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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

1219-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 19 Dec 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: Mike Buckley
THEME: Miles Thinks … today’s themed answers give us a thought from British journalist Miles Kington:
17A. Start of a thought by British journalist Miles Kington : KNOWLEDGE IS
23A. Thought, part 2 : KNOWING A TOMATO
30A. Thought, part 3 : IS A FRUIT
42A. Thought, part 4 : WISDOM IS
48A. Thought, part 5 : NOT PUTTING IT IN
57A. End of the thought : A FRUIT SALAD
COMPLETION TIME: 09m 06s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Bamboo muncher : PANDA
Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.

6. Paparazzo's target : CELEB
The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film "La Dolce Vita" translates from Italian as "The Good Life". There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character that gives us "Paparazzi", a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

11. "Very Funny" network : TBS
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) adopted the slogan “Very Funny” in 2004. The slogan is meant to contrast TBS with its sister channel TNT, which focuses on drama shows. The TNT slogan is “Drama, Period”.

14. Like radon : INERT
Radon is a radioactive gas, a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

15. Scout pack leader : AKELA
Akela is the wolf in the "Jungle Book". He gave his name to the cubmaster in the scouting movement, now known as Akela.

16. Spinks's opponent in two title fights : ALI
Leon Spinks is former professional boxer from St. Louis, Missouri. Spinks’s greatest bout had to be his 1978 fight with Muhammad Ali that Spinks won by a unanimous decision. The fight was for the world heavyweight title, and marked the only time Muhammad Ali lost a title in the ring. However, Spinks was stirpped of his title when he refused to defend it against Ken Norton. Spinks opted instead to have a rematch with Ali in 1979, and this time it was Ali who won by a unanimous decision.

17. Start of a thought by British journalist Miles Kington : KNOWLEDGE IS
Miles Kington was a British journalist noted for his humorous columns. In particular he wrote a fabulous series of columns written in Franglais, an entertaining mixture of English and French. He published several books based on his columns such as “Let’s Parler Franglais!” and “The Franglais lieutenant’s woman”.

19. CD-___ : ROM
CD-ROM stands for "compact disc read only memory". The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for "compact disc - rewritable", with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

20. Falstaff's princely friend : HAL
“Prince Hal” is a term used for Prince Henry, the son of the title character in Shakespeare’s plays “Henry IV, Part 1” and “Henry IV, Part 2”. Prince Hal then becomes the King in Shakespeare's “Henry V”.

Sir John Falstaff is the lead character in Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and a supporting character in the two “Henry IV” plays. Falstaff is a self-promoting, obese and cowardly man. In "King Henry IV, part I", Falstaff refers to his portly size, saying, "thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty."

29. A Monopoly token : IRON
There are 12 metal tokens used in Monopoly these days, including the iron. Two tokens, the battleship and the cannon (aka howitzer), were added to the Monopoly game as part of a recycling exercise. The pieces were intended for the game "Conflict" released in 1940, but when Parker Bros. pulled "Conflict" off the market due to poor sales, they added their excess battleships and cannons to Monopoly.

41. "The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the ___" (Thomas Gray line) : LEA
“The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea” is the second line in Thomas Gray’s famous poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”.

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

43. Morales of "Caprica" : ESAI
Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie "La Bamba", which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai).

“Caprica” is a sci-fi television series that was written as a prequel to the show “Battlestar Galactica”. “Caprica” didn’t sit well with the public and was cancelled after just one season.

46. One of a deadly seven : SIN
The seven deadly sins are:
- wrath
- greed
- sloth
- pride
- lust
- envy
- gluttony

54. Anonymous one, in court : JANE ROE
Although the English court system does not use the term today, John Doe first appeared as the "name of a person unknown" in England in 1659, along with another unknown referred to as Richard Roe. We use Jane Doe or Jane Roe for an unknown female.

56. Conquistador's booty : ORO
Conquistador is the Spanish for "conqueror".

63. O. J. Simpson trial judge : ITO
Judge Lance Ito came in for a lot of criticism for his handling of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The lead prosecutor in that trial was Marcia Clark, you might recall. I read her book "Without a Doubt" a few years ago, and she pointed out one trait of Judge Ito that I think is quite telling. Ito would almost always refer to the prosecutor by her first name "Marcia", while addressing the male attornies on both sides of the case with the honorific "Mister".

64. "When thou ___ down, thou shalt not be afraid": Proverbs : LIEST
The Book of Proverbs is in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. The original Hebrew title for the book translates as “Proverbs of Solomon”.

65. Where Sanyo is headquartered : OSAKA
Sanyo is a Japanese electronics manufacturer based near Osaka and founded in 1947. The company name means "three oceans" reflecting the company's original aim to sell its products all around the world (across three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian).

67. Brown ermine : STOAT
Ermine is another name for the stoat. The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term "ermine" is reserved for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

68. Skewered fare : KEBAB
The name "kebab" (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use "kebab" when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer.

Down
2. New England's Cape ___ : ANN
Cape Ann is 30 miles north of Boston and is on the northernmost edge of Massachusetts Bay. The Cape was first mapped by the explorer John Smith. Early in his adventurous life Smith had been captured and enslaved by the Ottoman Empire. His "owner" in his days of slavery was a woman called Tragabigzanda, and apparently the slave and owner fell in love. What we know today as Cape Ann, Smith originally called Cape Tragabigzanda in her memory.

3. "The Matrix" role : NEO
Neo is the character played by Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix” series of films.

The 1999 movie sensation "The Matrix" was meant to be set in a nondescript urban environment. It was actually shot in Australia, as one of the co-producers of the film was the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. You can pick up all sorts of clues about the location when watching the film, including a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge in a background shot. Also, traffic drives along on the left and there are signs for the "lift" instead of an "elevator".

4. BBC time-traveling series : DR WHO
The iconic science-fiction television show “Doctor Who” was first aired in 1963, and relaunched in 2005 by the BBC. The relaunched series is produced in-house by the BBC in Cardiff in Wales, and this is the setting of the successful "Doctor Who" spin-off called “Torchwood”. The new show is about the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood Institute which investigates incidents involving extraterrestrials.

7. Heart chart, briefly : EKG
An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

9. Poet whose work inspired "Cats" : ELIOT
Andrew Lloyd Webber's source material for his hit musical "Cats" was T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats". Eliot's collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was a personal favorite of Webber as he was growing up. "Cats" is the second longest running show in Broadway history ("Phantom of the Opera" is the longest and is still running; deservedly so in my humble opinion). my wife and I have seen “Cats” a couple of times and really enjoyed it ...

11. Calculus, familiarly : TARTAR
Calculus or tartar is dental plaque that has hardened on the surface of teeth. Plaque is removed relatively easily by brushing and flossing. Once plaque has hardened into tartar though, a dental hygienist usually needs to intervene.

12. Pie-eyed : BLOTTO
The term "blotto" meaning "drunk" dates back to the early 1900s. It supposedly is derived from the word "blot", in the sense that being drunk one must have soaked up a whole load of booze.

13. San ___ (Hearst Castle site) : SIMEON
Hearst Castle is a magnificent mansion and estate on the California coast near the town of San Simeon. Hearst Castle was built over many years, between 1919 and 1947, for William Randolph Hearst the newspaper magnate. If you’re ever in the area, I thoroughly recommend spending a few hours touring the house and grounds. It has to be seen to be believed …

18. Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
The Eli Young Band is a country group from Texas founded by Mike Eli and James Young when they were roommates in the University of North Texas.

22. Actor Estevez : EMILIO
Emilio Estevez is one of the members of the famous "Brat Pack", having appeared in "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire". Estevez's father (and can't you tell it from looking at him?) is actor Martin Sheen. Estevez decided to keep his real name and not use his father's stage name of "Sheen". Charlie Sheen is Emilio's brother, and Charlie's real name is Carlos Estevez.

25. "JAG" spinoff with Mark Harmon : NCIS
NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show "NCIS", a spin-off drama from "JAG" in which the main "NCIS" characters were first introduced. The big star in "NCIS" is the actor Mark Harmon.

27. Frank McCourt memoir : ‘TIS
"'Tis" was Frank McCourt's sequel to "Angela's Ashes", the story of his life growing up in Ireland. Frank McCourt passed away in 2009.

31. One of baseball's Alous : FELIPE
Felipe Alou is a former professional baseball player and manager. Alou managed the Montreal Expos from 1992 to 2001, and the San Francisco Giants from 2003 to 2006. Alou was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and came to the US to play for the Giants in 1955. Felipe’s brothers Matty and Jesús followed him to the US, and into Major League baseball.

32. "Norma ___" (Sally Field film) : RAE
"Norma Rae" is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called "Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance".

33. Thurman of "The Avengers" : UMA
Uma Thurman's father, Robert Thurman, was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter "Uma" as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name "Dbuma".

“The Avengers” is a 1998 light-hearted, spy film that is based on a great television series of the same name from the sixties. The lead characters are John Steed and Emma Peel, played in the movie by Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. The same characters were played by Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg on TV.

37. Spirit of Islamic myth : JINN
The "genie" in the bottle takes his or her name from "djinn". "Djinns" were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book "The Thousand and One Nights" was translated into French, the word "djinn" was transformed into the existing word "génie", because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This "génie" from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived "genius", a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the "djinn" that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

38. Onetime Dodge : OMNI
The Dodge Omni was basically the same car as the Plymouth Horizon, and was produced by Chrysler from 1978-90. The Omni is a front-wheel drive hatchback, the first in a long line of front-wheel drive cars that were very successful for Chrysler. The Omni was actually developed in France, by Chrysler's Simca division. When production was stopped in the US in 1990, the tooling was sold to an Indian company that continued production for the Asian market for several years.

39. Nanette's "nothing" : RIEN
“Rien” is the French for “nothing, zip”.

40. Mach 1 breaker : SST
The most famous Supersonic Transport (SST) was the Concorde, a plane that's no longer flying. Concorde had that famous "droop nose". The nose was moved to the horizontal position during flight to create the optimum aerodynamic shape thereby reducing drag. It was lowered during taxi, takeoff and landing, so that the pilot had better visibility. The need for the droop nose was driven largely by the delta-shaped wings. The delta wing necessitates a higher angle of attack at takeoff and landing than conventional wing designs, so the pilot needed the nose lowered so that he or she could see the ground.

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is it's speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term "Mach" takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the "sonic boom".

42. Super Smash Bros. Brawl console : WII
The Wii is the biggest-selling game console in the world. Two distinguishing features are the impressive wireless remote control and its WiiConnect24 system which allows the console to get messages and updates wirelessly in standby mode. I have my kids unplug the darn thing when they aren't using it, as even in standby mode it sucks up bandwidth on my wireless network here at the house.

46. Den system : STEREO
Monophonic sound ("mono") is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

49. Eurasian range : URALS
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

51. Old gang heater : GAT
“Gat” is a slang term for a gun that is derived from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure ...

58. G8 member : USA
The G6 was a group of six industrialized nations that formed in 1975 and whose governments met on a periodic basis. The founding members were France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. The membership expanded in 1976 with the addition of Canada, forming the G7. Russia has been represented since 1997, and the group is now called the G8.

59. Cousin of TV's Gomez : ITT
In the television sitcom "The Addams Family", the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

60. "CSI" setting : LAB
I’m told that the TV show "CSI" (which stands for Crime Scene Investigation) gets a lot of razzing by law enforcement professionals for its unrealistic portrayal of the procedures and science of criminal investigation. I don't care though, as I just think it's fun television. The original "CSI" set in Las Vegas seems to have "gone off the boil", but the addition of Sela Ward to the cast of "CSI: NY" has really, really raised the level of the sister show centered around New York City.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Bamboo muncher : PANDA
6. Paparazzo's target : CELEB
11. "Very Funny" network : TBS
14. Like radon : INERT
15. Scout pack leader : AKELA
16. Spinks's opponent in two title fights : ALI
17. Start of a thought by British journalist Miles Kington : KNOWLEDGE IS
19. CD-___ : ROM
20. Falstaff's princely friend : HAL
21. Flower-shaped decoration : ROSETTE
23. Thought, part 2 : KNOWING A TOMATO
27. Hardly a win-win situation? : TIE
28. Album track : CUT
29. A Monopoly token : IRON
30. Thought, part 3 : IS A FRUIT
34. Salon supply : GEL
36. Places for mills, once : STREAMS
37. Some varsity players : JUNIORS
41. "The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the ___" (Thomas Gray line) : LEA
42. Thought, part 4 : WISDOM IS
43. Morales of "Caprica" : ESAI
46. One of a deadly seven : SIN
47. Pull down : NET
48. Thought, part 5 : NOT PUTTING IT IN
54. Anonymous one, in court : JANE ROE
55. Ingested : ATE
56. Conquistador's booty : ORO
57. End of the thought : A FRUIT SALAD
63. O. J. Simpson trial judge : ITO
64. "When thou ___ down, thou shalt not be afraid": Proverbs : LIEST
65. Where Sanyo is headquartered : OSAKA
66. Alternative to "smoking" : NON
67. Brown ermine : STOAT
68. Skewered fare : KEBAB

Down
1. Water ___, Inc. : PIK
2. New England's Cape ___ : ANN
3. "The Matrix" role : NEO
4. BBC time-traveling series : DR WHO
5. Counselor-___ : AT-LAW
6. Insensitive sort : CAD
7. Heart chart, briefly : EKG
8. Eye lustfully : LEER AT
9. Poet whose work inspired "Cats" : ELIOT
10. Low man on stage : BASSO
11. Calculus, familiarly : TARTAR
12. Pie-eyed : BLOTTO
13. San ___ (Hearst Castle site) : SIMEON
18. Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
22. Actor Estevez : EMILIO
23. Commercial ending for Sun or Star : -KIST
24. Warm, so to speak : NEAR
25. "JAG" spinoff with Mark Harmon : NCIS
26. ___ reaction : GUT
27. Frank McCourt memoir : ‘TIS
31. One of baseball's Alous : FELIPE
32. "Norma ___" (Sally Field film) : RAE
33. Thurman of "The Avengers" : UMA
34. Gloomy guy? : GUS
35. Wind down : END
37. Spirit of Islamic myth : JINN
38. Onetime Dodge : OMNI
39. Nanette's "nothing" : RIEN
40. Mach 1 breaker : SST
42. Super Smash Bros. Brawl console : WII
43. Prohibit by judicial order : ENJOIN
44. Reach an altitude of : SOAR TO
45. When some do lunch : AT NOON
46. Den system : STEREO
49. Eurasian range : URALS
50. Tailored ___ (customized) : TO FIT
51. Old gang heater : GAT
52. "Things could be worse" : IT'S OK
53. Pick on : TEASE
58. G8 member : USA
59. Cousin of TV's Gomez : ITT
60. "CSI" setting : LAB
61. Rap sheet entry : AKA
62. Amount of cream : DAB

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2 comments :

cALyPsO said...

I love your work! Thank you for your hard work and efforts. I love the tidbits/facts you post.
I get my daily trivial pursuit knowledge from your blog.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks, Calypso.

You are too kind!

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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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