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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, California

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 probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

0716-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 16 Jul 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: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Pros and Cons … each of today’s themed answers come in pair, with one half of the paired words starting with PRO- and one half starting with CON-, and each having the same definition:
17A. Claim openly : PROFESS
18A. Claim openly : CONFESS

30A. One might be seen around a construction site : PROTRACTOR
42A. One might be seen around a construction site : CONTRACTOR

56A. Fight back against : PROTEST
59A. Fight back against : CONTEST
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 21s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Musical genre for Ladysmith Black Mambazo : AFRO-POP
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group that came to prominence singing with Paul Simon his 1986 album “Graceland”. The group is from South Africa, and their style of music is referred to as Afro-Pop.

8. Erik of "CHiPs" : ESTRADA
Erik Estrada got his big break in the movie "Airport 1975", before playing Poncherello on the television show “CHiPs” from 1977-81.

15. Scrubbers used in a 9-Down : LOOFAHS
The loofah (also loofa, lufah and luffa, all Arabic words) is a vine, with fruit that's very popular in Asia and Africa. If the fruit is allowed to mature, it can be processed to remove everything but the more rigid xylem structure (remember your high school botany class?) leaving a soft, sponge-like mass that is used as a skin polisher.

20. Bar member: Abbr. : ATT
Attorney (att.)

22. Kid-friendly card game : UNO
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game, by a German acquaintance of mine, called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that's used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

27. Washington baseball team, for short : NATS
The Washington Nationals baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.

38. Ohio college that was the first in the U.S. to award degrees to women : OBERLIN
Oberlin, Ohio is a city southwest of Cleveland. The city is home to Oberlin College, the biggest employer in town. Oberlin was named after Jean-Frédéric Oberlin, a pastor from Alsace. Oberlin was the first college in the country to admit African American students, and the second to admit females (after Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky).

40. Silly : INANE
Our word “inane” meaning silly or lacking substance comes from the Latin “inanitis” meaning “empty space”.

41. Oscar winner for "Mystic River" and "Milk" : SEAN PENN
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".

“Mystic River” is a 2003 drama film based on a novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Sean Penn. The film has quite a dark story line and deals with the difficult subject of pedophilia.

“Milk” is a 2008 biopic based on the life of activist and politician Harvey Milk, with Sean Penn playing the title role. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White.

45. Snick and ___ : SNEE
"Snick or snee" is the name given to cut and thrust while fighting with a knife. The phrase is rooted in a pair of Dutch words and it gave its name to a "snee", a light sword-like knife.

46. Forest creature in "The Lord of the Rings" : ENT
Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth in his series of books "The Lord of the Rings". “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

47. Like the N.B.A.'s Jason Collins, notably : GAY
Jason Collins is a professional basketball player who was drafted from Stanford University and who last played for the Washington Wizards. Notably, Collins became the first active male athlete in US professional sports to come out as gay, in 2013. Previously, Collins had been in an 8-year relationship with a WNBA player and the two had been engaged, but called off the wedding.

48. '50s White House nickname : IKE
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

52. RR stop : STA
A stop on a railroad (RR) line is a station (sta.).

53. Greek consonants : MUS
Mu is the Greek letter, the forerunner to our Roman letter M.

63. Marsh plant : CATTAIL
Cattails are flowering plants found in wetlands, although we call them bullrushes back in Ireland ...

64. Business, slangily : BEESWAX
One might use the word “beeswax” to mean “business” in the phrase “mind your beeswax”, meaning “mind your own business”. The phrase dates back to the 1930s and comes from the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Down
2. Cry after a bad swing : FORE!
No one seems to know for sure where the golfing term "fore!" comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and since then has been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry "Faugh a Ballach!" (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling. Road bowling is an Irish game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!

5. Song of praise : PAEAN
A paean is a poem or song that expresses triumph or thanksgiving. “Paean” comes from the ancient Greek “paian” meaning "song of triumph”.

7. Sibilant "Hey!" : PSST!
“Sibilant” is a word describing a sound of speech, the sound of an “s” or “z”, a hissing sound. The word “sissies” has three sibilant sounds.

8. Debutante's date : ESCORT
Deb is short for "debutante", which translates from French as "female beginner".

12. Ginger ___ : ALE
The brand most closely associated with ginger ale is Canada Dry. "Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale" was first formulated in 1904 by a Canadian chemist called John McLoughlin from Ontario. Prohibition in the United States helped sales of the drink as it was particularly effective in masking the taste of illegally-produced homemade liquor.

13. Tooth filler, for short : DDS
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

22. Big money maker in Phila. : US MINT
The nation’s first mint was established in Philadelphia in 1792, as back then Philadelphia was the capital of the United States. That first mint was established in a building that previously housed a whiskey distillery.

25. I, in chemistry : IODINE
Back in 1924, a professor of pediatrics in Michigan led a campaign in the US to have producers of salt add a small amount of sodium iodide to table salt, so that the population would have a readily available source of the iodine micronutrient. His goal was to reduce the incidence of goiter in the population.

26. Hester of "The Scarlet Letter" : PRYNNE
Hester Prynne is the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel "The Scarlet Letter". When Hester is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet "A" on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel's title, "The Scarlet Letter".

28. Support group that deals with codependency : AL-ANON
Al-Anon and Alateen are fellowships of relatives and friends of alcoholics. Alateen specifically supports teens who are affected by another’s drinking, whereas Al-Anon focuses on people of all ages.

31. Blu-___ Disc : RAY
A Blu-ray disc looks just like a standard DVD or CD, but it has a lot more capacity for data storage making it an ideal medium for high-definition movies. The name "Blu-ray" comes from the "blue laser" used to read the disc, unlike a standard DVD player that uses a "red laser".

32. "You've got that right!" : AMEN!
The word “amen” is translated as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is likely to be also influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

33. Body of work for Agatha Christie? : CORPSE
Not only did Agatha Christie write a fabulous collection of murder-mystery stories, she also wrote romances, but under the pen name Mary Westmacott. I’ve read almost all of Christie's 66 detective novels, but I must admit, not one of her romance novels.

38. Antipoverty agcy. : OEO
The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was created during the Lyndon Johnson administration. The agency was responsible for administering the War on Poverty programs that were part of the President Johnson's Great Society agenda. The OEO was shut down by President Nixon, although some of the office's programs were transferred to other agencies. A few of the OEO's programs are still around today, like Head Start for example.

39. Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, voicewise : BARITONE
The singer Bing Crosby was a great lover of the game of golf. Crosby had just finished up 18 holes on a course in Spain in 1977 when he suffered a massive heart attack on the final green. Crosby’s last words were “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Like so many of our heroes, Sinatra had a rough upbringing. His mother was arrested several times and convicted of running an illegal abortion business in the family home. Sinatra never finished high school, as he was expelled for rowdy conduct. He was later arrested as a youth on a morals charge for carrying on with a married woman, which was an offence back then. But Sinatra straightened himself out by the time he was twenty and started singing professionally.

43. Tennis's Andre : AGASSI
Renowned tennis professional Andre Agassi wrote an autobiography called "Open", published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi's famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

44. OPEC is one : CARTEL
A “cartel” is a group of independent businesses who cooperate to regulate production, pricing and marketing of their common product(s).

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrench control of oil prices from the oil companies and to put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.

49. "Gold Digger" rapper West : KANYE
Kanye West is a rap singer from Atlanta, Georgia. That’s all I know ...

50. Copy editor's mark : STET
"Stet" is the Latin word meaning "let it stand". In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word "stet" and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

51. 1980s All-Star catcher Tony : PENA
Tony Peña is a former professional baseball catcher and manager. He is now a coach with the New York Yankees.

52. Fill-in for a striking worker : SCAB
We first started calling strikebreakers "scabs" in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of "scab" as a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

54. Letters on meat packaging : USDA
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually dates back to 1862 when it was established by then-president Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln referred to the USDA as the "people's department" as our economy had such a vast agrarian base back then.

55. River of Hades : STYX
The River Styx in Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or Hades). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead "to pay the ferryman".

56. Instagram upload, informally : PIC
Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular I hear. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram had just 13 employees at the time …

57. Genetic material : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

58. Halloween mo. : OCT
All Saints' Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints' Day is All Hallows Eve, better known by the Scottish term, "Halloween".

60. Conan O'Brien's network : TBS
Before Conan O'Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host, he was a writer. O'Brien wrote for both "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons".


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Musical genre for Ladysmith Black Mambazo : AFRO-POP
8. Erik of "CHiPs" : ESTRADA
15. Scrubbers used in a 9-Down : LOOFAHS
16. Riot squad defenses : SHIELDS
17. Claim openly : PROFESS
18. Claim openly : CONFESS
19. Movie filming spot : SET
20. Bar member: Abbr. : ATT
21. Has debts : OWES
22. Kid-friendly card game : UNO
23. Fury : IRE
24. Chug's opposite : SIP
27. Washington baseball team, for short : NATS
30. One might be seen around a construction site : PROTRACTOR
34. Quadrennial athlete : OLYMPIAN
36. Temperamental : MOODY
37. "The spice of life" : VARIETY
38. Ohio college that was the first in the U.S. to award degrees to women : OBERLIN
40. Silly : INANE
41. Oscar winner for "Mystic River" and "Milk" : SEAN PENN
42. One might be seen around a construction site : CONTRACTOR
45. Snick and ___ : SNEE
46. Forest creature in "The Lord of the Rings" : ENT
47. Like the N.B.A.'s Jason Collins, notably : GAY
48. '50s White House nickname : IKE
50. Practice for a prizefight : SPAR
52. RR stop : STA
53. Greek consonants : MUS
56. Fight back against : PROTEST
59. Fight back against : CONTEST
61. Smoke in a church : INCENSE
62. "Who wants to try?" : ANYBODY?
63. Marsh plant : CATTAIL
64. Business, slangily : BEESWAX

Down
1. Swiss peaks : ALPS
2. Cry after a bad swing : FORE!
3. Carrot, radish or parsnip : ROOT
4. Out of whack : OFF
5. Song of praise : PAEAN
6. "You're flattering me too much!" : OH STOP IT!
7. Sibilant "Hey!" : PSST!
8. Debutante's date : ESCORT
9. Locker room feature : SHOWER
10. Fork part : TINE
11. Makes calls on a basketball court : REFS
12. Ginger ___ : ALE
13. Tooth filler, for short : DDS
14. Idiot : ASS
22. Big money maker in Phila. : US MINT
23. Charged particle : ION
24. Like some bases or glances : STOLEN
25. I, in chemistry : IODINE
26. Hester of "The Scarlet Letter" : PRYNNE
27. Beginner : NOVICE
28. Support group that deals with codependency : AL-ANON
29. Tough boss to work for : TYRANT
31. Blu-___ Disc : RAY
32. "You've got that right!" : AMEN!
33. Body of work for Agatha Christie? : CORPSE
35. Use binoculars, say : PEER
38. Antipoverty agcy. : OEO
39. Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, voicewise : BARITONE
41. Place that needs some serious cleaning : STY
43. Tennis's Andre : AGASSI
44. OPEC is one : CARTEL
49. "Gold Digger" rapper West : KANYE
50. Copy editor's mark : STET
51. 1980s All-Star catcher Tony : PENA
52. Fill-in for a striking worker : SCAB
53. Cat call : MEOW
54. Letters on meat packaging : USDA
55. River of Hades : STYX
56. Instagram upload, informally : PIC
57. Genetic material : RNA
58. Halloween mo. : OCT
60. Conan O'Brien's network : TBS


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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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