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1223-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Dec 12, Sunday





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: Joe DiPietro
THEME: Bywords … today’s grid contains groups of circled letters, with each grouping having two vertical arrangements of letters side-by-side. Each grouping spells out a common phrase when put in the format LEFT by RIGHT:
- KNEW by HEART
- SELL-by DATE
- GO by TRAIN
- FINE by ME
- ONE by ONE
- DO by HAND
- PLAY IT by EAR
- WIN by A NOSE
- TWO by FOUR
COMPLETION TIME: 22m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

19. Sherpa's tool : ICE AXE
In the Tibetan language, Sherpa means "eastern people" (sher = east, pa = people). Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal, but the name is also used for the local guides who assist mountaineers in the Himalayas, and particularly on Mount Everest.

24. Allocated dollars for digs : RENT MONEY
"Digs" is short for "diggings" meaning "lodgings", but where "diggings" came from, no one seems to know for sure.

35. Paisley refusals : NAES
Paisley is a town in the central Lowlands of Scotland. Paisley is in essence a suburb of the large city of Glasgow, as the center of Glasgow is just seven miles away.

38. Density symbol : RHO
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter "p".

40. Anti-apartheid org. : ANC
The African National Congress (ANC) started out as the South African Native National Congress in 1912 with the goal of improving the lot of Black South Africans. After years of turmoil, the ANC came to power in the first open election in 1964.

42. 1970 hit for Neil Diamond : SHILO
The Neil Diamond song “Shilo” was released in 1970. The title refers not to the Civil War Battle of Shiloh, nor to the Israeli town of Shilo. Instead, Shilo was an imaginary friend that Diamond had as a child.

48. Marine rescue grp. : USCG
The US Coast Guard (USCG) has the distinction of being the country’s oldest continuous seagoing service. The USCG was founded as the “Revenue Cutter Service” by Alexander Hamilton in 1790.

60. Big guns : MORTARS
I’ve always loved the sound of the words “mortar” and “pestle”, ever since I was first introduced to them in the chemistry lab. The Romans called a receptacle for pounding or grinding things a “mortarium”, giving us “mortar”. Mortarium was also the word for the product of pounding and grinding, which gives us our “mortar” that's used with bricks to build a wall. And further, short stubby cannons used in the 16th century resembled a grinding bowl and so were called “mortars”, which evolved into our contemporary weapon of the same name. As far as the pestle is concerned, it is also derived from its Latin name “pistillum”, which comes from the word for “crush”.

61. F = ma formulator : NEWTON
Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion are the basis of classical mechanics. Briefly, the three laws are:
1. An object experiencing no force is at rest, or is moving at a constant velocity in a straight line.
2. An object accelerates when a force is applied to it, and that acceleration is proportional to the object’s mass (F = ma).
3. If an object A exerts a force on object B, then B simultaneously exerts an equal and opposite force on A.

65. Rocket center, once : YAO
Yao Ming is a retired professional basketball player from Shanghai who played for the Houston Rockets. At 7'6", Yao was the tallest man playing in the NBA.

66. ___ admin : SYS
A System Administrator (in the field of Information Technology) is a Sys Admin.

68. Govt. money guarantor : FDIC
During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Banking Act of 1933. The legislation established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), intended to be a temporary government corporation that provided insurance on deposits made by customers of qualified financial institutions. The first accounts to be covered, in 1934, had an insurance limit of $2,500. Since the financial crisis of 2008, that limit is $250,000.

69. Its capital is Sydney: Abbr. : NSW
New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia and is home to Sydney, the most populous city in the country. New South Wales was founded in 1788. When the British took over New Zealand in 1840, for a while New Zealand was actually governed as part of New South Wales.

70. "O Sole ___" : MIO
"'O sole mio" is a famous Italian song from Naples, written in 1898. The song's lyrics are usually sung in the original Neapolitan, as opposed to Italian. The title translates from Neapolitan into "My Sun" (and not into "O, My Sun" as one might expect). It's a love song of course, sung by a young man declaring that there is a sun brighter than that in the sky, the sun that is his lover's face. Awww ...

77. It's needed for self-checkout : BAR CODE
UPC stands for Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code. The first UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum …

82. Capital north of Cyprus : ANKARA
Ankara is the second largest city in Turkey, after Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). After WWI, the Ottoman Empire had been defeated and the Allies occupied the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. The victors planned to break up most of Turkey, leaving native Turks just part of their country for their own. In the inevitable War of Independence that followed, the Turkish Nationalists used Ankara as their base. When the Nationalists emerged victorious, they declared Ankara the new capital of Turkey.

83. Mat material : SISAL
I suppose it is telling that whenever I hear mention of agave plants, I think of tequila. The sisal plant is an agave, but as far as I can tell its flesh is not used in making the Mexican liquor. Sisal is grown instead for the fibers that run the length of its leaves. The fiber is used extensively for twine, rope, carpeting, wall coverings etc. My favorite application though, is in the construction of dartboards. Sisal takes its name from the port of Sisal in Yucatan, Mexico, once a major shipping point for sisal plants.

90. Flexible, electrically : AC/DC
If you have a laptop with an external power supply, then that big “block” is an AC/DC converter. It converts the AC current you get from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

92. Derby features : BRIMS
I think a bowler hat is called a derby here in the US. The bowler was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of "derby" comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race (a major race held annually in England).

98. Leonard Nimoy's "___ Not Spock" : I AM
Leonard Nimoy played the logical Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek" television series. Spock has to be the most popular character on the show, and keeps popping up in "Star Trek" spin offs to this day. Nimoy first worked alongside William Shatner (Captain Kirk) in an episode of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (I loved that show!), with Nimoy playing a bad guy and Shatner playing an U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

100. "Fish Magic" painter : KLEE
The artist Paul Klee was born in Switzerland, but studied art in Munich in Germany. You can see many of Klee's works in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and if you get to Bern in Switzerland, even more of them can be seen at the Zentrum Paul Klee that was opened in 2005.

103. Rapper who played Brother Sam on "Dexter" : MOS DEF
Mos Def is the stage name of actor and rapper Dante Terrell Smith-Bay. Mos Def is one of the few rap stars who is really making a name for himself in the world of movies. He received critical acclaim for roles in 2003's "The Italian Job" , 2005's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", and a featured role in an episode of television's "House".

105. 1996 Olympian noted for performing on an injured ankle : KERRI STRUG
Kerri Strug is that plucky little gymnast who made an outstanding final vault in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics despite having an injured ankle. I think we all remember her being carried off after her vault in the arms of the US team coach Bela Karolyi.

110. Form letters? : IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

116. Boston player, for short : CELT
The Boston Celtics NBA basketball team were founded just after WWII in 1946. The Celtics won eight league championships in a row from 1958 to 1966. That’s the longest consecutive championship winning streak of any professional sports team in North America.

117. Triple Crown winners must lead their league in these : RBIS
In baseball, a player can earn the Triple Crown when he is the leader in three specific statistics. The pitching Triple Crown includes wins, strikeouts and earned run average (ERA). The batting Triple Crown includes home runs, runs batted in (RBI) and batting average.

119. Roman tragedy writer : SENECA
Seneca the Younger was a playwright as well as a tutor and advisor to the Emperor Nero of Ancient Rome. Although maybe innocent, Seneca was forced to commit suicide by Nero as it was alleged that Seneca participated in a plot to kill the emperor. To kill himself, Seneca cut into a number of veins in order to bleed to death.

120. Florida's Sanibel, e.g. : ISLE
Sanibel Island is on the Gulf coast of Florida and is just offshore of the city of Fort Myers. The island is home to the city of Sanibel, a city which takes up the whole of the island.

121. Zebra feature : MANE
The name "zebra" comes from an old Portuguese word "zevra" meaning "wild ass". Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.

Down
1. Unhappy king of legend : MIDAS
King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold ... the Midas touch. Of course, the power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink, and even his children.

3. Vegas casino : NEW YORK-NEW YORK
New York-New York is a major casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The casino is cleverly designed with stylized replicas made of famous New York City landmarks. Although the facade of the hotel is a model of the new York City skyline, and the property was opened in 1997, there is no depiction of the World Trade Center. That’s because the design is meant to represent New York of the 1940s.

4. Roseanne's husband on "Roseanne" : DAN
In the highly successful sitcom “Roseanne”, Roseanne’s husband Dan was played by John Goodman.

Actor John Goodman will forever be remembered as Dan Conner, the on-screen husband of Roseanne Barr in the sitcom "Roseanne". Goodman went to Missouri State University where he studied drama and was a compatriot of Kathleen Turner. The role that I most enjoyed played by Goodman was Speaker of the House Glen Allen Walken on the great show “The West Wing”.

8. So-called "Goddess of Pop" : 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".

9. Samovars : URNS
The samovar originated in Russia, and is often a very elegant water boiler, usually for making tea. As such, there is often an attachment on top of a samovar to keep a teapot warm.

11. Whom Shelley wept for : ADONAIS
The English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote the pastoral elegy “Adonaïs” for his contemporary John Keats just after Keats died in 1821. Shelley was a great admirer of Keats, although Keats didn’t have much good to say about Shelly apparently.

12. "Water Music" composer : HANDEL
“Water Music” is a collection of orchestral suites written by George Frideric Handel in 1717. The work was written at the request of British King George I as he wanted a concert that he could listen to on the River Thames. On the occasion of the first performance, the king and his entourage were seated on the royal barge, and the musicians nearby on a second barge. The barges floated down the river for many, many hours  as King George was having such a good time. He commanded the musicians to play the whole concert through three times.

14. "Watermark" vocalist : ENYA
Enya's real name is Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career. She sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

16. Woolly : LANOSE
“Lanose” means “woolly, woolly-haired”. The term derives from “lana”, the Latin word for “wool”.

17. English royal : ANDREW
Prince Andrew, Duke of York is the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II of the UK. Andrew was second in line to the throne when he was born, after his older brother Charles. He is now fourth in line, after Princes Charles, William and Harry. Famously, Andrew was married to Sarah Ferguson for a few years, until a divorce much-covered by the media.

36. It's almost nothing : SOU
A sou is an old French coin.

39. Prefix with -porosis : OSTEO-
The name “osteoporosis” is Greek for “porous bones”, a very descriptive name for a disease that is caused by a loss of mineral density in bones.

44. Cap'n's mate : BOS’N
A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. A boatswain is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel. He or she has charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. Boatswain is pronounced "bosun" and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with "boatswain". The contraction "bos'n" is also very popular.

45. Kind of well : ARTESIAN
An artesian well is one that is drilled into an artesian aquifer. As the groundwater in an artesian aquifer is under positive pressure then the water in the well rises without having to be pumped.

54. Long-running TV show featuring the Hortons and the Bradys : DAYS OF OUR LIVES
NBC's "Days of Our Lives" is the second-longest running soap opera on US television, second only to "General Hospital". "Days ..." has been aired since November 1965.

56. South American zoo animal : OSO
In Spanish, "osa" is a female bear, and "oso" is a male.

59. Revolutionary 1960s Chinese youth : RED GUARD
Red Guards were young paramilitaries who were mobilized by Chairman Mao during the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-sixties.

70. Wall St. credential : MBA
The world's first MBA degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

71. Small boat made of wickerwork : CORACLE
The small boat called a coracle is used all over the world, but is particularly associated with Wales. “Coracle” comes from the Welsh name for the boat “cwrwgl”.

72. "___ / Had 'em" (classic two-line poem about fleas) : ADAM
Some say that the world’s shortest poem is titled “Fleas”, and the full text is:
Adam
Had ‘em

74. The Sun Devils' sch. : ASU
Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.

87. Trick-winning attempt in bridge : FINESSE
A finesse is ploy used in the wonderful card game of bridge. I find it a little tricky to explain here, but I can say that winning a finesse depends on a player making a correct assumption about which of his or her opponents holds a particular card.

88. ___ beer : NEAR
“Near beer” is slang term for a malt liquor that doesn’t contain enough alcohol to be labelled as “beer”. An example would be “O’Doul’s”, a beverage that I tend to consume when I am the designated driver.

91. TV announcer who broke the news of John Lennon's murder : COSELL
Howard Cosell was one of the most popular of all sports journalists. With his high profile came a lot of controversy as Cosell wasn't afraid to express his personal opinions. For example, he came out against professional boxing in 1982 after witnessing a one-sided fight between Larry Holmes and Tex Cobb. Two weeks earlier South Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim had died after a match against Ray Mancini.

John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in New York City in December 1980. Chapman’s lawyers wanted him to file an insanity plea but instead he chose to plead guilty and was sentenced to life in prison, with eligibility for parole after 20 years. Chapman has been denied parole every two years since 2000 and is still an inmate of Attica State Prison.

96. Firenze friends : AMICI
“Amici” is the Italian for "friends", a word often used in “Firenze” (Florence).

102. Lamb specialty : ESSAY
Charles Lamb published a famous collection of essays simply entitled "Essays of Elia". Elia was actually a clerk and co-worker of Charles Lamb, whereas Lamb was the author.

107. People conquered by the Spanish : INCA
Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro discovered the Incas in 1526, marking the beginning of the end for an ancient civilization that was to be ravaged by brutal Spanish colonists and by imported smallpox. The last leader of the Inca was Atahualpa. Pizarro staged a mock trial and then condemned Atahualpa to execution by burning. A Spanish friar intervened on behalf of the condemned man, as Atahualpa believed that if he was burned his soul would not move on to the afterlife. Pizarro, was kind enough to have Atahualpa garroted instead.

113. Heat org. : NBA
The Miami Heat basketball team debuted in the NBA in the 1988-89 season. The franchise name was chosen in a competitive survey, with “Miami Heat” beating out “Miami Vice”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Sewer, at times : MENDER
7. Dregs of society : SCUM
11. "I'm not doing so well" : AH ME
15. ___ it up (dress flamboyantly) : GLAM
19. Sherpa's tool : ICE AXE
20. Kind of street : THRU
21. Accurse : DAMN
22. Grams : NANA
23. Drank quickly : DOWNED
24. Allocated dollars for digs : RENT MONEY
26. &&& : ANDS
27. "___ time now" : ANY
28. Smoker's convenience : CIGAR STAND
30. Toiling away : AT WORK
32. Santa's bootblack? : SOOT
34. "___ ever!" : DO I
35. Paisley refusals : NAES
37. Gets up : RISES
38. Density symbol : RHO
40. Anti-apartheid org. : ANC
42. 1970 hit for Neil Diamond : SHILO
43. De novo : ANEW
44. Lies in the hot sun : BAKES
46. Shacks : LEAN-TOS
48. Marine rescue grp. : USCG
50. Fancified : ORNATE
52. Really desire, with "over" : DROOL
53. Precipitate : LEAD TO
57. House of the speaker? : STEREO
58. Writer : PENNER
60. Big guns : MORTARS
61. F = ma formulator : NEWTON
62. Very wide shoe spec : EEEE
63. Text changes : EDITS
65. Rocket center, once : YAO
66. ___ admin : SYS
67. "Not doable" : CAN’T
68. Govt. money guarantor : FDIC
69. Its capital is Sydney: Abbr. : NSW
70. "O Sole ___" : MIO
71. Just ___ ... or "Just '___" : CAUSE
73. Crones : HAGS
74. From way back : AGE-OLD
77. It's needed for self-checkout : BAR CODE
79. Alternative to broadband : DIAL-UP
81. Fixed rate : SET FEE
82. Capital north of Cyprus : ANKARA
83. Mat material : SISAL
84. Not yet out of the closet? : UNWORN
85. Attach a handle to : NAME
87. Preceded : FORERAN
89. Give a rude awakening, say : ROUST
90. Flexible, electrically : AC/DC
92. Derby features : BRIMS
94. Turn blue, say : DYE
95. Do wrong : ERR
96. Bubbling up : ABOIL
97. Ruination : BANE
98. Leonard Nimoy's "___ Not Spock" : I AM
100. "Fish Magic" painter : KLEE
103. Rapper who played Brother Sam on "Dexter" : MOS DEF
105. 1996 Olympian noted for performing on an injured ankle : KERRI STRUG
110. Form letters? : IRS
111. "No ___" ("Don't ask me") : IDEA
112. Basically : IN ESSENCE
114. Breaks one's back : SLAVES
116. Boston player, for short : CELT
117. Triple Crown winners must lead their league in these : RBIS
118. Too-good-to-be-true offer, often : SCAM
119. Roman tragedy writer : SENECA
120. Florida's Sanibel, e.g. : ISLE
121. Zebra feature : MANE
122. They're run up : TABS
123. Like some dough : YEASTY

Down
1. Unhappy king of legend : MIDAS
2. Prefix with -metrics : ECONO-
3. Vegas casino : NEW YORK-NEW YORK
4. Roseanne's husband on "Roseanne" : DAN
5. Suit : EXEC
6. Made de novo : REDID
7. Certain baby food : STRAINED PEAS
8. So-called "Goddess of Pop" : CHER
9. Samovars : URNS
10. It's part this, part that : MUTT
11. Whom Shelley wept for : ADONAIS
12. "Water Music" composer : HANDEL
13. Fr. title : MME
14. "Watermark" vocalist : ENYA
15. Really bugging : GNAWING AT
16. Woolly : LANOSE
17. English royal : ANDREW
18. Covers up : MASKS
25. Street opening : MANHOLE
29. Sports announcer's scream : GOAL
31. Lost-parcel inquiries : TRACERS
33. Newspaper section : THE ARTS
36. It's almost nothing : SOU
39. Prefix with -porosis : OSTEO-
41. Took turns recklessly : CAREENED
42. Things may be written in it : STONE
44. Cap'n's mate : BOS’N
45. Kind of well : ARTESIAN
47. Piece for nine : NONET
49. Hockey area in front of the crease : SLOT
51. Seemingly forever : EON
54. Long-running TV show featuring the Hortons and the Bradys : DAYS OF OUR LIVES
55. Fishing boats : TRAWLERS
56. South American zoo animal : OSO
59. Revolutionary 1960s Chinese youth : RED GUARD
60. Open ___ : MIC
64. They're often behind glass : DISPLAY ITEMS
67. Prompt : CUE
68. Apocryphal : FALSE
69. ABC, for one : NETWORK
70. Wall St. credential : MBA
71. Small boat made of wickerwork : CORACLE
72. "___ / Had 'em" (classic two-line poem about fleas) : ADAM
73. Quibblers split them : HAIRS
74. The Sun Devils' sch. : ASU
75. Sci-fi or western : GENRE
76. Result of a bang-up job? : DENT
78. One running : CANDIDATE
80. Beta carotene and others : ISOMERS
86. Go out : EBB
87. Trick-winning attempt in bridge : FINESSE
88. ___ beer : NEAR
90. Dwellings : ABODES
91. TV announcer who broke the news of John Lennon's murder : COSELL
93. Earn hand over fist : RAKE IN
96. Firenze friends : AMICI
99. Rumpled : MUSSY
101. Put up : ERECT
102. Lamb specialty : ESSAY
104. Unwilling to budge : FIRM
106. Kick back : REST
107. People conquered by the Spanish : INCA
108. Wound protector : SCAB
109. Much merriment : GLEE
113. Heat org. : NBA
115. Got ___ (did great) : AN A

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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 try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

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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