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Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada (again!)

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! We had a long and strenuos hike today in Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas in 100-degree weather, complete with a touch of heatstroke (scary), and saw the Cirque de Soleil show "Zarkana" this evening (amazing, as all Cirque shows are).

Bill

0129-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 13, 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: David Steinberg
THEME: Exclamation after a Movie … each of the themed answers is the title of a film that finishes with an exclamation mark:
17A. *1952 Marlon Brando film : VIVA ZAPATA!
21A. *2008 Meryl Streep film : MAMMA MIA!
30A. *1968 Mark Lester film : OLIVER!
46A. *1972 Jack Lemmon film : AVANTI!
54A. *1980 Robert Hays film : AIRPLANE!
64A. *1969 Barbra Streisand film : HELLO, DOLLY!
COMPLETION TIME: 10m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. White-bellied whales : ORCAS
The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name "orca", rather than "killer whale", is becoming more and more common. The Latin word "Orcinus" means "belonging to Orcus", with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

10. Musical Mama : CASS
Cass Elliot was one of the four singers in the Mamas and the Papas, a sensational group from the sixties. Elliot was performing sold-out concerts in London in 1974 when she was found dead one morning, having had a heart attack. She was only 32 years old. Eerily, she died in the same flat (on loan from Harry Nilsson) in which the Who's drummer, Keith Moon, would die just four years later.

15. Bubkes : ZILCH
“Bupkis” (also “bubkes”) is a word that means “absolutely nothing, nothing of value”, and is of Yiddish origin.

17. *1952 Marlon Brando film : VIVA ZAPATA!
“Viva Zapata!” is a 1952 film directed by Elia Kazan. The film is based on the life the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, with a screenplay written by John Steinbeck.

21. *2008 Meryl Streep film : MAMMA MIA!
The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads, not so much …

Meryl Streep has had more nominations for an Academy Award than any other actor, a tribute to her talent and the respect she has earned in the industry. I am not a huge fan of her earlier works but some of her recent movies are now on my list of all-time favorites. I recommend "Mamma Mia!" (you'll either love it or hate it!), "Julie & Julia", "It's Complicated" and ”Hope Springs”.

23. Parent who can pass on an X or Y chromosome : DAD
In most mammalian species, including man, females have two identical sex chromosomes (XX) and males two distinct sex chromosomes (XY). As a result it is the males who determine the sex of the offspring. However, in birds the opposite is true and so females determine the sex of the chicks.

25. Orioles and Blue Jays, informally : ALERS
The Baltimore Orioles was one of the eight charter teams of MLB's American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn't fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn't help the team's performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.

26. From the start : AB OVO
"Ab ovo" translates literally from Latin as "from the egg", and is used in English to mean “from the beginning”.

30. *1968 Mark Lester film : OLIVER!
"Oliver Twist" is of course a novel by Charles Dickens. It is a popular tale for adaptation to the big screen. There are two silent film versions, released in 1909 and 1922, and the first talkie version was released in 1933, with many more to follow. The most successful movie is “Oliver!” from 1968, which is based on a musical adaptation for the stage by Lionel Bart. The latest "Oliver" for the big screen is a 2005 Roman Polanski production.

Mark Lester was a child actor whose most famous role is the title character in the 1968 musical film “Oliver!”, a performance he gave when he was just 8-years-old. Lester was a close friend of Michael Jackson for over twenty years, right up until Jackson’s death in 2009. Lester was also the godfather to Jackson’s children.

36. Part of fashion's YSL : YVES
Yves Saint-Laurent was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story ...

43. Medvedev's denial : NYET
Dmitry Medvedev was the third President of Russia from from 2008 to 2012, at which time he was appointed as the country’s tenth Prime Minister. That appointment was made by Medvedev’s successor as president, Vladimir Putin. The president supposedly wields more power than the prime minister according to Russia’s constitution, although it is generally assumed that Putin has been calling most of the shots consistently for many years now. Medvedev had served as Putin’s campaign manager in the 2000 presidential election.

45. Blue Cross competitor : AETNA
When the health care management company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the European volcano.

The Blue Cross association of health plans was established in 1929 in Dallas, Texas. The first plan put in place was for teachers, and guaranteed 21 days of hospital care if needed, for a premium of $6 a year. One can only dream …

46. *1972 Jack Lemmon film : AVANTI!
“Avanti!” is a 1972 comedy film mainly set in Italy, and starring Jack Lemmon opposite the lovely Juliet Mills. I’ve seen this movie a couple of times and it doesn’t quite deliver, despite a wonderful cast and director (Billy Wilder).

The great actor Jack Lemmon appeared in some of my favorite films, over a career that spanned over fifty years. Included in the list of fine movies that featured Lemmon are “Some Like It Hot” (1959), “The Apartment” (1960), “Irma la Douce” (1963), “The Odd Couple” (1968), “Grumpy Old Men” (1995) and “My Fellow Americans” (1996).

48. Atlas blowup : INSET
We call a book of maps an “atlas” after a collection of maps published by the famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator. Mercator's collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders, giving us our term "atlas".

49. Harvard Law Review editor who went on to become president : OBAMA
Not only did President Barack Obama attend Harvard University, but so did his birth father, Barack Obama, Sr. President Obama’s parents separated when Barack Obama, Sr. went off to Harvard leaving his wife and child back in Hawaii.

54. *1980 Robert Hays film : AIRPLANE!
The 1980 movie “Airplane!” has to be one of the zaniest comedies ever made. The lead roles were Ted Striker (played by Robert Hays) and Elaine Dickinson (played by Julie Hagerty). But it was Leslie Nielsen who stole the show, playing Dr. Barry Rumack. That's my own humble opinion of course ...

63. Tart fruit : SLOE
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and is the flavoring that gives gin its distinctive taste.

64. *1969 Barbra Streisand film : HELLO, DOLLY!
“Hello, Dolly!” is a Broadway musical first produced in 1964, adapted into a hugely successful movie in 1969. The title role of Dolly Levi was of course played by Barbra Streisand in the film, with Gene Kelly directing and a leading part for a young Michael Crawford.

Barbra Streisand has recorded 31 top-ten albums since 1963, more than any other female recording artist. In fact, she has had an album in the top ten for the last five decades, a rare achievement in itself.

67. Lensman Adams : ANSEL
As an amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years and must have read all of his books. Adams was famous for clarity and depth in his black and white images. Central to his technique was the use of the zone system, his own invention. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed primarily for black & white film, it can even apply to digital color images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose an image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined digitally giving a final photograph with a full and satisfying range of exposures.

68. Common feature in Roman statuary : TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a "stola".

71. Former New York archbishop : EGAN
Edward Egan served as Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York from 2000 to 2009. Egan was made a cardinal in 2001.

Down
1. Shankar at Woodstock : RAVI
Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and was noted for his sitar playing. Shankar was the father of the beautiful singer Norah Jones.

4. Baden-Baden and others : SPAS
Baden-Baden is located in the southwest of German in the Black Forest, very close to the border with France. The natural springs of Baden-Baden were greatly prized by the Ancient Romans who used the town as a spa. Baden-Baden became very popular with the aristocracy in the 1800s when visitors included Queen Victoria, as well as the composers Berlioz and Brahms, and the writer Dostoevsky. The town's reputation earned it the nickname of the "European Summer Capital". The town was originally called just Baden in the Middle Ages, and the name was officially changed to Baden-Baden in 1931. Baden-Baden is short for "the town of Baden in the state of Baden".

5. Seiji ___, longtime Boston Symphony maestro : OZAWA
Seiji Ozawa is most famous for his work as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, although he is also the principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera. Ozawa is renowned for wearing a white turtleneck under his dress suit when he conducts, rather than the traditional starched shirt and white tie.

6. Dead letters? : RIP
The commonly held belief that the acronym RIP stands for the English "rest in peace" isn't quite correct, not completely anyway. RIP is actually an abbreviation for a Latin phrase "requiescat in pace", which translates to "may he rest in peace".

8. Court proceedings : ACTA
Actum (plural "acta") is the Latin word for "deed". "Acta" is used in English to describe many official records, including minutes, proceedings etc.

10. Chargers in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" : CAVALRYMEN
The disastrous "Charge of the Light Brigade" took place in Balaclava in the Crimea on October 25th 1854 during the Crimean War. Commander of the British Army that day was Lord Raglan, and in overall command of the Calvary unit was the Earl of Lucan. Under Lucan, in command of the Light Brigade was the Earl of Cardigan. Raglan sent a Captain Nolan to Lucan with orders to attack "the guns". When Lucan asked Nolan which guns, it appears that Nolan indicated the wrong ones. Lucan then instructed Cardigan to lead the Light Cavalry in a charge on the designated guns, which he dutifully did. As the charge started, Nolan noted the error and rode onto the field to intercept the Light Brigade, but was killed by an artillery shell. The charge continued into an overwhelming artillery battery ("into the Valley of Death" to use Tennyson's famous words), causing the loss of over 2/3 of the mounted brigade, a loss of 400 horses and 250 men killed or wounded, for no military purpose at all. Cardigan survived, left the field of battle immediately and boarded his yacht in Balaklava Harbor and had a champagne lunch. Lucan was made a member of the Order of the Bath the following year, and Raglan was promoted to Field Marshal ...

11. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME
Anime is animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

13. Fictional Marner : SILAS
"Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe" is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There's an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

18. Actress Pia : ZADORA
Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Zadora's most famous role was in the 1982 film "Butterfly" in which she worked with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel "The Butterfly" by James M. Cain and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.

26. Mideast oil port : ADEN
Aden is a seaport in Yemen, located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967.

29. Watt's equivalent : VOLT-AMPERE
The watt (W) and the volt-ampere (VA) are equivalent units of power, although not the same thing. Both are measures of electrical power but watts refer to “real power” and volt-amperes refer to “apparent power”. That’s all I know!

32. Silent film effect : IRIS-IN
In the word of movie-making, An “Iris” is a technique in which an image is shown in only a small round area of the screen. An “Iris-out” starts as a pinpoint in the screen then moves outward to reveal a full scene. An “Iris-in” begins as a full scene and then closes down to pinpoint a specific circular area in the scene.

33. Letters on brandy : VSO
Cognac is a most famous variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac in the very west of France. To be called cognac, the brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in very specific French oak barrels. It is the length of this aging that defines the various grades of cognac (and other brandies):
- VS: Very Special ... at least 2 years storage
- VSOP: Very Special (or Superior) Old Pale ... at least 4 years storage
- XO: Extra Old ... at least 6 years
- VSO: Very Superior Old ... 12-17 years

37. Textile factory containers : VATS
Textile factories might contain vats of dye, I guess.

38. White-tailed raptor : ERNE
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle, and the sea-eagle.

"Raptor" is a generic term for a bird of prey, one that has talons to grip its victims.

39. Game similar to bridge : SKAT
When I was a teenager in Ireland, I had a friend with a German father. The father taught us the game of Skat, and what a great game it is. Skat originated in Germany in the 1800s and is to this day the most popular game in the country. I haven't played it in decades, but would love to play it again ...

41. Many a C.E.O. has one : MBA
The world's first MBA degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

47. Batman portrayer Kilmer : VAL
Val Kilmer's first big leading role in a movie was playing Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic "The Doors". A few years later, Morrison was chosen for the lead in another big production, "Batman Forever". Things haven't really gone as well for Kilmer since then, I'd say. Off the screen, he flirted with the idea of running for Governor of New Mexico in 2010. A Hollywood actor as a Governor? Would never happen ...

49. Desert stop-off : OASIS
The most famous oasis in the US is ... Las Vegas, in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

50. A ring bearer : BILBO
Bilbo Baggins is the main character in Tolkien's "The Hobbit", and a character who features in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

53. Poker player's "Uncle" : I FOLD
The term “uncle”, meaning “stop, I quit”, is a very North American expression. It has been around since the early 1900s but I couldn't unearth its etymology.

55. Melville captain : AHAB
Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly Captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick".

56. "99 Luftballons" singer : NENA
Nena is a German singer ("Nena" became the name of her band as well) who had a big hit with one of my favorite songs of the eighties "99 Luftballons". The English translation of the German title ("99 Red Balloons") isn't literal, with the color "red" added just so that the title had the right number of syllables for the tune. "Luftballon" is the name given to a child's toy balloon in German.

57. "Lohengrin" heroine : ELSA
"Lohengrin" is a very popular opera by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. Many arias from "Lohengrin" are staples on "Opera's Greatest Hits" collections.

We've often heard the "Bridal Chorus" from Richard Wagner's opera "Lohengrin". It's the tune to "Here comes the bride ...", which is played regularly at the start of wedding ceremonies as the bride walks down the aisle. In the opera, the "Bridal Chorus" is sung not at the start of the ceremony but afterwards, by the women of the wedding party as they accompany newlywed Elsa to the bridal chamber.

60. Many a YouTube upload : VLOG
A video blog is perhaps what one might expect, a blog that is essentially a series of video posts. The term “video logging” is often shortened to “vlogging”.

61. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA
Olga Korbut is from modern-day Belarus, but was born during the days of the Soviet Union. Korbut competed for the USSR team in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. She was 17 when she appeared in the 1972 Munich Games, and had been training in a sports school since she was 8-years-old. The world fell in love with her as she was a very emotional young lady, readily expressing joy and disappointment, something that we weren't used to seeing in athletes from behind the Iron Curtain. Korbut immigrated to the US in 1991 and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

62. Meg of "Sleepless in Seattle" : RYAN
Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan's big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally” from which she went on to star in some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.

“Sleepless in Seattle” is a lovely romantic comedy directed and co-written by Nora Ephron, released in 1993. The film’s storyline is based on the excellent 1957 movie “An Affair to Remember”, and there are numerous direct references to the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr classic throughout the “remake”. The lead roles in “Sleepless …” are played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

65. Big name in jeans : LEE
The Lee company famous for making jeans was formed in 1889, by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Wines said to go well with meat : REDS
5. White-bellied whales : ORCAS
10. Musical Mama : CASS
14. Each : A POP
15. Bubkes : ZILCH
16. Voting nay : ANTI
17. *1952 Marlon Brando film : VIVA ZAPATA!
19. It might hold the solution : VIAL
20. Arctic fishing tool : ICE SAW
21. *2008 Meryl Streep film : MAMMA MIA!
23. Parent who can pass on an X or Y chromosome : DAD
25. Orioles and Blue Jays, informally : ALERS
26. From the start : AB OVO
30. *1968 Mark Lester film : OLIVER!
34. Name on a plaque, maybe : DONOR
35. French seas : MERS
36. Part of fashion's YSL : YVES
40. It follows the answer to each starred clue : EXCLAMATION MARK
43. Medvedev's denial : NYET
44. Skew : BIAS
45. Blue Cross competitor : AETNA
46. *1972 Jack Lemmon film : AVANTI!
48. Atlas blowup : INSET
49. Harvard Law Review editor who went on to become president : OBAMA
52. Bubkes : NIL
54. *1980 Robert Hays film : AIRPLANE!
58. Intense passion : FERVOR
63. Tart fruit : SLOE
64. *1969 Barbra Streisand film : HELLO, DOLLY!
66. Letter-shaped support : I-BAR
67. Lensman Adams : ANSEL
68. Common feature in Roman statuary : TOGA
69. Achy : SORE
70. Emulated a lamb : BAAED
71. Former New York archbishop : EGAN

Down
1. Shankar at Woodstock : RAVI
2. Like some fails, in modern slang : EPIC
3. Bird of peace : DOVE
4. Baden-Baden and others : SPAS
5. Seiji ___, longtime Boston Symphony maestro : OZAWA
6. Dead letters? : RIP
7. Tight-lipped sort : CLAM
8. Court proceedings : ACTA
9. Hoax : SHAM
10. Chargers in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" : CAVALRYMEN
11. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME
12. Connector of stories : STAIR
13. Fictional Marner : SILAS
18. Actress Pia : ZADORA
22. Daisy ___ : MAE
24. Realm : DOMAIN
26. Mideast oil port : ADEN
27. Hardly aerodynamic : BOXY
28. Formerly : ONCE
29. Watt's equivalent : VOLT-AMPERE
31. Allow to attack : LET AT
32. Silent film effect : IRIS-IN
33. Letters on brandy : VSO
37. Textile factory containers : VATS
38. White-tailed raptor : ERNE
39. Game similar to bridge : SKAT
41. Many a C.E.O. has one : MBA
42. Did perfectly : NAILED
47. Batman portrayer Kilmer : VAL
49. Desert stop-off : OASIS
50. A ring bearer : BILBO
51. Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
53. Poker player's "Uncle" : I FOLD
55. Melville captain : AHAB
56. "99 Luftballons" singer : NENA
57. "Lohengrin" heroine : ELSA
59. Tedious learning method : ROTE
60. Many a YouTube upload : VLOG
61. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA
62. Meg of "Sleepless in Seattle" : RYAN
65. Big name in jeans : LEE

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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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