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Greetings from Dromod, County Leitrim in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

0804-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Aug 13, Sunday





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: Steven Ginzburg
THEME: Should I Call the Repairman? … each of the themed answers is a phrase usually used for something needing to be repaired, but with reference to the item referred to in the clue, things are working just fine:
27A. The jigsaw ... : KEEPS CUTTING OUT
40A. The elevator ... : JUST WENT DOWN
53A. The mosquito zapper ... : HAS STILL GOT BUGS
77A. The quiz-grading machine ... : FAILED SOME TESTS
89A. The crosswalk signal ... : IS ON THE BLINK
104A. The film-processing machine at the movie studio ... : DEVELOPED A SHORT
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 24m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

14. Military hat : KEPI
A kepi is that circular cap with a visor that’s worn in particular by the French military.

19. Conquest of Caesar : GAUL
Supposedly, when Caesar marched back to Rome from Gaul, as he defiantly "crossed the Rubicon" with his army, he uttered the words "Alea iacta est" ("The die is cast").

25. Part of IV : INTRA-
Intra-venous (IV)

32. The F.D.I.C. was created during his presidency : FDR
During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Banking Act of 1933. The legislation established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), intended to be a temporary government corporation that provided insurance on deposits made by customers of qualified financial institutions. The first accounts to be covered, in 1934, had an insurance limit of $2,500. Since the financial crisis of 2008, that limit is $250,000.

40. The elevator ... : JUST WENT DOWN
Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the "safety elevator", a design that he showcased at the 1853 World's Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

51. Don José in "Carmen," e.g. : TENOR
Georg Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet's most famous work has to be his opera "Carmen". "Carmen" initially received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly Bizet died at only 36 years of age, before he could see "Carmen's" tremendous success.

52. Column on a Clue notepad : ROOMS
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as "Cluedo". Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it's a fabulous game, a must during the holidays ...

58. He said "Every great film should seem new every time you see it" : EBERT
Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Ebert was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in 2002, and finally succumbed to a recurrence of the disease in April 2013.

65. T, by telegraph : DAH
A “dah” or "dash" is Morse code for the letter “T”.

Samuel Morse was a very accomplished and reputable painter (he was engaged to paint a portrait of President John Adams, for example). In 1825 Morse was in Washington working on a commissioned painting when he received a one-line letter by horse messenger telling him that his wife was ill. He left immediately for his home in New Haven, Connecticut but by the time that Morse arrived his wife had already died and had been buried. This single event spurred him to move from painting to the development of a rapid means of long distance communication, leading to the single-wire telegraph and Morse code.

68. Glands on top of the kidneys : ADRENALS
The adrenal glands, as you might expect from the name, sit on top of the kidneys. There main function is to secrete hormones that have a role to play in times of stress, the most well known of which is epinephrine (aka adrenaline).

73. Of Nineveh's home: Abbr. : ASSYR
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River in modern-day Iraq. The ruins of the city are located just on the other side of the river from the Iraqi city of Mosul. At one time, Nineveh was the largest city in the world.

75. Muslim headdress : TAJ
“Taj”is a Persian word meaning “crown”. The term is used for a cap worn by some Muslims.

83. Coin with a two-headed eagle : RUBLE
The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as several other countries of the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks.

84. London weights : TONNES
The “tonne” is also called a “metric ton”, and is equivalent to 1,000 kg. The tonne isn’t an official unit of mass in the metric system, but it is used a lot.

85. Agent on "The X-Files" : MULDER
"The X-Files" is a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, it was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history.

92. Naldi of film : NITA
Nita Naldi was an American silent film actress who usually played a "femme fatale" type of role.

93. Like the samba and salsa : LATIN
Samba is a Brazilian dance, very much symbolic of the festival known as Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the Samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name "samba" seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word "Semba" which means "a blow struck with the belly button". We don't seem to have a need for such a word in English ...

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

96. Sinuous dance : HULA
Hula is the name of the Polynesian dance. The chant or song that the dance illustrates, that's known as the mele.

97. "Charlotte's Web" setting : STY
"Charlotte's Web" is a children's novel by author E. B. White. Charlotte is a barn spider, who manages to save the life of a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is a pet pig, owned by the farmer's daughter, Fern Arable.

98. 1972 musical or its 2013 revival : PIPPIN
“Pippin” is a stage musical by Stephen Schwartz that was first produced in 1972, on Broadway. The title character’s father is named Charlemagne. The father-son characters are inspired by the Holy Roman Emperors Charlemagne and Pepin.

108. Curling implement : BROOM
I think curling is a cool game (pun intended!). It's somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone is it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path ("curl") by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

115. Vladimir's veto : NYET
"Nyet" is Russian for "no", and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

119. Certifications on some college apps : GEDS
The General Education Diploma (GED) is a substitute for a high school diploma. The GED might be awarded to high school dropouts who later complete their education, or to students who are homeschooled.

121. Bar, at the bar : ESTOP
The legal term "estop" means to block or stop by using some legal device. The word "estop" comes from Old French, in which "estopper" means "to stop up" or "to impede".

Down
2. Quatrain rhyme scheme : ABAA
A quatrain is a group of four lines of poetry.

4. Words of farewell : ELEGY
Perhaps the most famous elegy in the English language is that written by Thomas Gray, completed in 1750. His “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is the source of many oft-quoted phrases, including:
- Celestial fire
- Far from the Madding Crowd
- Kindred spirit

6. High Muslim honorific : AGA KHAN
Aga Khan is a hereditary title of the Imam of a large sect within the Shi'a Muslim faith. The current Aga Khan is Shah Karim al-Hussayni, who has held the position since 1957.

9. Soapbox derby necessity : SLOPE
Gravity racers are kids vehicles that are propelled by gravity alone, moving down a hill. Back in Ireland we called gravity racers “trolley carts”, whereas here in North America I believe that they are called soapbox cars.

15. Prefix with -plasm : ECTO-
The endoplasm is the inner part of a cell’s cytoplasm, and the ectoplasm is the outer part.

16. Paddington Bear's country of origin : PERU
Paddington Bear is a character from a series of books written by Michael Bond. Paddington is an immigrant from Peru who is found sitting on his suitcase in Paddington Railway Station in London.

24. Online news aggregation inits. : RSS
Websites and blogs, like this one, publish content in a format known as Rich Site Summary (RSS). The “feed” can be read using an RSS reader. That’s how a few folks read the content of this blog …

28. Right-leaning: Abbr. : ITAL
Italic type leans to the right. The style is known as "italic" because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

32. Coastal feature : FJORD
A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, both formed as sea level rises. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

33. "The Souls of Black Folk" author, 1903 : DU BOIS
W. E. B. Du Bois was sociologist and civil rights activist from Massachusetts. Du Bois was the first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard, and went on to become a professor at Atlanta University. In 1909, he was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

35. Item dropped on Wile E. Coyote in Road Runner cartoons : ANVIL
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two, much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best ...

38. ___ rock : PROG
Progressive rock (prog rock)

39. Parts of Eastern Eur., once : SSRS
Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR)

41. Highland headwear : TAM
A tam o'shanter is a man's cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. "Tams" were originally all blue (and called "blue bonnets"), but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of Robert Burns' poem "Tam O'Shanter".

49. "Can't Get It Out of My Head" band, briefly : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. ELO’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy). "Ole ELO" is a compilation album the band released in 1976.

50. S.F.'s division : NL WEST
Today’s San Francisco Giants baseball team was founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams. The team’s name was changed to the Giants in 1885, and the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

53. Spells badly? : HEXES
"Hexen" is a German word meaning "to practice witchcraft". The use of the word "hex" in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

55. Much-hyped Google product : GLASS
Google Glass is a computer that one can wear, just like a pair of spectacles. In terms of hardware, Glass has a camera, a touchpad and a microphone. There has been a lot of discussion back and forth about Google Glass. The new technology has a lot of fans, but there are also many who have concerns about the use of Glass to invade someone’s privacy.

69. It makes a flea flee : DEET
DEET is short for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, an active ingredient in insect repellents. DEET is most often used to repel mosquitoes by applying it to the skin and/or clothing. It is also used to protect against tick bites.

70. "Te ___" (Rihanna song) : AMO
The singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career.

71. Biography subtitled "A Revolutionary Life" : LENIN
“Lenin” wasn’t the birth name of the Russian leader. He was born Vladimir Ulyanov, and originally took the name Lenin as a pen name.

73. A.M.A. part: Abbr. : ASSN
The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The first female member was allowed to join the AMA in 1868, but the first African American members weren't admitted until one hundred years later, in 1968.

77. Funny Drescher : FRAN
Fran Drescher's real name is Francine Jane Drescher, a comedian and comic actress best known for playing Fran Fine on the sitcom "The Nanny". Fran was born in Queens, New York (go figure!). Her big break came with a small role, but in a huge movie. You might recall in "Saturday Night Fever" that John Travolta was asked by a pretty dancer, "Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?", well, that young lady was Fran Drescher.

78. Car make whose name sounds like a Cockney greeting : AUDI
“Audi” sounds like “owdy”, which is perhaps how a Cockney would say “howdy”.

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch's young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that "Horch" was German for "hear" and he suggested "Audi" as a replacement, the Latin for "listen".

80. Job listing letters : EEO
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Commission was set up by the Civil Rights Act.

82. Kay's follower : ELL
The letter K (kay) is followed by the letter L (ell).

87. Dinner in a can, maybe : ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with "Alpo" being an abbreviation for "Allen Products". Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

90. Pride of St. Louis : THE RAMS
The St. Louis Rams has only won the Super Bowl once, in 1999, against the Tennessee Titans. The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936-45, Los Angeles from 1946-94 and St. Louis from 1995 to the present day.

91. Onetime NBC news anchor : HUNTLEY
Chet Huntley was a newscaster who co-anchored “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC with David Brinkley from 1956 to 1970.

100. "Laborare ___ orare" (Freemason motto) : EST
“Laborare est orare” translates from Latin as “to work is to pray”.

103. Caddie selections : IRONS
“Caddie” is a Scottish word, as one might expect given the history of the game of golf. “Caddie” is a local word derived from the French “cadet”, meaning a younger son or brother, and also a student officer in the military.

104. Braille, essentially : DOTS
The Braille system of reading and writing was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, who was himself afflicted with blindness. Braille characters are composed of six positions or dots, each arranged in two columns of three dots each. Every dot can be raised or not raised, given a total of 64 possible characters.

105. Biblical prophet : EZRA
Ezra the Scribe, also called Ezra the Priest, is the central character in the Book of Ezra in the Hebrew Bible.

107. Echidna food : ANTS
The “echidna” is also called the spiny anteater. Just like the platypus, the echidna is a mammal that lays eggs.

110. Fig. near an m.p.g. rating : MSRP
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Shows worry, in a way : PACES
6. Times before eves : AFTS
10. Ice cream truck music, e.g. : LILT
14. Military hat : KEPI
18. Curved connector : U-BOLT
19. Conquest of Caesar : GAUL
20. Where woolly mammoths once roamed : ASIA
21. Does some kitchen prep work : DICES
22. Harder to come by : RARER
23. Tree experts : ARBORISTS
25. Part of IV : INTRA-
26. Span : RANGE
27. The jigsaw ... : KEEPS CUTTING OUT
29. Antiglare wear : EYESHADES
31. Ruling classes : ELITES
32. The F.D.I.C. was created during his presidency : FDR
34. Genteel affairs : TEAS
35. Sports venue : ARENA
36. Folklore figures : IMPS
40. The elevator ... : JUST WENT DOWN
45. Pottery decorators : GLAZERS
47. Get : OBTAIN
48. Tilted : UNEVEN
51. Don José in "Carmen," e.g. : TENOR
52. Column on a Clue notepad : ROOMS
53. The mosquito zapper ... : HAS STILL GOT BUGS
57. Conversation inhibiter : DIN
58. He said "Every great film should seem new every time you see it" : EBERT
60. Not the inside track? : SLOW LANE
61. Wrap (up) : SEW
63. Fire : AXE
64. Take in : EAT
65. T, by telegraph : DAH
68. Glands on top of the kidneys : ADRENALS
73. Of Nineveh's home: Abbr. : ASSYR
75. Muslim headdress : TAJ
77. The quiz-grading machine ... : FAILED SOME TESTS
81. Express, as a deep sigh : HEAVE
83. Coin with a two-headed eagle : RUBLE
84. London weights : TONNES
85. Agent on "The X-Files" : MULDER
86. Having a knack for : ADEPT AT
89. The crosswalk signal ... : IS ON THE BLINK
92. Naldi of film : NITA
93. Like the samba and salsa : LATIN
96. Sinuous dance : HULA
97. "Charlotte's Web" setting : STY
98. 1972 musical or its 2013 revival : PIPPIN
100. Quirky : ECCENTRIC
104. The film-processing machine at the movie studio ... : DEVELOPED A SHORT
108. Curling implement : BROOM
111. Arkansas's ___ National Forest : OZARK
112. Impossible to tell apart : IDENTICAL
113. Comes down hard : POURS
114. Essays : TRIES
115. Vladimir's veto : NYET
116. Capitol Hill sight : DOME
117. Kind of beauty : INNER
118. Smooth, in a way : SAND
119. Certifications on some college apps : GEDS
120. "Calm down now" : EASY
121. Bar, at the bar : ESTOP

Down
1. Result of some heavy petting? : PURR
2. Quatrain rhyme scheme : ABAA
3. Place to find a date : CORNERSTONE
4. Words of farewell : ELEGY
5. Savvy, in a way : STREETWISE
6. High Muslim honorific : AGA KHAN
7. China setting : FAR EAST
8. Rode down a river, in a way : TUBED
9. Soapbox derby necessity : SLOPE
10. Nonclerical : LAIC
11. Provider of passports, e.g. : ISSUER
12. Minute : LITTLE
13. With 37-Down, restaurant offering with many small dishes : TASTING
14. Part of a honeymoon suite, perhaps : KING-SIZE BED
15. Prefix with -plasm : ECTO-
16. Paddington Bear's country of origin : PERU
17. Attends : IS AT
21. Wine's partner : DINE
24. Online news aggregation inits. : RSS
28. Right-leaning: Abbr. : ITAL
30. Caught : SEEN
32. Coastal feature : FJORD
33. "The Souls of Black Folk" author, 1903 : DU BOIS
35. Item dropped on Wile E. Coyote in Road Runner cartoons : ANVIL
37. See 13-Down : MENU
38. ___ rock : PROG
39. Parts of Eastern Eur., once : SSRS
41. Highland headwear : TAM
42. Tidy up, in a way : DUST
43. Carry-___ : ONS
44. Licks, e.g. : WETS
46. Mailing label abbr. : ATTN
49. "Can't Get It Out of My Head" band, briefly : ELO
50. S.F.'s division : NL WEST
53. Spells badly? : HEXES
54. Childish retort : ARE NOT!
55. Much-hyped Google product : GLASS
56. Like some hot cereals : OATY
59. Teller of tales : BARD
62. Hung some strips : WALLPAPERED
66. On sale : AT A DISCOUNT
67. Lack : HAVEN’T
69. It makes a flea flee : DEET
70. "Te ___" (Rihanna song) : AMO
71. Biography subtitled "A Revolutionary Life" : LENIN
72. Platform locales: Abbr. : STNS
73. A.M.A. part: Abbr. : ASSN
74. Tart dessert : RHUBARB PIE
76. Stop-and-start, start-and-stop : JERKY
77. Funny Drescher : FRAN
78. Car make whose name sounds like a Cockney greeting : AUDI
79. "Uh-huh, sure" : I BET
80. Job listing letters : EEO
82. Kay's follower : ELL
85. Go soft : MELT
87. Dinner in a can, maybe : ALPO
88. Haunted house sound : TAPPING
90. Pride of St. Louis : THE RAMS
91. Onetime NBC news anchor : HUNTLEY
94. Hippie T-shirt technique : TIE-DYE
95. "I agree!" : INDEED!
99. Classes : ILKS
100. "Laborare ___ orare" (Freemason motto) : EST
101. Chasten : CHIDE
102. Hot ___ : COCOA
103. Caddie selections : IRONS
104. Braille, essentially : DOTS
105. Biblical prophet : EZRA
106. Useless : VAIN
107. Echidna food : ANTS
109. It may get dipped in milk : OREO
110. Fig. near an m.p.g. rating : MSRP


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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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