute the charge.

30. All, to Augustus : OMNIA
Gaius Octavius Thurinus (often called Octavian) was the adopted son of Gaius Julius Caesar. After Julius Caesar was assassinated, Octavian came to power in Rome and teamed up with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in what was called the Second Triumvirate. When the triumvirate fell apart, especially after Antony’s defeat at Actium, Octavian became more powerful within the Roman Republic. Several years later he wrested sufficient power from the Roman Senate to end the Republic and begin the Roman Empire. As the first Emperor of Rome, Octavian was given the name Caesar Augustus.

34. Church offering : TITHE
A tithe is traditional payment of one tenth of a person's annual incomeand is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

36. What a leafstalk leads to : MIDRIB
The central vein in a leaf is known as the midrib.

40. The N.H.L.'s Kovalchuk : ILYA
Ilya Kovalchuk is a Russian-born hockey player for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League.

43. "O Come, All Ye Faithful," e.g. : NOEL
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for "birth" (natalis). Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

The lovely hymn "Adeste Fideles" (aka "O Come, All Ye Faithful") was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time.

52. Wing it : AD LIB
"Ad libitum" is a Latin phrase meaning "at one's pleasure". In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to "ad lib". On the stage the concept of an "ad lib" is very familiar. For example, an actor may substitute his or her own words for forgotten lines using an ad lib, or a director may instruct an actor to use his or her own words at a particular point in a performance to promote a sense of spontaneity.

53. Israeli port : HAIFA
Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel and the largest city in the north of the country. Haifa is built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, and is a Mediterranean seaport.

56. #1 Alicia Keys hit of 2007 : NO ONE
Alicia Keys is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.

60. Winged Greek god : EROS
As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male.

61. Composer Weill : KURT
Kurt Weill was a German composer, noted for his work with Bertolt Brecht. The most famous work by Weill and Brecht is “The Threepenny Opera”, which includes the celebrated ballad “Mack the Knife”. Weill was Jewish and had to flee Nazi Germany and eventually settled in the US.

63. It can be found under TUV : OPER
The “operator” key is right under the 8-key on the keypad of a telephone.

64. Peter Fonda title role : ULEE
"Ulee's Gold" is a highly respected film from 1997 in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee's "gold" is the honey that Ulee produces. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda and he has shared that playing Ulee brought to mind his father, Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in "Ulee's Gold" you're witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Washer/dryer brand : AMANA
6. Bygone despot : TSAR
10. Cans : AXES
14. Not conceal : LET ON
15. Adolescent breakout : ACNE
16. Sister of Rachel : LEAH
17. Place to see a Ferris wheel : FAIRGROUND (play fair & playground)
19. Call ___ question : INTO
20. Fifth-century invader : ATTILA
21. Period for R&R : DOWN TIME (play down & playtime)
23. Meeting of the minds? : ESP
25. "After ___" : YOU
26. 1950s runner's inits. : AES
27. Hold ___ (keep) : ONTO
31. Give a good whippin' : TAN
33. Super Giant : OTT
35. Dorm assignment : ROOMMATE (playroom & playmate)
37. Composer Shostakovich : DMITRI
41. Some pancakes : BLINI
42. Barnyard cackler : HEN
44. Online sales : ETAIL
45. Pool choice : SOLIDS
47. W.W. I soldier : DOUGHBOY (playdough & playboy)
49. "But is it ___?" : ART
50. "All right!" : YES
51. "Cómo ___?" : ESTA
52. Distinctive parts of a Boston accent : AHS
55. Electrolysis particle : ION
57. Filmmaker Jean-___ Godard : LUC
59. You can plan on it : DATEBOOK (play date & playbook)
62. Excite : AROUSE
67. One who breaks a court oath : LIAR
68. Diamond feat ... and a hint to 17-, 21-, 35-, 47- and 59-Across : DOUBLE PLAY
70. In that case : IF SO
71. Memo starter : IN RE
72. Curt summons : SEE ME
73. Curmudgeonly cries : BAHS
74. Clears : NETS
75. Classic poem that begins "I think that I shall never see" : TREES

Down
1. ___ Romeo : ALFA
2. Vegetarian's no-no : MEAT
3. Bickering : AT IT
4. "Me neither" : NOR I
5. Matter of degree? : ANGLE
6. "The ___ of Steve," 2000 film : TAO
7. Gulf war missile : SCUD
8. Bug : ANNOY
9. ___ City, California locale named for local flora : REDWOOD
10. Came down : ALIT
11. City near Dayton : XENIA
12. Wonderland cake instruction : EAT ME
13. Some brake parts : SHOES
18. Dreaded one? : RASTA
22. Tree that's the source of mace : NUTMEG
24. What 6-Down means : PATH
27. Spheres : ORBS
28. Court plea, briefly : NOLO
29. Trouble's partner : TOIL
30. All, to Augustus : OMNIA
32. Clinging, say : NEEDY
34. Church offering : TITHE
36. What a leafstalk leads to : MIDRIB
38. Keep ___ on (watch) : TABS
39. Uproariously funny sort : RIOT
40. The N.H.L.'s Kovalchuk : ILYA
43. "O Come, All Ye Faithful," e.g. : NOEL
46. Pinch-hit (for) : STOOD IN
48. Norm : USUAL
52. Wing it : AD LIB
53. Israeli port : HAIFA
54. Secret store : STASH
56. #1 Alicia Keys hit of 2007 : NO ONE
58. Colgate rival : CREST
60. Winged Greek god : EROS
61. Composer Weill : KURT
63. It can be found under TUV : OPER
64. Peter Fonda title role : ULEE
65. "___ here" : SAME
66. Potato's multitude : EYES
69. Wanna-___ : BES

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4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Not all words of the theme follow "play". Some come before, like downplay.

Anonymous said...

Kovalchuk plays for the New Jersey devils

Bill Butler said...

Yes, the word "downplay" exists, but so too does "down play". My guess is that the setter was aiming for all words to follow play, for uniformity.

But I could be wrong. I'm wrong all the time!

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for correcting me on the Kovalchuk information. I am not really a sports fan, and didn't know about the move from the Atlanta Thrashers.

I appreciate the help.

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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.

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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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