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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

0413-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 13 Apr 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: Martin Ashwood-Smith
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 27m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. "Spin the Black Circle" Grammy winner of 1995 : PEARL JAM
Pearl Jam is an alternative rock band from Seattle, Washington.

19. Trendy tuna : AHI
Yellowfin tuna is usually marketed as "ahi", its Hawaiian name. Yellowfin tuna is one big fish, often weighing over 300 pounds.

21. Prohibition, e.g. : ERA
There were concerted efforts to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages in the US from the 1840s right up until the lobbyists achieved success with ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1919. While there were several factors that influenced legislators at that time, one was the perceived need to take political power away from German-based brewing industry during WWI.

24. City near Pyramid Lake : RENO
Pyramid Lake is a relatively salty body of water situated 40 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. The lake is fed by the Truckee River, but does not have an outlet. Instead, water seeps out through the lake bottom and is also lost via evaporation. It is this evaporation that has led to concentration of dissolved salts over time.

27. "Superman II" villainess : URSA
Ursa is one the three main antagonists who take on Superman in the movie “Superman II”.

“Superman II” is one of those movies that is surrounded in controversy due to problems encountered during production. “Superman II” was shot at the same time is the original “Superman” movie, with Richard Donner in the director’s chair. Donner didn’t like the instructions he was getting from the producers regarding the tone of the movie, and the resulting dispute led to him being fired, with about 25% of “Superman II” left to be shot. After Donner was replaced with Richard Lester, Gene Hackman refused to return for reshoots, so a lot of Hackman's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

29. Atlas offerings : AUTOMOBILE TIRES
I think that Atlas tires might still be available, but I don’t believe they are as popular as they once were. Atlas tires were made by different manufacturers at different times in the company’s history, and used to be sold by Standard Oil (later Amoco, and now BP).

37. Ivory tower setting : GROVES OF ACADEME
The expression “the groves of academe” is a reference to the location of Plato’s original “Academy” in a walled-off grove of olive trees just outside Athens.

The Greek philosopher Plato founded his school called “the Academy” circa 387 BC in Athens. The site Plato chose for his school was a walled-off grove of olive trees that lay just outside the city. The grove was sacred, dedicated to the goddess Athena, but named “Akademia” after a mythological hero called Akademos. So, it is the mythical Akademos who ultimately gives us our word “academy”.

39. Large wire : ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Associated Press (AP) is a news agency based in New York City. AP is a non-profit cooperative that was set up by five New York newspapers in 1846 to share the cost of transmitting news. Nowadays, AP recoups most of its cost by selling news stories and related materials to newspapers all around the world, mostly outside of the US.

40. "Boxing Helena" star Sherilyn : FENN
Sherilyn Fenn was the actress who played Audrey Horne on “Twin Peaks” in the nineties. Fenn also played the title role in the 1993 romantic drama film “Boxing Helena”.

41. Squad leader? : ESS
The leading letter in the word “squad” is S (ess).

42. Comic response, in Variety : LAFF
I am not sure that I fully understand this one. I think that the reference is to “Variety” magazine, and “laff” is a slang term for “laugh”. But, I could be way off …

45. Greek restaurant menu subheading : GYROS
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.

55. Part of the Ring of Fire : ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
The Ring of Fire is the name given to the area surrounding the Pacific Ocean which is prone to large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In fact, 75% of the planet’s active volcanoes are found in the Ring of Fire.

61. Modern resident of ancient Ebla : SYRIAN
Ebla was an ancient city located just southwest of the modern city of Aleppo in Syria.

62. Many gallerygoers : ESTHETES
An aesthete (also “esthete”) is someone who appreciates beauty in art or in nature. Often someone described as an aesthete might show excessive or affected admiration of beauty.

Down
1. ___-Calais (French department) : PAS DE
Pas-de-Calais is a department in the very north of France, home to the coastal city of Calais. It was a key location in the Allied plan to invade Europe in WWII in that there was a deceptive plan developed to invade Pas-de-Calais, to take away attention from the actual target, the beaches of Normandy.

2. Imparter of fruity overtones : ESTER
Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic.

3. Hub for Jordan Aviation : AQABA
The coastal city of Aqaba is the only seaport in the country of Jordan. The city lies at the very northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, which is off the Red Sea.

4. Half-pint : RUNT
Back around 1500. a runt was an old or decayed tree stump, and by the early 1600s "runt" was being used to describe animals that were similarly old and decayed. Ultimately "runt" came to mean the smallest and often sickest in a litter.

6. Vingt-et-un, e.g. : JEU
In French, twenty-one (vingt-et-un) is a card game (jeu).

7. How some instruments are sold : AT PAR
Stocks, and other financial vehicles, may be sold "at par", meaning at the original price, not discounted nor at a premium.

8. Gessen who wrote the 2012 Putin biography "The Man Without a Face" : MASHA
Masha Gessen is Russian-American journalist and author. Gessen published a political biography of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012 called “The Man without a Face”. In the book, she describes Putin as a dictator. Despise her outspoken criticism of the current regime in Russia, Gessen lives in Moscow, having returned there in 1991 after spending ten years living in the US.

9. Bayou predator : GAR
The fish known as a gar is very unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What is interesting about gar is that their swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

The exact origins of the word "bayou" is uncertain, but it is thought perhaps to come from the Choctaw (a Native American people from the southeast) word "bayuk", meaning "small stream".

10. Cold war grp.? : AMA
The American Medical Association (AMA) might be said to wage war on the common cold.

26. Punish by fine : AMERCE
An amercement is a financial penalty imposed by law. An amercement is similar to a fine, but differs in that a fine is a fixed amount defined by statute whereas an amercement is an arbitrary amount decided by a court.

29. Arizona's ___ Fria River : AGUA
The Agua Fria River that runs from a spot near the city of Prescott, Arizona south through the Agua Fria National Monument and into Lake Pleasant located near Peoria, Arizona. “Agua Fria” translates from Spanish as “Cold Water”.

31. Upscale Italian shoe brand : TOD’S
Tod’s is a manufacturer of high-end shoes based in Italy. Apparently Tod’s is most famous for producing driving shoes, whatever they are …

32. Where Captain Cook landed in 1770 : BOTANY BAY
Botany Bay is located in Sydney, Australia. It was in Botany Bay that Captain James Cook first landed in Australia, in 1770 on HMS Endeavour. It was this landing that marked the beginning of the colonization of Australia by the British.

33. "___ first ..." : IF AT
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

34. Conductor Leibowitz : RENE
RenĂ© Leibowitz was a French composer who had been born in Warsaw, Poland. Liebowitz studied with Maurice Ravel in Paris in the 1930s, but then studied with Anton Webern and became part of the Second Viennese School and embraced the concept of atonality. Not my cup of tea …

36. Short term? : SESS
A term is a session, written as sess. in short.

42. Toronto team, briefly : LEAFS
The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was founded way back in 1917. As members of the National Hockey League, the Maple leafs have won the Stanley Cup championships thirteen times, the second best record in the league. Having said that, the last championship the team won was in 1967, and the resulting “drought” is the longest in NHL today.

43. Dental gold, e.g. : ALLOY
I was not aware that gold fillings and crown were an alloy. I always thought that they were made of pure gold. Apparently gold alloy fillings contain gold, copper and other metals.

44. Jacinthe or jonquille : FLEUR
In French, hyacinth (jacinthe) or daffodil (jonquille) is a flower (fleur).

47. Late notices? : OBITS
"Obituary" comes from the Latin "obituaris", originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is "pertaining to death".

53. Xanadu's river : ALPH
The Alph is a fictional river that features in Coleridge’s famous poem “Kubla Khan”.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my wife's favorite poem. Coleridge wrote the masterpiece one night in 1797 after a vivid dream heavily influenced by opium.

54. It may have a row of 28-Down, briefly : SASE
(28. They get stuck in corners : STAMPS)
A self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) might bear a row of stamps.

56. William Tell territory : URI
Supposedly William Tell came from Uri, a canton in the German part of Switzerland. Altdorf is the capital of Uri and is the city where William Tell shot the apple off his son's head, at least according to legend.

57. Old Eastern alternative : TWA
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan-Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the acronym TWA) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

Eastern Air Lines was around from 1927 until 1991. The company was purchased in 1938 by Eddie Rickenbacker, who was a WWI flying ace. Under Rickenbacker’s leadership, Eastern were very successful. However, the airline couldn’t cope with a strike, high fuel prices and deregulation in the nineties, so Eastern went bankrupt in 1991.

Eddie Rickenbacker was the USA’s most successful fighter ace in World War One. He recorded 26 victories during the war. After the war, Rickenbacker’s most successful business venture was as owner of Eastern Air Lines. In 1941, he nearly died on an Eastern flight that crashed outside Atlanta.

58. Rankin who created Inspector Rebus : IAN
Ian Rankin is crime writer from Scotland. Rankin’s most famous novels feature his hero “Inspector Rebus” and are set in and around Edinburgh.

59. Juice fiend : SOT
Our word "sot" comes from the Old English "sott", meaning a fool. The word "sot" started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "Spin the Black Circle" Grammy winner of 1995 : PEARL JAM
9. Sort who needs to button up : GASBAG
15. Buttoned up : AS QUIET AS A MOUSE
17. Not have a hunch? : STAND UP STRAIGHT
18. What shy people often have : DEBTS
19. Trendy tuna : AHI
20. With 22-Across, runner's woe : LEG
21. Prohibition, e.g. : ERA
22. See 20-Across : CRAMP
24. City near Pyramid Lake : RENO
25. Uglify : MAR
27. "Superman II" villainess : URSA
29. Atlas offerings : AUTOMOBILE TIRES
37. Ivory tower setting : GROVES OF ACADEME
38. Some expressions of false humility : UNDERSTATEMENTS
39. Large wire : ASSOCIATED PRESS
40. "Boxing Helena" star Sherilyn : FENN
41. Squad leader? : ESS
42. Comic response, in Variety : LAFF
45. Greek restaurant menu subheading : GYROS
48. Realization vocalization : AHA!
51. Plumber's union? : ELL
52. Catcher of the rye? : BIB
53. Dipsticks : ASSES
55. Part of the Ring of Fire : ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
60. Light alternative : FOUR-WAY STOP SIGN
61. Modern resident of ancient Ebla : SYRIAN
62. Many gallerygoers : ESTHETES

Down
1. ___-Calais (French department) : PAS DE
2. Imparter of fruity overtones : ESTER
3. Hub for Jordan Aviation : AQABA
4. Half-pint : RUNT
5. Eyeshades? : LIDS
6. Vingt-et-un, e.g. : JEU
7. How some instruments are sold : AT PAR
8. Gessen who wrote the 2012 Putin biography "The Man Without a Face" : MASHA
9. Bayou predator : GAR
10. Cold war grp.? : AMA
11. "___ gather" : SO I
12. Military brass : BUGLE
13. Horror-struck, apparently : ASHEN
14. First moment : GET-GO
16. Goose : STIMULATE
22. Ferry ride, say : CROSSING
23. Ushers in : PRECEDES
24. Assault team : RAIDERS
25. Depart from : MOVE OFF
26. Punish by fine : AMERCE
28. They get stuck in corners : STAMPS
29. Arizona's ___ Fria River : AGUA
30. Some of a caterer's inventory : URNS
31. Upscale Italian shoe brand : TOD’S
32. Where Captain Cook landed in 1770 : BOTANY BAY
33. "___ first ..." : IF AT
34. Conductor Leibowitz : RENE
35. Crew at a pileup : EMTS
36. Short term? : SESS
42. Toronto team, briefly : LEAFS
43. Dental gold, e.g. : ALLOY
44. Jacinthe or jonquille : FLEUR
46. Salon service : RINSE
47. Late notices? : OBITS
48. Peeved, after "in" : A SNIT
49. Play both sides, in a way : HEDGE
50. Pro grps. : ASSNS
53. Xanadu's river : ALPH
54. It may have a row of 28-Down, briefly : SASE
56. William Tell territory : URI
57. Old Eastern alternative : TWA
58. Rankin who created Inspector Rebus : IAN
59. Juice fiend : SOT


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The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections

4 comments :

Summer G. said...

13 across...pele's name is not Edson but Edison

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Summer

Well, I do agree that there are a lot of websites giving Pele's name as "Edison", but there a lot more spelling the name as "Edson". I note that websites that are what one might call "official, sanctioned", use the "Edson" spelling.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Pele's name IS Edson, NOT Edison. In fact, a current soccer star in the US, Edson Buddle, was named after him.

To Bill: hats off to anyone who could get any traction in this puzzle. I couldn't get anywhere with it for half an hour before I gave up. Still room to improve, I should say!

Bill Butler said...

Thanks for underscoring my suggestion about Pele.

And stick with the puzzles ... my experience is very definitely that practice makes perfect :)

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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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