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Greetings from Blackrock in Dublin, Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland until October 9th. I plan on doing the puzzle each day (with a pint, no doubt), although I may be a little late due to time zone differences. I am sure that you understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

0901-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 Sep 13, Sunday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: John Farmer
THEME: Persons of Note … seven of the squares in today’s grid have a number, which goes with the down-answer. The family name of the person who is seen on the US banknote corresponding to that square’s number is included in the across-answer:
1A. Star of four Spike Lee films : DENZEL WASHINGTON
7D. "Be right there!" : 1 SEC!

14A. Longtime Ed Asner role : LOU GRANT
17D. Rapper who feuded with Ja Rule and Nas : 50 CENT

88A. Singer at Obama's 2009 inauguration : ARETHA FRANKLIN
43D. 1980s British band : HAIRCUT 100

89A. Baseball All-Star who was also a football Pro Bowler : BO JACKSON
39D. Pop/rock group with a 2002 hit co-written with Mick Jagger : MATCHBOX 20

119A. First film Tarzan : ELMO LINCOLN
95D. Celebratory gesture : HIGH 5

123A. "The Terminator" co-star : LINDA HAMILTON
97D. Does a surfboard stunt : HANGS 10

124A. Neighbor of Archie Bunker : GEORGE JEFFERSON
113D. "Terrible" toddler time : AGE 2

31D. With 33-Down, Skeptic's advice ... or a "noteworthy" hint to seven Across answers in this puzzle : DON'T TAKE ANY OF
33D. See 31-Down : IT AT FACE VALUE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 57m 06s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Star of four Spike Lee films : DENZEL WASHINGTON
Denzel Washington is an actor from Mount Vernon, just outside New York City. Washington’s big break came with a TV role, playing Dr. Phillip Chandler on “St. Elsewhere” from 1982 to 1988.

Shelton Jackson Lee is the real name of Spike Lee, the film director and producer. Lee's first feature-length film, released in 1986, was "She's Gotta Have It". Lee shot the film in just twelve days, and kept the movie within its relatively small budget of only $175,000. "She's Gotta Have It" grossed over $7 million ...

14. Longtime Ed Asner role : LOU GRANT
Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and on the spin-off drama "Lou Grant". Off-screen, Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When "Lou Grant" was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact one of Asner's activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever), found that his show "WKRP in Cincinnati" was also cancelled ... on the very same day ...

18. Birds at a ballpark : ORIOLES
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.

19. 1954 film septet : SAMURAI
Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be "The Seven Samurai", the inspiration for "The Magnificent Seven" starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".

22. Gustav Holst septet : PLANETS
Despite the Scandinavian-sounding name, Gustav Holst was born in Britain and was the most English of classical composers. His most famous work is the orchestral suite known as ‘The Planets”. The suite has seven movements, one for each of the planets known at the time (1914-1916) except Earth. Pluto was discovered during Holst’s lifetime, but decades after he had completed his masterpiece.

23. Barista's offering : LATTE
The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian "caffelatte" meaning "coffee (and) milk". Note that in the correct spelling of "latte", the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the "e". An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

The person who serves coffee in a coffee shop is often called a "barista". "Barista" is the Italian for "bartender".

24. Cable alternative : DSL
The acronym “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

25. [typo not fixed] : SIC
"Sic" indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. "Sic" is Latin for "thus, like this".

26. Star of a 1981 Broadway revue subtitled "The Lady and Her Music" : HORNE
Lena Horne was an American jazz singer, actress, dancer and civil rights activist. Horne started out her career as a nightclub singer and then began to get some meaty acting roles in Hollywood. However, she ended up on the blacklist during the McCarthy Era for expressing left wing political views. One of Horne's starring roles was in the 1943 movie "Stormy Weather" for which she also performed the title song.

31. Second-in-command: Abbr. : DEP
Deputy (dep.)

32. 41-Across athlete : ELI
(41A. See 32-Across : YALE)
Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.

35. "Gossip well told," per Elbert Hubbard : HISTORY
Elbert Hubbard is today best known for having founded the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York. Hubbard died with his wife off the coast of Ireland in 1915, as they were passengers in the RMS Lusitania, the ocean liner that was sunk by a German U-boat during WWII.

40. Hydrocarbon ending : -ANE
Alkanes are organic compounds. The “smaller” alkanes are gases and are quite combustible. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component. Propane (C3H8) is another component of natural gas and is heavy enough to be readily turned into a liquid by compression for ease of transportation and storage. Butane (C4H10) is also easily liquefied under pressure and can be used as the fuel in cigarette lighters or as the propellant in aerosol sprays. The heavier alkanes are not gases, and instead are liquids and solids at room temperature.

42. Electrical unit, old-style : MHO
Conductance (measured in mhos) is the inverse of resistance (measured in ohms). The mho has been replaced by the SI unit called the siemens.

45. Webster's second? : VARIANT
A second word called out in a definition in Webster’s dictionary might be a variant spelling of the first.

Not only is Noah Webster's name inextricably linked with his series of dictionaries, but he is also renowned as an advocate for English spelling reform. He argued that "traditional" English is hard to learn, and that it should be simplified and standardized. He published spelling books that were used in schools, and from edition to edition he changed the spelling of words in order to simplify the language. Examples are the use of "s" over "c" in words like "defense" (In Ireland we have defence and defense depending on usage), "-re" became "-er" as in center instead of centre (reversing the influence of French), and he dropped one of the Ls in words like traveler (I learned "traveller"). Mind you, he also spelled "tongue" as "tung", but he didn't get very far with that one.

50. Author Janowitz : TAMA
Tama Janowitz is an American writer. Janowitz was born in San Francisco but has lived much of her life in New York City. In New York she hung around with the likes of Andy Warhol and became well known in literary circles. Her most famous work is a collection of short stories called "Slaves of New York", which was made into a film of the same name in 1989.

52. Bud's place : EAR
I recently read an article on hearing loss that cites a study published in the “Journal of Pediatrics”. According to the study, 12½% of kids between 6 and 19 suffer from a loss of hearing that is directly attributable to the use of earphones set at a dangerously high volume. Personally, I love listening to all sorts of programming using earbuds. I am careful to use “in-ear” types of earphones that are designed to block out external noise so that I can listen to programming at the lowest possible volume, and don’t have to drown out external sounds. My doctor gives me a pat on the back for doing so, and has asked me to spread the word!

58. It may extend for many minutes : ARC
An arc is a segment of a curve. The angle covered by an arc may be measured in degrees. One sixtieth of a degree is a “minute”.

59. Thoughtful exercise : YOGA
In the West we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

60. Overseas market : BAZAAR
Our word “bazaar” comes from the Persian “bazar” meaning “market”.

69. ___ de carne asada : TACO
“Carne Asada” translates from Spanish as "roasted meat".

70. Burj Khalifa locale : DUBAI
Burj Khalifa is a spectacular skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest man-made structure in the world, and has been so since the completion of its exterior in 2009. The space in the building came onto the market at a really bad time, during the global financial crisis. The building was part of a US$20 billion development of downtown Dubai that was backed by the city government which had to go looking for a bailout from the neighboring city of Abu Dhabi. The tower was given the name Burj Khalifa at the last minute, apparently as a nod to the UAE president Khalifa bi Zayed Al Nahyan who helped to broker the bailout.

72. Joint : REEFER
Marijuana cigarettes have been known as “reefers” since the twenties. It is thought that the term comes from either the Mexican Spanish for a drug addict, “grifo”, or from its resemblance to a rolled sail i.e. a sail that has been “reefed”.

78. Prickly sticker : BUR
The hook-and-loop fastener we now call Velcro was invented in 1941 by Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer. Mestral noticed that the seeds of the burdock plant (burrs or burs) stuck to his clothes. Under the microscope he found hooks on the burrs that grabbed hold of loops in his clothing. After years of development, he came up with a way of simulating the natural hook using man-made materials, and Velcro was born.

82. Radar reading : VELOCITY
Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.

84. Steel giant, formerly : USX
US Steel was founded in 1901 with a merger of Carnegie Steel, Federal Steel and National Steel. The resulting company immediately became the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. US Steel reorganized in 1986 and changed its name to USX Corporation, but reverted to the US Steel name in 2001. I think I’m right in saying that the USX name was chosen because US Steel is traded under the symbol “X” on the New York Stock Exchange …

87. End of an argument : QED
QED is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. The QED acronym stands for the Latin "quod erat demonstrandum" meaning "that which was to be demonstrated".

88. Singer at Obama's 2009 inauguration : ARETHA FRANKLIN
I think Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, "Rolling Stone" magazine ranked Franklin as number one in their list of the greatest singers of all time.

89. Baseball All-Star who was also a football Pro Bowler : BO JACKSON
Bo Jackson is a former professional baseball and football player. Jackson was named All-Star in both sports, the first athlete to be so honored. Bo Jackson worked alongside R&B guitarist in a famous “Bo Know” advertising campaign for Nike.

90. Edamame source : SOYA
Edamame is a simple dish made of immature soybeans still in the pod. The pods are boiled and then salted before serving, usually as a snack or side dish. The name “edamame” translates as “twig bean”.

92. Cross-state rival of CIN : CLE
The Cleveland Browns football team was a charter member of the All-American Football Conference, formed in 1946. Cleveland is the only NFL city that has never hosted nor sent a team to the Super Bowl.

The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals team was founded in 1966 as a member of the American Football League (AFL). There was an earlier team called the Bengals in the city, which played from 1937 to 1941. The team used the “Bengal” name because Cincinnati Zoo was home to a very rare Bengal tiger.

93. Arizona's ___ Cienegas National Conservation Area : LAS
The Las Cienegas National Conservation Area is located in the Sonoran desert of Arizona.

97. Home base for many a mission : HOUSTON
NASA’s famous “Mission Control” is located in the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

102. Honorarium : FEE
An “honorarium” is a payment made to a professional for a service that usually does not merit a fee. The term is Latin, and was originally used for a bribe that was paid to be awarded an honorary post.

103. Nirvana's "Come as You ___" : ARE
Nirvana is a rock band, formed in Washington in 1987 by Kurt Cobaine and Krist Novoselic. The band effectively disbanded in 1994 after Cobaine committed suicide.

109. Proust title character : SWANN
"In Search of Lost Time" is a very, very long novel written by Marcel Proust. The novel is divided into seven volumes and was first published in 1913-1927. The first of the volumes is called "Swann's Way".

112. Campers' letters : KOA
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was founded in 1962 by Montana businessman Dave Drum who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. Drum's strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, which he hoped would attract people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

119. First film Tarzan : ELMO LINCOLN
Actor Elmo Lincoln is most remembered as the first person to portray Tarzan on the big screen. Lincoln starred in the 1918 silent movie “Tarzan of the Apes”. Technically speaking, Lincoln was the second to portray the character, as Gordon Griffith played Tarzan as a child in the same film.

120. White Russian, e.g. : TSARIST
White Russians were members and supporters of the White movement that opposed the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War fought from 1917 to 1922. The term “White” was used to denote opposition to the revolutionary Red Army.

121. 1918's Battle of the ___ Forest : ARGONNE
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (also called the Battle of the Argonne Forest) was an Allied offensive along the entire western front that took place in the last few weeks of WWI. Fought by US and French forces against the Germans, the offensive was the biggest operation launched by the American Expeditionary Force in WWI. The Meuse-Argonne was the deadliest battle in US history, as 26,277 US soldiers lost their lives.

122. Formula One units : LAPS
In motor racing, the designation "formula" is a set of rules that all participants and cars must abide by. The definition of "Formula One" was agreed back in 1946, with the "one" designating that it is the most advanced of the "formulae", and the most competitive.

123. "The Terminator" co-star : LINDA HAMILTON
Linda Hamilton is an actress from Salisbury, Maryland who is best known for portraying Sarah Connor in the first two “Terminator” movies. Hamilton’s second marriage was to film director James Cameron, with whom she worked on “Terminator 2”.

124. Neighbor of Archie Bunker : GEORGE JEFFERSON
George Jefferson was a supporting character in the sitcom “All in the Family”, and a lead character in the spin-off show “The Jeffersons”. The role was played by actor Sherman Hemsley.

Down
1. "I ___ it!" (Skelton catchphrase) : DOOD
Red Skelton was an American comedian who started out in show business as a teenager working with the circus. Skelton had a very successful career on radio before moving to television in the early fifties. His popularity only began to fade in the early seventies, when he had difficulty appealing to younger audiences. Skelton spent less time performing in his latter years, and turned to his other great love ... painting.

2. Bond villain ___ Stavro Blofeld : ERNST
Ernst Stavro Blofeld is a villain in the James Bond universe. Blofeld has been played on the big screen several times by different actors. My favorite is Donald Pleasance in 1967’s “You Only Live Twice”.

3. Popular snack brand : NILLA
As one might expect, Nilla is a shortened from of "vanilla". However, you won't find any vanilla in Nilla cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred ...?

4. Actress/screenwriter Kazan : ZOE
The actress Zoe Kazan is a granddaughter of famed film and theater director Elia Kazan.

8. Heap : JALOPY
The origins of our word "jalopy" meaning "dilapidated old motor car" seem to have been lost in time, but the word has been around since the 1920s. One credible suggestion is that it comes from Jalapa, Mexico as the Jalapa scrap yards were the destination for many discarded American automobiles.

9. Poet Khayyám : OMAR
Omar Khayyám was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám".

11. Founder of the New York Tribune : GREELEY
Horace Greeley was a newspaper editor and politician. In the media industry, Greeley founded and edited the “New York Tribune”, which was a very influential paper in the 1800s. In an 1865 editorial he wrote the famous words “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” As a politician, Greeley ran for US President in the 1872 election. He lost that election to Ulysses S. Grant in a landslide. Greeley died not long after the votes were cast, making him the only presidential candidate to have died prior to the counting of electoral college votes.

13. Tiddlywink, e.g. : DISC
Tiddlywinks is a game played by children, and sometimes competitively by adults. The idea is to propel “winks” into a pot using a “squidger”.

14. Peruvian pack : LLAMAS
Many female mammals lick off their newborn. That’s not an option for llamas as their tongues only reach out of their mouths about half an inch. Instead llama dams nuzzle their young and hum to them.

15. Warren of "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" : OATES
Warren Oates was an actor who worked a lot with director Sam Peckinpah, including the films “The Wild Bunch” and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”. I mainly remember Oates for playing Sergeant Hulka (the drill sergeant) on the 1981 comedy “Stripes”.

17. Rapper who feuded with Ja Rule and Nas : 50 CENT
Rap star 50 Cent's real name is Curtis James Jackson III, and is from South Jamaica in Queens, New York. 50 Cent had a rough life starting out, first dealing drugs at the age of 12. He dropped his illegal activities to pursue a rap career, but still fell victim to an assailant who pumped nine bullets into him. The alleged shooter was himself shot three weeks later, and died. 50 Cent's alleged attacker was a bodyguard and close friend of Mike Tyson.

28. Women's rooms? : HAREMS
"Harem" is a Turkish word, derived from the Arabic for "forbidden place". Traditionally a harem was the female quarters in a household in which a man had more than one wife. Not only wives (and concubines) would use the harem, but also young children and other female relatives. The main point was that no men were allowed in the area.

30. Actress Belafonte : SHARI
Shari Belafonte is model-turned-actress from New York City. Her most famous role was Julie Gilette on the TV drama “Hotel” in the eighties. Shari is the daughter of singer Harry Belafonte.

36. Colorful songbird : TANAGER
The Scarlet Tanager is a beautiful-looking bird, truly scarlet in color other than its wings and tail. It is in the cardinal family.

39. Pop/rock group with a 2002 hit co-written with Mick Jagger : MATCHBOX 20
Matchbox Twenty is a rock band from Orlando, Florida.

43. 1980s British band : HAIRCUT 100
British pop group Haircut One Hundred had four Top Ten hits in the UK in the early eighties. Never heard of them …

45. Paganini or Rachmaninoff : VIRTUOSO
Niccolò Paganini was a famed Italian violinist and composer. Paganini was perhaps the most celebrated violinist of the 19th century. His most famous composition has to be his Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1. This work is the basis for many derivative masterpieces by other composers, including the wonderful “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Rachmaninoff.

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian pianist and composer active in the late Romantic Era. Rachmaninoff emigrated from Russia in 1917, driven away by the Russian Revolution. He eventually settled in the US where he toured as a pianist for many years. Rachmaninoff’s most famous works are probably his “Piano Concerto No. 1” and his “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”.

46. "He makes no friend who never made ___": Tennyson : A FOE
Alfred Tennyson was the Poet Laureate during for much of the reign of Queen Victoria. There are many phrases we use today that were first penned by Tennyson, including:
- “‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all”
- “Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die”

47. Schooner sail : JIB
A jib is a triangular sail that is set at the bow of a sailboat.

By definition, a schooner is sailing vessel with two or more masts, but one on which the foremast is shorter than the rear mast(s).

48. Health org. since 1847 : AMA
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.

49. Dickens pen name : BOZ
Charles Dickens used the pen-name Boz early in his career. He had already established himself as the most famous novelist of the Victorian Era when he came to visit America in 1842. He was honored by 3,000 of New York's elite at a "Boz Ball" in the Park Theater.

51. Raiding grp. : ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice. The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. "Explosives" was added to the ATF's name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

55. Air safety org. : FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was set up in 1958 (as the Federal Aviation Agency). The agency was established at that particular time largely in response to an increasing number of midair collisions. The worst of these disasters had taken place two years earlier over the Grand Canyon, a crash between two commercial passenger airplanes that resulted in 128 fatalities.

64. Uncle ___ : SAM
The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the code word "Samland" for "America" in intelligence communiques.

71. Homemade bomb, for short : IED
Sadly, having spent much of my life in the border areas between southern and Northern Ireland, I am all too familiar with the devastating effects of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). One has to admire the bravery of soldiers who spend their careers defusing (or attempting to defuse) such devices in order to save the lives and property of others. Of course these days, IEDs are very much in the news in Iraq and Afghanistan.

73. Web site heading : FAQ
Most websites have a page listing answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). There is a link to the NYTCrossword.com FAQ page at the top right of every page.

75. Sanguine : RED
“Sanguine” is such a lovely word, and means cheerfully optimistic. It also means ruddy or red in color, e.g. a sanguine complexion. It comes to English from Latin, via French as "sanguis" is the Latin word for "blood". The interpretation of sanguine as meaning cheerful and optimistic comes from the medieval interpretation of the "four humors" of the body, the four bodily fluids (blood, bile, phlegm and black bile). If blood was the predominant humor in a person, than that individual had a cheerful outlook on life.

91. Acronym for the hearing-impaired : AMESLAN
“Ameslan” is an obsolete abbreviation for “American Sign Language” (ASL).

92. Louis Armstrong instrument : CORNET
Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1900. Armstrong had a poor upbringing, and only stayed in school till he was 11 years old. The exact origin of Louis’s nickname “Satchmo” seems to be a little unclear. One story is that he used to dance for pennies in New Orleans as a youngster and would hide those pennies in his mouth away from the other kids. For this he earned the nickname “satchel mouth”, which was shortened to “Satchmo”.

94. "___ Republic" : PLATO’S
The greatest work of the Greek philosopher Plato is said by most to be his treatise called “The Republic”. The work takes the form of a Socratic dialogue, meaning that it features Plato’s teacher, Socrates, in dialogue with others discussing the subject matter. Much of the text deals with justice and various forms of government.

95. Celebratory gesture : HIGH 5
The celebratory gesture that we call a “high five” is said to have been invented by former baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke when they were both playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the later 1970s.

96. Alaska town that is mile 0 of the Iditarod Trail : SEWARD
The city of Seward, Alaska was named for Secretary of State William Seward, who fought for and negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Seward is the southerly terminus of the Iditarod Trail, known historically as the Seward-to-Nome Mail Trail.

97. Does a surfboard stunt : HANGS 10
A surfer performs the maneuver “Hanging Ten” by positioning the board so that the back is covered by the wave, and then walking to the front of the board and “hanging” his or her “ten” toes over the nose of the board.

98. 1913 Literature Nobelist from India : TAGORE
Rabindranath Tagore was a polymath from Bengal in India. Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he did in 1913.

99. Douglas Hofstadter's "___, Escher, Bach" : GODEL
Douglas Hofstadter is an American academic, and a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid”, first published in 1979.

100. Amtrak bullet train : ACELA
The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, getting up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. The brand name "Acela" was created to evoke "acceleration" and "excellence".

105. Scratching (out) : EKING
To "eke out" means to "make something go further or last longer". For example, you could eke out your income by cutting back on expenses. I always have a problem with the commonly cited definition of “eke out” as “barely get by”. Close but no cigar, I say ...

106. "Meditation XVII" writer : DONNE
John Donne is one of England's most celebrated poets, working at the start of the 17th century. He spent much of his life in poverty and even spent a short time in prison for having married his wife without procuring the appropriate permissions. After his release, his wife bore him 12 children in 16 years, passing away a few days after the twelfth child was born.

108. N.R.A. piece?: Abbr. : NATL
The NRA is the National Rifle Association, an organization that has been around since 1871. The NRA has had some celebrity presidents, including US President Ulysses S. Grant. It's often said that the NRA is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington.

110. Vegas casino with a musical name : ARIA
Aria is one of the newer casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. “Popular Mechanics” magazine described Aria as “the most technologically advanced hotel ever built”.

111. Newsweek, e.g., now : EMAG
“Newsweek” was a weekly American news magazine launched in 1933. The magazine ran into financial trouble starting in 2008 and eventually had to cease publication of a print version at the end of 2012. “Newsweek” continues to do business in an all-digital format as “Newsweek Global” after a merger with the news website “The Daily Beast”.

116. Auden's "___ Walked Out One Evening" : AS I
The noted poet W. H. Auden was born and raised in England, but eventually became a US citizen. As well as hundreds of poems, Auden also wrote librettos for operas, including Igor Stravinsky's “The Rake’s Progress”.


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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Star of four Spike Lee films : DENZEL WASHINGTON
8. Exercised on a track : JOGGED
14. Longtime Ed Asner role : LOU GRANT
18. Birds at a ballpark : ORIOLES
19. 1954 film septet : SAMURAI
20. White: Fr. : BLANC
21. Away, in a way : ON LEAVE
22. Gustav Holst septet : PLANETS
23. Barista's offering : LATTE
24. Cable alternative : DSL
25. [typo not fixed] : SIC
26. Star of a 1981 Broadway revue subtitled "The Lady and Her Music" : HORNE
27. Add one's views : CHIME IN
29. Style : TASTE
31. Second-in-command: Abbr. : DEP
32. 41-Across athlete : ELI
34. How his-and-hers towels are sold : AS A SET
35. "Gossip well told," per Elbert Hubbard : HISTORY
37. Comebacks : RETORTS
39. Bud : MAC
40. Hydrocarbon ending : -ANE
41. See 32-Across : YALE
42. Electrical unit, old-style : MHO
45. Webster's second? : VARIANT
47. Quick punch : JAB
50. Author Janowitz : TAMA
52. Bud's place : EAR
53. Strike turf before the ball, in golf : HIT IT FAT
54. Bye line? : I’M OFF
56. Olympic venues : STADIA
58. It may extend for many minutes : ARC
59. Thoughtful exercise : YOGA
60. Overseas market : BAZAAR
62. Tease : FLIRT
63. Unspecified degrees : NTHS
65. Comic strip cries : EEKS
67. Waltzed through : ACED
69. ___ de carne asada : TACO
70. Burj Khalifa locale : DUBAI
72. Joint : REEFER
76. Fashion label ___-Picone : EVAN
78. Prickly sticker : BUR
79. Letter with a limited amount of space : ROOMER
81. Savvy : AWARE
82. Radar reading : VELOCITY
84. Steel giant, formerly : USX
85. Chug : DOWN
87. End of an argument : QED
88. Singer at Obama's 2009 inauguration : ARETHA FRANKLIN
89. Baseball All-Star who was also a football Pro Bowler : BO JACKSON
90. Edamame source : SOYA
92. Cross-state rival of CIN : CLE
93. Arizona's ___ Cienegas National Conservation Area : LAS
94. Hot prospects, say : PHENOMS
97. Home base for many a mission : HOUSTON
99. Like Victorian streets : GASLIT
102. Honorarium : FEE
103. Nirvana's "Come as You ___" : ARE
104. Paid to play : ANTED
107. It has 135-degree angles : OCTAGON
109. Proust title character : SWANN
111. See 115-Across : EGG
112. Campers' letters : KOA
114. ___ by chocolate (popular dessert) : DEATH
115. Certain 111-Across specification : AA LARGE
117. Ghostly sound : MOANING
119. First film Tarzan : ELMO LINCOLN
120. White Russian, e.g. : TSARIST
121. 1918's Battle of the ___ Forest : ARGONNE
122. Formula One units : LAPS
123. "The Terminator" co-star : LINDA HAMILTON
124. Neighbor of Archie Bunker : GEORGE JEFFERSON

Down
1. "I ___ it!" (Skelton catchphrase) : DOOD
2. Bond villain ___ Stavro Blofeld : ERNST
3. Popular snack brand : NILLA
4. Actress/screenwriter Kazan : ZOE
5. Stretchiness : ELASTICITY
6. Assesses : LEVIES
7. "Be right there!" : 1 SEC!
8. Heap : JALOPY
9. Poet Khayyám : OMAR
10. Artillery crewman : GUNNER
11. Founder of the New York Tribune : GREELEY
12. Have something : EAT
13. Tiddlywink, e.g. : DISC
14. Peruvian pack : LLAMAS
15. Warren of "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" : OATES
16. Free : UNTIE
17. Rapper who feuded with Ja Rule and Nas : 50 CENT
19. Round figure : SPHERE
20. Second-tier, among celebs : B-LIST
28. Women's rooms? : HAREMS
30. Actress Belafonte : SHARI
31. With 33-Down, Skeptic's advice ... or a "noteworthy" hint to seven Across answers in this puzzle : DON'T TAKE ANY OF
33. See 31-Down : IT AT FACE VALUE
36. Colorful songbird : TANAGER
38. Brazilian greeting : OLA
39. Pop/rock group with a 2002 hit co-written with Mick Jagger : MATCHBOX 20
42. Story coloring? : MEDIA BIAS
43. 1980s British band : HAIRCUT 100
44. Big deliveries? : ORATORY
45. Paganini or Rachmaninoff : VIRTUOSO
46. "He makes no friend who never made ___": Tennyson : A FOE
47. Schooner sail : JIB
48. Health org. since 1847 : AMA
49. Dickens pen name : BOZ
51. Raiding grp. : ATF
53. Polish the old-fashioned way : HAND RUB
55. Air safety org. : FAA
57. ___-rock : ALT
61. Apotheosizes : REVERES
64. Uncle ___ : SAM
66. Wrap (up) : SEW
68. Hollow : DALE
71. Homemade bomb, for short : IED
73. Web site heading : FAQ
74. Before, in verse : ERE
75. Sanguine : RED
77. Recently : NOT LONG AGO
80. Met, as a challenge : ROSE TO
83. "U.S.A." is part of one : CHANT
86. Ended up? : WON
91. Acronym for the hearing-impaired : AMESLAN
92. Louis Armstrong instrument : CORNET
94. "___ Republic" : PLATO’S
95. Celebratory gesture : HIGH 5
96. Alaska town that is mile 0 of the Iditarod Trail : SEWARD
97. Does a surfboard stunt : HANGS 10
98. 1913 Literature Nobelist from India : TAGORE
99. Douglas Hofstadter's "___, Escher, Bach" : GODEL
100. Amtrak bullet train : ACELA
101. Sign of approval : STAMP
105. Scratching (out) : EKING
106. "Meditation XVII" writer : DONNE
108. N.R.A. piece?: Abbr. : NATL
110. Vegas casino with a musical name : ARIA
111. Newsweek, e.g., now : EMAG
113. "Terrible" toddler time : AGE 2
116. Auden's "___ Walked Out One Evening" : AS I
118. Often-partnered conjunction : NOR


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9 comments :

Anonymous said...

Did not enjoy this one. Took too long for me to recognize the theme, and my frustration grew as I worked through the puzzle.

When I "KNOW" the answer for 14A is "LOU GRANT" and the answer for 17D Is "50 CENT", and I can't connect 50 with Grant (the man whose face is on the 50 dollar bill) it makes for a long day. Especially since I tossed away many of the correct answers because I hosed the theme.

Two perfect examples are 1A ("DENZEL WASHINGTON"). I got DENZEL, but couldn't figure out the 1 = WASHINGTON, so that corner was a jumble. Same with the lower right, where my first answer (THE JEFFRSONS or GEORGE JEFFERSON) was tossed out for "STIVICS". This worked for a moment, because 113D (terrible toddler time) worked out to "TWOS" for me, keeping me further away for the theme.

When it finally dawned on me, I was so irritated that it wasn't the sense of satisfaction I usually get when finally figuring out the theme, but a sense of aggravation. Both at myself and the author.

Also, I hate it when clues are misleading. I could go through a number of them, but a perfect example is 3D "POPULAR SNACK BRAND". Since when is "NILLA" a brand? NILLA Wagers are made by Nabisco. NABISCO is the brand, not NILLA. FRITO LAY is a brand. HERRS is a brand. That is more than a subtle difference.

Overall, I thought this puzzle was very shoddy and didn't enjoy it at all. Perhaps if I figured out the theme earlier my critique would be higher. I just hate when clues are incorrect or stretched.

Bill Butler said...

Well, I do have to agree that this was a particularly difficult Sunday puzzle. It took me a lot longer to finish than the average Sunday puzzle, a lot longer. I also agree that it took a long time to work out the theme.

That said, I really enjoyed it. Because I do so many crosswords, Sunday puzzles are usually dispatched in 20-30 minutes. I was delighted that today's puzzle took almost a full hour.

But, we all have different experiences, and you make some very valid points. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

I can understand why someone like you, who solves as many puzzles as you do, and blows through them with relative ease and speed would enjoy a puzzle like this... At this point, it is probably hard to surprise or stump you with a tricky theme, so when one comes along that isn't particularly easy, it provides that thrill of finding the theme once again.

So I can't argue with your opinion. But I'll stand by mine also. I don't mind being challenged on a Sunday morning. In fact, I look forward to it. But this one was beyond me for far too long to make it anything but a tedious task...

Geri V said...

Bill, it took me a while to find your blog. It's the best for xplainin the answers. After all if I can't be educated while doing the puzzles why do them. For some reason I had to type your name, date & "by Farmer", before it came up. Keep up the good work. You are a genius as well as entertaining. Geri

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Geri.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble finding the blog. I try hard to make the blog easy to locate in Google especially, but I am at the mercy of the Google search engine. If you use Facebook, you can "like" the blog (button at the top right of the page) and then you will receive a link everyday on Facebook that takes you right to today's blog post (and yesterday's!)

Hope that helps, Geri.

David Presberry said...

Some of the clues were obscure...haircut 100? Never heard of them.and I thought the ATF clue was slightly misleading. I got the theme right away but the south central part of the puzzle was giving me fits. ameslan? I guess that's why you do crosswords, to learn new. Also, taco de carne asada? It could have been anything.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, David.

Yes, a few obscure references in today's puzzle. I too had never heard of Haircut One Hundred, and really don't care if I never hear of them again. The same goes for "Ameslan", which although it was used, seems to be a very awkward abbreviation.

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, David.

Anonymous said...

Bill,
(1) 79 across, letter with a limited amount and ans of roomer.
can you explain how they tie together.
JF

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, JF.

I should have said something in theblog post about this clue, as it's a litle cryptic:

79. Letter with a limited amount of space : ROOMER

The idea is that someone who is renting accommodation (a letter) might only have a limited amount of space i.e. a single room (so is a ROOMER).

Hope that helps, JF.

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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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