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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! Today's hike was in Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest where we passed a tree over 4,750 years old. Getting close to home ...

Bill

1001-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 Oct 13, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Geese Migration … today’s grid is replete with letters V, and all those Vs are arranged in a V-formation, just like migrating geese:
18A. With 50-Across, it's represented by 15 squares in an appropriate arrangement in this puzzle : GEESE
50A. See 18-Across : MIGRATION
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 12m 12s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Tennessee team, for short : VOLS
The Tennessee Volunteers (the Vols) is the name given to the men's sports teams at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The women's teams are called the Lady Volunteers.

Tennessee uses the nickname "Volunteer State" as during the War of 1812 volunteer soldiers from Tennessee fought with valor, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

10. Pole or Czech : SLAV
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:
- the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
- the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
- the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

16. ___ mind : HIVE
“Hive mind”, “group mind” and “social mind” are all alternative terms for “collective consciousness”. Collective consciousness is a set of shared ideas that act as a unifying force in a society.

17. Blue-skinned race in "Avatar" : NA’VI
In the James Cameron epic “Avatar”, the “blue people” are the Na’vi, the indigenous species that lives on the lush moon called Pandora. The main Na’vi character featuring in the film is the female Neytiri. According to Cameron, Neytiri was inspired by the Raquel Welch character in the movie “Fantastic Voyage” and the comic book character Vampirella.

18. With 50-Across, it's represented by 15 squares in an appropriate arrangement in this puzzle : GEESE
(50A. See 18-Across : MIGRATION)
Apparently geese fly in a V-formation for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to "slipstream" a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It's also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.

19. Some Monopoly purchases: Abbr. : AVES
The street names in the US version of Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

20. French pupil : ELEVE
French for school is “école”, and French for pupil is “élève”.

22. Grandpa on "The Simpsons" : ABE
In the animated TV show called “The Simpsons”, Grampa Abe Simpson is voiced by Dan Castellaneta, the same actor who provides the voice for Homer.

26. N.F.L. player with a black helmet : RAVEN
The Baltimore football team's name "the Ravens" has a literary derivation. Baltimore was the home of the writer Edgar Allen Poe, and so the team took its moniker from his most famous poem, "The Raven". The name was selected in a fan contest.

28. Hebrew month when Hanukkah starts : KISLEV
Kislev is the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar. It is also the month when Hanukkah starts.

30. Richard Branson's airline company : VIRGIN
Virgin Group is a huge multinational company that operates in the arenas of travel, entertainment and lifestyle. The company was started by Richard Branson and a partner as a record shop in 1970. The founders chose the name “Virgin” as they considered themselves “virgins” in the business world.

33. Hundred Acre Wood resident : OWL
Hundred Acre Wood is where Winnie the Pooh lives with his friends. According to a map illustrating the books by A. A. Milne, Hundred Acre Wood is part of a larger forest, with Owl's house sitting right at the center.

34. Place to hear fire and brimstone : REVIVAL
In the Christian tradition, a revival meeting is a series of religious services that are intended to inspire active church members and to attract new converts.

41. David of "The Pink Panther" : NIVEN
The great British actor David Niven is perhaps best known for playing Phileas Fogg in “Around the World in 80 Days” and Sir Charles Litton in “The PInk Panther”. I enjoy so many Niven movies, but my favorite has to “Separate Tables” from 1958, for which he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar. Niven even played the iconic role of James Bond, in the 007 spoof film “Casino Royale” released in 1967.

42. Rear half of a griffin : LION
The legendary creature called a griffin has the body, tail and back legs of a lion, and the head, wings and front feet/talons of an eagle.

43. Writer Katherine ___ Porter : ANNE
Katherine Anne Porter was a journalist, novelist and political activist from Indian Creek, Texas. One of Porter’s most famous works is her one and only novel “Ship of Fools”, which was the best-selling novel in the US in 1962.

45. Iams competitor : 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?

Iams dog food was first produced by the animal nutritionist Paul Iams. Iams felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he thought was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

46. 1943 penny material : STEEL
During WWII there was a shortage of copper, so the US Mint switched to zinc-coated steel for production of one-cent coins in 1943. The coins had all sorts of problems in circulation, so the mint had to change again for the 1944-46 production, using a brass/copper alloy. For obvious reasons, the 1943 coin is called a "steelie", and is the only coin ever issued by the US mint that can be picked up by a magnet.

48. Suffix with meth- or prop- : -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.

56. Pronoun for Miss Piggy : MOI
The Muppet called Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

57. Rodeway ___ : INN
The chain of economy motels called Rodeway Inn started in Phoenix, Arizona in 1962. Rodeway Inn was the fastest growing chain in the hotel industry in 2007.

61. Ship sinker : TORPEDO
The naval weapon called a torpedo is named for the group of electric rays of the genus “Torpedo”. The name of the fish comes from the verb “torpere”, Latin for “to be stiffened, paralyzed”, which is what happens to someone who steps on an electric ray.

Down
1. Revolver with the letters N-E-W-S : VANE
A weather vane shows the direction of the wind, and is usually labelled N (north), E (east), W (west) and S (south).

6. Basketball player who starred in "Kazaam" : O’NEAL
Shaquille O'Neal is one of the heaviest players ever to have played in the NBA (weighing in at around 325 pounds). Yep, he's a big guy ... 7 foot 1 inch tall.

“Kazaam” is a 1996 family movie about a genie who grants three wishes to a young boy. Kazaam is the name of the genie, and is played by basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. The film was directed by Paul Michael Glaser who played Starsky on “Starsky and Hutch” in the seventies. No one seemed to like the “Kazaam” movie.

7. Commoner : PLEB
Plebe is a slang term for a freshman in the US military and naval academies. Plebe is probably short for "plebeian", the name given to someone of the common class in Ancient Rome (as opposed to a Patrician). "Pleb" is a shortened version of plebeian, and is a term used outside of the military schools.

8. Police stun gun : TASER
Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called "Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle". The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym TASER stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle". Interesting, eh?

11. Medical directive : LIVING WILL
A “living will” is more accurately referred to as “advance health care directive”. A living will defines what actions should be taken for a person should he or she no longer be able to make decision due to incapacity. A related document is a “health care proxy” in which a person authorizes another individual to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.

12. With, on le menu : AVEC
“Avec” is French for “with”.

13. Item under a jacket, maybe : VEST
Here's another word that often catches me out. What we call a vest in the US is a waistcoat back in Ireland. And the Irish use the word "vest" for an undershirt.

25. Roulette bet : EVENS
In the game of roulette, players can bet on odd (“pair” in French) and even (“impair” in French).

The name "roulette" means "little wheel" in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796.

27. ___-garde : AVANT
People described as being avant-garde are especially innovative. "Avant-garde" is French for “advance guard”.

28. Caffeine-laden nuts : KOLAS
The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Of course in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

35. Experienced through another : VICARIOUS
Our word “vicarious” means “experienced through another”. The term comes from the Latin “vicarius”, meaning “substitute, deputy”.

36. The first Mrs. Trump : IVANA
Ivana Winklmayr was born in Czechoslovakia. Winklmayr was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald's marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly so well as their very litigious divorce in 1990.

37. Shakespeare's Antonio and Bassanio, e.g. : VENETIANS
In William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, Antonio is the title character. Bassanio is Antonio’s friend, who is set on wooing the wealthy heiress Portia.

Famously, at the climax of William Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", Antonio goes on trial because he cannot repay a loan to Shylock of 3,000 ducats. Faced with non-payment, Shylock demands his legal right to "a pound of flesh".

47. British sailors : LIMEYS
“Limey” is a slang nickname for someone from Britain, and is a term used in particular by people from North America and Australia. “Limey” is thought to be short for “lime juicer”, an insulting phrase used to describe Royal Navy sailors who were given lime and lemon juice while at sea to help stave off scurvy.

49. One of the friends on "Friends" : MONICA
Courteney Cox played Monica Geller on the incredibly successful sitcom "Friends". Before "Friends" she played the girlfriend of Michael J. Fox's character on "Family Ties" for a couple of years in the late eighties. Her role in "Friends" was her biggest success, no question, when she and her fellow female costars became the highest paid TV actresses ever, earning a million dollars per episode.

51. No-show in a Beckett play : GODOT
An Irishman I may be, but I have sat through so many Samuel Beckett plays (the Irish dramatist) and have yet to come away feeling satisfied that I spent my time well. Of course I am in the minority, as his play "Waiting for Godot" was once voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century. Maybe I will try again one day ...

53. Tuxedo shirt button : STUD
The style of men's evening dress called a "tuxedo" was apparently first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.

54. St. Peter was the first : POPE
According to the Christian tradition, Saint Peter was crucified on the orders of Emperor Nero in Rome. Many hold that he requested to be crucified upside down as he felt that he was unworthy to have the same fate as Jesus Christ.

58. Cabo's peninsula : BAJA
Cabo San Lucas is a major tourist destination at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. “Cabo” is sometimes referred to as the “Fort Lauderdale of Mexico”.

62. Hawaiian dish : POI
I am a big fan of starch (being an Irishman I love potatoes). That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

64. Blanc or Brooks : MEL
Mel Blanc is known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices". We've all heard Mel Blanc at one time or another, I am sure. His was the voice behind such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Elmer Fudd and Barney Rubble. And the words on Blanc's tombstone are ... "That's All Folks".

Mel Brooks' real name is Melvin Kaminsky. Brooks is one of very few entertainers (there are only ten) who has won the "Showbiz Award Grand Slam" i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy. He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Tennessee team, for short : VOLS
5. Acknowledge as true : COP TO
10. Pole or Czech : SLAV
14. Admit openly : AVOW
15. Often-maligned relative : IN-LAW
16. ___ mind : HIVE
17. Blue-skinned race in "Avatar" : NA’VI
18. With 50-Across, it's represented by 15 squares in an appropriate arrangement in this puzzle : GEESE
19. Some Monopoly purchases: Abbr. : AVES
20. French pupil : ELEVE
22. Grandpa on "The Simpsons" : ABE
23. Boot : EVICT
24. Live it up : REVEL
26. N.F.L. player with a black helmet : RAVEN
28. Hebrew month when Hanukkah starts : KISLEV
30. Richard Branson's airline company : VIRGIN
33. Hundred Acre Wood resident : OWL
34. Place to hear fire and brimstone : REVIVAL
38. Personal question? : WHO?
39. Washing machine contents : LOAD
41. David of "The Pink Panther" : NIVEN
42. Rear half of a griffin : LION
43. Writer Katherine ___ Porter : ANNE
44. Barely adequate : SCANT
45. Iams competitor : ALPO
46. 1943 penny material : STEEL
48. Suffix with meth- or prop- : -ANE
49. What you might buy a flight with : MILES
50. See 18-Across : MIGRATION
53. Place with complimentary bathrobes : SPA
56. Pronoun for Miss Piggy : MOI
57. Rodeway ___ : INN
58. Past the expiration date : BAD
61. Ship sinker : TORPEDO
63. Pep up : ANIMATE
65. "Not my call" : UP TO YOU
66. Words of encouragement : NICE JOB
67. Calls it quits : DESISTS
68. Weatherproofing stuff : SEALANT

Down
1. Revolver with the letters N-E-W-S : VANE
2. Speed skater's path : OVAL
3. Make-out session spot : LOVERS’ LANE
4. Spin, as an office chair : SWIVEL
5. It might be bummed : CIG
6. Basketball player who starred in "Kazaam" : O’NEAL
7. Commoner : PLEB
8. Police stun gun : TASER
9. "I ___ you one" : OWE
10. Barber, at times : SHAVER
11. Medical directive : LIVING WILL
12. With, on le menu : AVEC
13. Item under a jacket, maybe : VEST
21. At any time : EVER
23. Nefarious : EVIL
25. Roulette bet : EVENS
27. ___-garde : AVANT
28. Caffeine-laden nuts : KOLAS
29. "Not gonna happen" : I WON’T
31. Comment made while crossing one's fingers : I HOPE
32. Pitchers' hitless games, in baseball slang : NO-NOS
35. Experienced through another : VICARIOUS
36. The first Mrs. Trump : IVANA
37. Shakespeare's Antonio and Bassanio, e.g. : VENETIANS
40. Judge : DEEM
42. Reclined : LAIN
47. British sailors : LIMEYS
49. One of the friends on "Friends" : MONICA
51. No-show in a Beckett play : GODOT
52. Certain belly button : INNIE
53. Tuxedo shirt button : STUD
54. St. Peter was the first : POPE
55. B.A. part : ARTS
58. Cabo's peninsula : BAJA
59. Lots : A TON
60. Thing often of interest? : DEBT
62. Hawaiian dish : POI
64. Blanc or Brooks : MEL


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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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