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1229-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 12, Saturday





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 Krozel
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 44m 53s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Urban contemporary : TRITT
Travis Tritt is a country singer from Marietta, Georgia. Keith Urban is a country singer from New Zealand.

11. Sports org. of 1967-76 : ABA
The American Basketball Association (ABA) merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976.

14. Olive-colored bird : VIREO
Vireos are pretty little birds native to the New World. Vireos' wings and bodies are mostly grey, but their head and throats are often a lovely olive green.

15. World powerhouse in table tennis : CHINA
Ping-pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called "wiff-waff". To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a "net", two more books served as ""rackets" and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a "ping" and a "pong", giving the sport its alternative name.

17. Bygone theory of astronomy : PTOLEMAIC SYSTEM
In astronomy, the Ptolemaic system (also called the geocentric model) describes an organization of the cosmos in which the Earth is at the center of the universe with all other celestial bodies orbiting around our planet.

Claudius Ptolemy was an Egyptian of Greek ethnicity who lived in the days when Egypt was ruled by Ancient Rome. Ptolemy was, among other things, a mathematician and astronomer. He published a famous treatise on astronomy called “Almagest” which included a list of 48 constellations in a star catalogue.

29. Obituary word : NEE
"Née" is the French word for "born" when referring to a female. The male equivalent is "né".

30. Bugs : VWS
VW stands for Volkswagen, which translates from German into "people's car". The original "Volkswagen" was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high-performance, expensive cars.

33. "Ugly Betty" actress : VANESSA WILLIAMS
Vanessa Williams has built quite a career for herself after briefly holding the 1983 Miss America title. Williams is now a successful actress and singer. On the big screen she did a fine job playing the lead opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1996’s “Eraser”. On the small screen she had a major role in the hit comedy “Ugly Betty”. Williams is sometimes confused with fellow actress Vanessa A. Williams who is no relation.

40. "Idylls of the King," stylistically : NARRATIVE POETRY
"Idylls of the King" is a cycle of twelve poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson that retells the tale of King Arthur. One of the "idylls" is the story of Geraint and Enid. Tennyson’s Enid gave her name to the city of Enid, Oklahoma.

41. 1959 doo-wop classic : A TEENAGER IN LOVE
The classic song “A Teenager in Love” was released by Dion and the Belmonts in 1959.

42. Alpine native : LIECHTENSTEINER
Liechtenstein is a tiny country with an area of just over 61 square miles, located in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world. The country is a winter sports haven attracting lots of visitors, and is also a tax haven with a strong financial center. There are actually more registered companies in Liechtenstein than there are citizens!

44. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Dan : ISSEL
Dan Issel is a retired basketball player who played for the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA, and the Denver Nuggets of the NBA.

45. Thrust item : EPEE
The French word for sword is "épée". In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

50. Balderdash : HORSE MANURE
"Balderdash" means a senseless jumble of words, and was originally (back before the late 1600s) a jumbled mix of liquids (like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!).

54. 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.

57. Grp. in gray : CSA
The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation and retained the post for the life of the government.

58. Gridiron distance: Abbr. : YDS
We never used the word "gridiron" when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

Down
5. "___ is human ..." : TO ERR
Alexander Pope's 1709 poem "An Essay on Criticism" is the source of at least three well-known quotations:
- A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
- To err is human, to forgive divine.
- For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

7. Half of a classic religious symbol : CHI
Chi Rho is an ancient religious symbol in the Christian tradition. “Chi’ and “rho” are the first two letters in the Greek word for “Christ”.

8. ___-A-Che (rapper) : RIC
Ric-A-Che is a rapper. That's all I know. Oh, I guess he’s from Detroit ...

11. Deal preceder : ANTE
In a game of poker say, you need to ante up before the deal is made …

12. Participant in an 1899 conflict : BOER
There were two Boer Wars, the first fought between 1880 and 1881 and the second fought between 1899 and 1902. The Dutch settlers of the Boer republics took on the British Empire in both conflicts.

18. Risqué West : MAE
Mae West was always pushing the envelope when it came to the "sexy" side of show business, even in her early days in Vaudeville. One of the first plays in which West starred on Broadway was called "Sex", a work she penned herself. The show was a sell-out, but city officials had it raided and West found herself spending ten days in jail after being convicted of "corrupting the morals of youth". She started in movies in 1932, already 38 years old. West used her experience writing plays to rewrite much of the material she was given, and so really she was totally responsible for her own success and on-screen appeal.

19. Ones to whom an organization's messages are sent : SERVICE LIST
I think that the generally accepted definition of a “service list” is a catalogue of the services that are provided by an organization. I am not sure if that is what the clue is referring to though ...

24. Funny Carol and family : LEIFERS
Carol Leifer is a stand-up comedian who was discovered by David Letterman. Leifer has appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” on over twenty-five different occasions.

26. Land visited by Paul in the New Testament : GALATIA
Galatia was an area in central Anatolia, which is now within the borders of modern Turkey. The land was settled by immigrant Gauls, which led to the name "Galatia".

27. Clarinet need : ONE REED
The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn't it? The name comes from the Italian word "clarino" meaning "trumpet" with the "-et" suffix indicating "small".

32. Elided phrase in a Gershwin song : ‘S MARVELOUS
“‘S Wonderful” is a song by written by George and Ira Gershwin written for the musical “Funny Face”. “‘S Wonderful” was also sung by Gene Kelly in the 1951 film “An American in Paris”.

33. Easily corrupted : VENAL
Someone described as venal is open to bribery.

34. One-seat carriages : STANHOPES
A stanhope was a small, horse-drawn carriage with a high seat and a closed back. The carriage was named for a Captain Henry Stanhope.

36. Verona's river : ADIGE
The Adige is a river in the north of Italy, and the second longest river in the country after the River Po.

Three of William Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona, a city in northern Italy:
- “Romeo and Juliet”
- “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”
- “The Taming of the Shrew”

46. Certain bird herd : EMUS
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an "Emu War" in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the "invading force". The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of "war", the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

49. Supporter of the Heller decision, 2008: Abbr. : NRA
District of Columbia v. Heller was a 2008 case decided by the US Supreme Court. The Court held that the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment protected an individual's right to own a firearm for lawful use.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Urban contemporary : TRITT
6. "Git!" : SCRAM
11. Sports org. of 1967-76 : ABA
14. Olive-colored bird : VIREO
15. World powerhouse in table tennis : CHINA
16. Word of logic : NOR
17. Bygone theory of astronomy : PTOLEMAIC SYSTEM
20. Blanket : GENERAL
21. Round parts : BEERS
22. Hideous one : REPULSER
26. Get-___ (starts) : GOS
29. Obituary word : NEE
30. Bugs : VWS
33. "Ugly Betty" actress : VANESSA WILLIAMS
39. Governor, e.g. : ELECTED OFFICIAL
40. "Idylls of the King," stylistically : NARRATIVE POETRY
41. 1959 doo-wop classic : A TEENAGER IN LOVE
42. Alpine native : LIECHTENSTEINER
43. "Grazie ___!" (Italian for "Thank God!") : A DIO
44. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Dan : ISSEL
45. Thrust item : EPEE
48. Uses for a base : RESTS ON
50. Balderdash : HORSE MANURE
54. E.E.C. part: Abbr. : EUR
55. It may be bitter : ALE
56. "I did it!" : SUCCESS
57. Grp. in gray : CSA
58. Gridiron distance: Abbr. : YDS
59. Sporting boots, say : SHOD

Down
1. Tube rating : TV-PG
2. It may be performed by people in robes : RITE
3. Unyielding : IRON
4. Part of 1-Down : TELE-
5. "___ is human ..." : TO ERR
6. It has thousands of roots : SCALP
7. Half of a classic religious symbol : CHI
8. ___-A-Che (rapper) : RIC
9. Response: Abbr. : ANS
10. Wishy-washy reply : MAYBE
11. Deal preceder : ANTE
12. Participant in an 1899 conflict : BOER
13. ___ deal : ARMS
18. Risqué West : MAE
19. Ones to whom an organization's messages are sent : SERVICE LIST
23. Frayed, perhaps : UNWOVEN
24. Funny Carol and family : LEIFERS
25. "Woe is me!" types : SELF-PITIERS
26. Land visited by Paul in the New Testament : GALATIA
27. Clarinet need : ONE REED
28. Concealments : SECRECIES
31. "I'll be right with you" : WAIT ONE SEC
32. Elided phrase in a Gershwin song : ‘S MARVELOUS
33. Easily corrupted : VENAL
34. One-seat carriages : STANHOPES
35. Assailed : SET AT
36. Verona's river : ADIGE
37. They have their pride : LIONESSES
38. More crafty : SLYER
46. Certain bird herd : EMUS
47. Per : EACH
48. Wished otherwise : RUED
49. Supporter of the Heller decision, 2008: Abbr. : NRA
50. Allergy source : HAY
51. Played out : OLD
52. Abbr. after a telephone no. : RES
53. One with two or three stripes: Abbr. : NCO

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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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