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Vacation Alert

I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

0309-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Mar 13, 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: David Steinberg & Barry C. Silk
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 65m 46s!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 4 … WARREN ZEVON (Harry Neevon), NAW (nah), LEES (leys), SEZ (see)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. "8mm" star, 1999 : NICOLAS CAGE
Nic Cage was born Nicolas Coppola. Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, both of whom are his father's siblings.

“8mm” is a 1999 film starring Nicolas Cage as a private investigator who gets involved in the nasty world of snuff films, films in which a victim is actually killed.

15. It has a Snapshot Tool command : ADOBE READER
Adobe Acrobat is the software used to create .pdf files. Most of us are more familiar with the associated application called Adobe Acrobat Reader, because that's what we use to read those .pdf files.

17. His 1978 album "Excitable Boy" went platinum : WARREN ZEVON
Warren Zevon was a rock singer and musician from Chicago, Illinois. Zevon was a frequent guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman”, sometimes filling in for Paul Shaffer as bandleader. In 2002, Zevon was diagnosed with cancer and given only a few months to live. Zevon was invited onto the “Letterman Show” in October 2002 to appear as a guest for the whole hour. He discussed his illness on-air, and offered his insight on dying: “Enjoy every sandwich”. Zevon lived longer than expected, but passed away in September 2003.

18. Marathoner Pippig : UTA
Uta Pippig is long-distance runner from Germany. Pippig became the first woman to win the Boston Marathon on three consecutive occasions, from 1994 to 1996.

19. Mrs. Gorbachev : RAISA
Raisa Gorbachova was the wife of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There's no doubt that Raisa's charm and personality helped her husband as he worked to change the image of the Soviet Union.

20. Bicycle support, informally : SISSY BAR
A “sissy bar” is extra support that is added to the rear of a motorcycle or bicycle seat. A sissy bar acts as a backrest for a passenger, and helps that passenger feel more secure.

22. 1956 Santos rookie : PELE
Pelé is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name Pelé for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world's greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads, and is a national treasure in his native Brazil.

Santos FC is the professional football (soccer) club based in Santos, a municipality in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.

25. Past-tense verb that is the same as its present-tense form minus the fourth and fifth letters : ALIT
“Alit” is the past tense of the verb “to alight”.

26. Jane who was Chicago's first female mayor : BYRNE
Jane Byrne was the Mayor of Chicago from 1979 to 1983. Byrne was the city’s first and only female mayor.

28. Title science teacher of an old sitcom : MR PEEPERS
“Mr. Peepers” is sitcom from the 1950s. The show starred Wally Cox in the title role, a high school science teacher.

31. Mud : JOE
It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as "joe", but we've been doing so since early in WWII.

32. Place for locks and pins : MAT
“Locks” and “pins” are wrestling holds.

34. ___ fide : MALA
Mala fide means "in bad faith" and is in essence the opposite to bona fide ("in good faith"). Bad faith is a concept defined by the law, and addresses the motives behind certain actions.

37. Won't allow : VETOES
"Veto" comes directly from Latin and means "I forbid". The word was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

41. Mrs. Grundy type : PRIG
Mrs. Grundy is an off-stage character in the 1798 play “Speed the Plough” by Thomas Morton. References to Mrs. Grundy define her as a bit of a prig.

43. Far East capital : YEN
The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents "round shape".

49. Circus Maximus stars? : ASTRA
"Astra" is the Latin for "stars" as in "Ad Astra", the motto of my alma mater, University College Dublin in Ireland.

The Circus Maximus was an ancient stadium used for chariot racing in Rome. It was the first such stadium built by the Romans, and was the largest ever to be built in the whole of the Roman Empire. The Circus Maximus was over 2,000 feet long and just under 400 feet wide, and could house about 15,000 spectators. There is very little of the original structure remaining and the site is now used as a major park.

51. Soviet attack sub : ALFA
The Soviet Alfa-class hunter/killer nuclear submarines were the fastest military submarines ever built by any navy. Alfas were extremely small for the size of their powerplant, which gave them the edge when it came to moving quickly through the water.

54. Bait thrown overboard : CHUM
The word “chum” meaning fish bait, is perhaps derived from the Scottish word “chum” meaning food.

66. Typical house on "Hoarders" : STY
“Hoarders” is a documentary show on the A&E channel that tells the stories of real-life people who suffer from compulsive hoarding.

Down
4. Inner Party member in "1984" : O'BRIEN
O’Brien is the main antagonist in George Orwell’s 1949 classic novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. In the 1984 movie adaptation, O’Brien is played by the great Welsh actor Richard Burton. It was the last role that Burton played before his death.

George Orwell’s famous novel actually has the title “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (as opposed to "1984"), with the date spelled out.

5. Sake brewery byproduct : LEES
The dregs in wine, the sediment that settles during fermentation (and sometimes in the bottle), is also called "lees".

We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as "sake". We've gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. "Sake" is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as “rice wine”. It is indeed made from rice, but it is a brewed rather than fermented and so is more like a beer than a wine.

6. Star with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : ARNAZ
Desi Arnaz was of course famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks taking up 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. The Walk of Fame is an ever-changing monument dedicated to those who have achieved greatness in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. The first stars installed in the sidewalk were a group of eight, officially laid in 1960. That group consisted of:
- Joanne Woodward (actor)
- Olive Borden (actor)
- Ronald Colman (actor)
- Louise Fazenda (actor)
- Preston Foster (actor)
- Burt Lancaster (actor)
- Edward Sedgwick (director)
- Ernest Torrence (actor)

8. Image on a denarius : CAESAR
The denarius (plural “denarii”) is a small silver coin that was used in Ancient Rome. Derived from the Latin “deni” meaning “containing ten”, a denarius had the value of ten asses. Today's "dinar" is a common coin in the Arab world and is named for the old Roman coin. The dinar name was chosen in the days when Arabs were conquering large swathes of the old Roman Empire.

10. Storms, e.g. : GEOS
Geos were small vehicles manufactured by General Motors mainly in the nineties. Geos were designed to compete head-to-head with the small imports that were gaining market share at the time in the US. Some Geo models that you might remember are the Metro, the Prizm and the Storm. The cars were actually built as joint-ventures with Japanese manufacturers. The Prizm was a GM/Toyota project, the Metro was GM/Suzuki, and the Storm was GM/Isuzu.

11. Cousins of kites : ERNS
The ern (also erne) is also called the white-tailed eagle, and the sea-eagle.

Kites are birds of prey that feed mainly on carrion.

12. Bagatelle : BAUBLE
A bagatelle is a bauble or trinket, a word that we imported from French, in which language it has the same meaning.

13. Pioneering microcomputer : ALTAIR
The Altair 8800 was a microcomputer design from the mid-seventies that many say led to to the microcomputer revolution that was to follow.

14. Rakes often break them : HEARTS
A "rake" (short for “rakehell”) is defined as a man who is habituated to immoral conduct (isn’t it always the man??!!). The rake is a character who turns up frequently in novels and films, only interested in wine, women and song and not accepting the responsibilities of life. Good examples would be Wickham in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Daniel Cleaver (the Hugh Grant part) in the movie "Bridget Jones’s Diary". "Rake" comes from the Old Norse "reikall", meaning "vagrant or a wanderer".

22. Many tykes' lunches : PBJS
"Tyke" has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902, but for centuries before that a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.

27. Filing aid : EMERY
Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.

30. Justice Kagan : ELENA
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the fourth female US Supreme Court justice (there have been 108 men!). I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread "Pride and Prejudice" once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I'd say ...

36. Baltic Sea swimmer : SPRAT
A sprat is a forage fish that travels in large schools with other species of fish, and that looks like a baby sardine. Although sprats are found all over the world, they are particularly associated with the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.

39. Ancient dweller in the Po Valley : ETRUSCAN
Etruria was a region in Central Italy, home to the Etruscans. Etruscan society was at its height about 650 BC.

The Po is the longest river in Italy and runs almost due east across the north of the country, passing through the city of Turin along the way.

40. Comforter go-with : SHAM
A sham is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens, a sham is also imitation and fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.

42. Lugs : GALOOTS
"Galoot" is an insulting term meaning an awkward or boorish man, an ape. "Galoot" comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

43. First name on the 1954 album "Mambo!" : YMA
Yma Sumac was a Peruvian soprano. Sumac had a notable vocal range of five octaves.

45. Five of them represent a zero : DASHES
The character “zero” is represented in Morse code by five dashes.

46. The "A" of A&M Records : ALPERT
A&M Records is a label that was founded in 1962 by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, hence the name “A&M”.

48. Chaucer's "Merciless Beauty," e.g. : RONDEL
A rondel is a short poem consisting of 13-14 lines. A good example of the form is “Merciless Beauty” by Geoffrey Chaucer:
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean -
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.

Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

50. Its contents are often wicked : SCONCE
A sconce is a light fixture that today uses electric bulbs, but in the past used candles and torches. The defining feature of a sconce is that it is supported by a wall and does not have a base that stands on the ground. Usually the light is indirect, projected upwards towards the ceiling.

53. Be a blessed person, per Matthew 5:4 : MOURN
According to Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”.

57. Princess in Donald Duck cartoons : OONA
Princess Oona is one of the ducks appearing in stories about “Donald Duck”. Created in 1994, Oona lives in a cave and is usually proclaiming her interest in Donald, romantically that is …

59. Certain pack member : BRAT
The Brat Pack moninker is reminiscent of the Rat Pack of the fifties and sixties (Franks Sinatra & co.). To qualify as a "founding" member of the Brat pack the actor had to appear in either "The Breakfast Club" or "St. Elmo's Fire", or both. So we have Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

62. Abbey title : FRA
The title "Fra" (brother) is used by Italian monks.

63. They have high stations : ELS
“Els” are elevated railroads.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "8mm" star, 1999 : NICOLAS CAGE
12. "Applesauce!" : BAH!
15. It has a Snapshot Tool command : ADOBE READER
16. Irish ___ : ALE
17. His 1978 album "Excitable Boy" went platinum : WARREN ZEVON
18. Marathoner Pippig : UTA
19. Mrs. Gorbachev : RAISA
20. Bicycle support, informally : SISSY BAR
22. 1956 Santos rookie : PELE
23. Groupie's trait : ZEAL
25. Past-tense verb that is the same as its present-tense form minus the fourth and fifth letters : ALIT
26. Jane who was Chicago's first female mayor : BYRNE
28. Title science teacher of an old sitcom : MR PEEPERS
31. Mud : JOE
32. Place for locks and pins : MAT
34. ___ fide : MALA
35. Gets in a lather : SUDSES
37. Won't allow : VETOES
41. Mrs. Grundy type : PRIG
43. Far East capital : YEN
44. Kind of root in math : NTH
45. Milk producer : DAIRY FARM
49. Circus Maximus stars? : ASTRA
51. Soviet attack sub : ALFA
52. Gardener's purchase : LOAM
54. Bait thrown overboard : CHUM
55. Wine-tasting accessory : SPITTOON
58. Pair in an average-sized orchestra : OBOES
60. Get an edge on? : HEM
61. One stoked to provide warmth : WOOD FURNACE
64. A simpler one may be recalled : ERA
65. Black-and-white, say : INTERRACIAL
66. Typical house on "Hoarders" : STY
67. Flashlight alternatives : GAS LANTERNS

Down
1. Sticks nix : NAW
2. "Go ahead and try!" : I DARE YOU!
3. Orange relative : CORAL RED
4. Inner Party member in "1984" : O'BRIEN
5. Sake brewery byproduct : LEES
6. Star with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : ARNAZ
7. Informal remarks? : SEZ
8. Image on a denarius : CAESAR
9. Sominex alternative : ADVIL PM
10. Storms, e.g. : GEOS
11. Cousins of kites : ERNS
12. Bagatelle : BAUBLE
13. Pioneering microcomputer : ALTAIR
14. Rakes often break them : HEARTS
21. Shrilly talk to : YAP AT
22. Many tykes' lunches : PBJS
24. Potential throat clearer, briefly : EMT
27. Filing aid : EMERY
29. Hangover? : EAVE
30. Justice Kagan : ELENA
33. "Highly doubtful" : AS IF
36. Baltic Sea swimmer : SPRAT
38. Live, maybe : ON THE AIR
39. Ancient dweller in the Po Valley : ETRUSCAN
40. Comforter go-with : SHAM
42. Lugs : GALOOTS
43. First name on the 1954 album "Mambo!" : YMA
45. Five of them represent a zero : DASHES
46. The "A" of A&M Records : ALPERT
47. Polite cut-in : IFI MAY
48. Chaucer's "Merciless Beauty," e.g. : RONDEL
50. Its contents are often wicked : SCONCE
53. Be a blessed person, per Matthew 5:4 : MOURN
56. Skinny-minny : TWIG
57. Princess in Donald Duck cartoons : OONA
59. Certain pack member : BRAT
62. Abbey title : FRA
63. They have high stations : ELS

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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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