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0121-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Jan 13, Monday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Susan Gelfand
THEME: Homophonic Celebrities … each of today’s themed answers is the possessive form of a well-known person’s name combined with a homophone of that possessive, all cleverly clued:
17A. Philosopher John's tresses? : LOCKE’S LOCKS
25A. Actor Sean's writing implements? : PENN’S PENS
34A. Aviator Wilbur's entitlements? : WRIGHT’S RIGHTS
50A. Soccer star Mia's meats? : HAMM’S HAMS
59A. Composer Franz's rosters? : LISZT’S LISTS
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Bakery items with lox : BAGELS
The bagel was invented in the Polish city of Kraków in the 16th century. Bagels were brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Poland who mainly established homes in and around New York City.

Lox is a cured salmon fillet, finely sliced. The term "lox" comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon: Lachs.

15. "Dynasty" vixen : ALEXIS
"Dynasty" was ABC's shot at CBS's incredibly successful soap opera "Dallas". Both shows were centered on wealthy oil families, with "Dynasty" starring John Forsythe and Linda Evans in the lead roles. The show didn't really make much impact on the viewing figures for "Dallas" until season two, when Joan Collins joined the cast as the scheming ex-wife Alexis. "Dynasty" had a very successful run then, from 1981 to 1989.

16. Weather prefix with bar : ISO-
An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

17. Philosopher John's tresses? : LOCKE’S LOCKS
John Locke was the English philosopher who postulated that the mind is a blank slate (or "tabula rasa") when we are born, and that we fill that slate with our experiences and observations.

20. Transformers and Barbies : TOYS
Toy transformers can be morphed from their mundane looking appearance as a vehicle or perhaps an animal, into a robotic action figure.

The famous Barbie doll was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler and first appeared on store shelves in 1959. Barbie was based on a German fashion doll called Bild Lilli that was introduced in 1955. Lilli had been a German cartoon character before taking on the three-dimensional form. Prior to the introduction of Bild Lilli and Barbie, children’s dolls were primarily representations of infants.

23. Sharper than 90 degrees : ACUTE
An acute angle is less than 90 degrees, i.e. less than a right angle. On obtuse angle is greater than a right angle.

25. Actor Sean's writing implements? : PENN’S PENS
Actor Sean Penn is a two-time Oscar winner, for his roles in "Mystic River" released in 2003 and "Milk" released in 2008. Penn's celebrity on screen is only matched with his fame off the screen. Apart from his "big name" marriages to singer Madonna and actress Robin Wright, Penn is also well known for political and social activism. He perhaps inherited some of his political views from his father, actor and director Leo Penn. As an actor, Leo refused to "name names" in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and so was blacklisted in Hollywood and had to move into directing to put bread on the table. In later years as a director he gave his son Sean his first acting role, in a 1974 episode of "Little House on the Prairie".

29. Hot, spicy drink : TODDY
The word "toddy" has come a long way. Its origins lie in the Hindi word for a palm tree, which is "tar". The derivative word "tari" was used for palm sap, which came into English as "tarrie", then "taddy" and "toddy", all of which described an alcoholic drink made from fermented palm sap. That was back around 1600. Late in the 18th century, the palm sap drink called "toddy" had morphed into meaning any alcoholic drink made with liquor, hot water, sugar and spices.

31. Heel : CAD
Our word "cad", meaning "a person lacking in finer feelings", is a shortening of the word "cadet". Cad was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used "cad" as a name for a boy from the local town. "Cad" took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

The use of “heel” to mean a contemptible person dates back to the early 1900s when it was used in the American underworld to describe an incompetent criminal. It’s thought that such a person was in the “lowest position” and therefore “a heel”.

33. ___-12 Conference : PAC
Pac-12 is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

34. Aviator Wilbur's entitlements? : WRIGHT’S RIGHTS
Wilbur was the older of the two Wright brothers, and he was born in 1867 in Millville, Indiana. By the time that Orville was born in 1871, the family was living in Dayton, Ohio. The Wrights spent a few years of their youth back in Richmond, Indiana, before settling in Dayton for the rest of their lives. The brothers both died in Dayton; Wilbur in 1912 and Orville in 1948.

40. The way, in Chinese philosophy : TAO
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.

44. Roulette centerpiece : WHEEL
The name "roulette" means "little wheel" in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796.

50. Soccer star Mia's meats? : HAMM’S HAMS
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played on the US national team that won the FIFA women's World Cup in 1991. Hamm has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female.

56. Coach Parseghian : ARA
Ara Parseghian coached the Notre Dame football team from 1964 to 1974, a period known as "The Era of Ara".

57. Berlin article : EINE
Berlin is the capital and largest city in Germany, and is the second most populous city in the European Union (after London).

58. Kilimanjaro, e.g.: Abbr. : MTN
Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania, and is the highest mountain in the whole of Africa. I was having lunch recently with the parents of my son’s girlfriend. The young lady’s mother casually mentioned in the conversation that she summited Kilimanjaro last year. I paid for lunch …

59. Composer Franz's rosters? : LISZT’S LISTS
Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, Liszt gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching jobs caused him to commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such advanced age, and in the 1870s, could do so much annual travel. It is estimated that Liszt journeyed at least 4,000 miles every year!

65. Part of Texaco's logo : STAR
Texaco gets its name from "The TEXA-s CO-mpany". Today's it's just a brand name owned by Chevron, but it used to be its own operation, founded as the Texas Fuel Company in 1901.

Down
1. ___ de mer : MAL
"Mal de mer" is French for seasickness.

2. Granada gold : ORO
Granada is a city and province in Andalusia in the south of Spain. Granada is not to be confused with Grenada (different spelling), the island nation in the Caribbean that was invaded by the US in 1983.

4. Territory that became two states : DAKOTA
The Dakota Territory was formed in 1861 and ceased to exist with the admission to the Union of the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. The territory was split into two states largely due to lobbying by the Republican Party, which enjoyed a lot of support in the Dakota Territory. The admission of two states added to the political power of the party in the US Senate, by adding four safe Republican seats.

7. Rock with a glittery inside : GEODE
A geode is a rock in which there is a cavity lined or filled with crystal formations.

11. Brought bad luck : JINXED
A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word "jinx" comes from an older word "jyng" from the 17th-century. A "jyng" was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

22. Several ages, in geology : EPOCH
Geologic time is divided into different units which are, starting from the longest:
- Supereons
- Eons
- Eras
- Periods
- Epochs
- Ages
So, supereons can be divided in eons, and eons divided into eras etc.

24. Grub : CHOW
"Chow" is an American slang term for food that originated in California in the mid-1800s. "Chow" comes from the Chinese pidgin English "chow-chow" meaning "food".

"Grub" is slang for food. The word “grub” has been used in this sense since way back in the 1600s, possible derived from birds eating grubs.

25. H.S. junior's exam : PSAT
I think the acronym PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

32. It's faster than dial-up, in brief : DSL
DSL originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

33. Gyro bread : PITA
Pita is a lovely bread in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita bread is usually round, and has a "pocket" in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools. The pockets were a big hit in the seventies when someone came up with the idea of using them for fillings hence creating pita sandwiches or "pita pockets".

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish, a sandwich made with pita bread containing meat, tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce). The meat for gyros is usually roasted on a tall vertical spit and is sliced from the spit as required. The name "gyro" comes from the modern Greek word "gyros" meaning "circle", a reference to the meat turning as it is grilled in a rotating circular motion.

48. Singer Young or Sedaka : NEIL
Neil Young is a singer and songwriter from Toronto, Ontario. Young is known for his solo work, as well as his earlier recordings with Buffalo Springfield and as the fourth member of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Young is also a successful movie director, although he uses the pseudonym “Bernard Shakey” for his movie work. Included in his filmography are “Human Highway” and “Greendale”.

49. From Copenhagen, say : DANISH
Copenhagen is the largest city and the capital of Denmark. I have never visited Copenhagen, but I hear it is a wonderful metropolis with a marvelous quality of life. The city is also very environmentally friendly, with over a third of its population commuting to work by bicycle.

53. Maker of the Protegé : MAZDA
Mazda is a Japanese car manufacturer based in the Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan.

The Protegé was one brand name of a whole family of compact cars made by Mazda between 1964 and 2003, with the whole group of cars going under the name of Familia. At one point, the guts of the Familia/Protegé was rebranded as the Ford Escort here in North America.

57. Former name of Exxon stations : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of "Standard" and "Oil" (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the North America, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

60. President pro ___ : TEM
"Pro tempore" can be abbreviated to "pro tem" or "p.t." "Pro tempore" is a Latin phrase that best translates as "for the time being". It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior.

62. Sign indicating a sold-out performance : SRO
Standing Room Only (SRO).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Gross growth : MOLD
5. Bakery items with lox : BAGELS
11. Prominent crocodile feature : JAW
14. Region : AREA
15. "Dynasty" vixen : ALEXIS
16. Weather prefix with bar : ISO-
17. Philosopher John's tresses? : LOCKE’S LOCKS
19. Sgt., for one : NCO
20. Transformers and Barbies : TOYS
21. Female deer : DOE
22. Marked, as a ballot : EXED
23. Sharper than 90 degrees : ACUTE
25. Actor Sean's writing implements? : PENN’S PENS
27. Sentence sections : PHRASES
29. Hot, spicy drink : TODDY
30. Tip of a shoe : TOE
31. Heel : CAD
33. ___-12 Conference : PAC
34. Aviator Wilbur's entitlements? : WRIGHT’S RIGHTS
40. The way, in Chinese philosophy : TAO
41. Whole bunch : LOT
42. Sunbeam : RAY
44. Roulette centerpiece : WHEEL
47. Part of a first-aid kit : BANDAGE
50. Soccer star Mia's meats? : HAMM’S HAMS
54. Roof overhangs : EAVES
55. Pub pints : ALES
56. Coach Parseghian : ARA
57. Berlin article : EINE
58. Kilimanjaro, e.g.: Abbr. : MTN
59. Composer Franz's rosters? : LISZT’S LISTS
63. The "M" of M.D.: Abbr. : MED
64. Wears away : ERODES
65. Part of Texaco's logo : STAR
66. Calendar spans: Abbr. : YRS
67. Go-getter : DYNAMO
68. Doc's needle : HYPO

Down
1. ___ de mer : MAL
2. Granada gold : ORO
3. Professor, e.g. : LECTURER
4. Territory that became two states : DAKOTA
5. Voice below baritone : BASS
6. The works : ALL
7. Rock with a glittery inside : GEODE
8. One who's finished a sentence? : EX-CON
9. Compare : LIKEN
10. Serpentine sound : SSS
11. Brought bad luck : JINXED
12. Go higher : ASCEND
13. Filled with trees : WOODSY
18. Potato protuberances : EYES
22. Several ages, in geology : EPOCH
23. Fitting : APT
24. Grub : CHOW
25. H.S. junior's exam : PSAT
26. Male deer : STAG
28. Canyon sound effect : ECHO
32. It's faster than dial-up, in brief : DSL
33. Gyro bread : PITA
35. News articles : ITEMS
36. Some square dancers : GALS
37. Steals from : ROBS
38. Great injustice : TRAVESTY
39. Wise soul : SAGE
43. "You rang?" : YES?
44. Devastating blow : WHAMMY
45. What reins connect to : HALTER
46. Corrects : EMENDS
48. Singer Young or Sedaka : NEIL
49. From Copenhagen, say : DANISH
51. Not clean-shaven : HAIRY
52. Firebug's crime : ARSON
53. Maker of the Protegé : MAZDA
57. Former name of Exxon stations : ESSO
59. Was at the helm : LED
60. President pro ___ : TEM
61. Dance style with fancy footwork : TAP
62. Sign indicating a sold-out performance : SRO

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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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