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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth 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

1003-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 3 Oct 13, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Evan Birnholz
THEME: To Be a BB … today’s crossword is a rebus puzzle with a twist. The letters BB are in several squares, and are read as “to be” in the across answers:
17A. "Good thing I don't have the same problem!" : SUCKS TO BE YOU!
21A. 1986 top 10 hit for Billy Idol : TO BE A LOVER
36A. "Apparently" : SEEMS TO BE
39A. That is the question : TO BE OR NOT TO BE
42A. One who may need a shower? : BRIDE-TO-BE
54A. "Truthfully ..." : TO BE HONEST
62A. Classic rock song in "Easy Rider" : BORN TO BE WILD
5D. Certain ring bearer : HOBBIT
8D. Fictional substance in a Disney film : FLUBBER
32D. Half of an old comedy team : ABBOTT
34D. Caen cleric : ABBE
35D. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, e.g. : ROBBERS
37D. Drifts away : EBBS
53D. Mr. ___ : PIBB
54D. What's not for big shots? : BB GUN
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 26m 54s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

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

5. "The Tao of Pooh" author Benjamin : HOFF
The author Benjamin Hoff is best known for his 1982 book “The Tao of Pooh”, and a successor title published in 1992 called “The Te of Piglet”. Both books use the “Winnie the Pooh” stories to illustrate Taoist beliefs.

9. One with ergophobia : SLOTH
“Ergophobia” is the fear of work, a word coined by British doctor William Dunnett Spanton in 1905. The term comes from the Greek “ergos” meaning “work” and “phobia” meaning “fear”.

20. River of film : PHOENIX
River Phoenix was a young actor at the height of his career when he passed away at only 23 years old. Phoenix’s first big success was as a child actor in the 1986 hit film “Stand by Me”. Later in his short life he garnered favorable attention for his performances in “Running on Empty” and “My Own Private Idaho”. Phoenix collapsed and died from drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside a nightclub.

21. 1986 top 10 hit for Billy Idol : TO BE A LOVER
Billy Idol is an English rock musician, whose real name is William Broad. Idol started out with the punk band Generation X. He then made it big as a solo artist, helped along by some well received MTV music videos in the early days of the genre.

24. Meal at which to drink four cups of wine : SEDER
The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Included in the ceremony is the obligation of participants to drink four cups of wine. The Four Cups are symbolic of four expressions of deliverance promised by God and recorded in the Book of Exodus:
- I will bring out
- I will deliver
- I will redeem
- I will take

25. Part of a pickup line? : TAXI
We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

29. Earth goddess created by Chaos : GAEA
In Greek mythology, Chaos was the first of the primeval gods born at the creation of the universe. Following Chaos came:
- Gaia (also “Gaea”), the primordial goddess of the Earth
- Tartaros, the primordial god of the Underworld
- Eros, the primordial god of Love
- Nyx, the primordial goddess of the Night
- Erebus, the primordial god of Darkness
- Aither, the primordial god of Light
- Hemera, the primordial goddess of the Day

38. What fell in the Fall : MAN
In the Christian tradition, the “fall of man” took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, against the bidding of God. As a result, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden to prevent them becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. The first humans had transitioned from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.

39. That is the question : TO BE OR NOT TO BE
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles ...
There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet's soliloquy that begins "To be or not to be ...". My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide ("to not be").

41. Robert of "Quincy, M.E." : ITO
Robert Ito is an actor from Canada who is perhaps best known for play forensic lab technician Sam Fujiyama on the TV show “Quincy, M.E.”

44. Holder of a pair of queens : CHESS SET
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called "chaturanga", a Sanskrit word meaning "four divisions". These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now "pawns")
- Cavalry (now "knights")
- Elephants (now "bishops")
- Chariots (now "rooks")

49. N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Walker : CHET
Chet Walker is a former basketball player who played with the Syracuse Nationals (which team became the Philadelphia 76ers) and the Chicago Bulls.

50. Belgian battleground during W.W. I : YPRES
Ypres is a Belgian city located close to the French border. In WWI, Ypres was the scene of three devastating battles that resulted in almost a million casualties, including many who suffered in gas attacks.

52. Letters in car ads : APR
Annual percentage rate (APR)

61. Yokel, in slang : GOMER
A yokel might be called a “gomer”, a slang term coming from the character Gomer Pyle in “The Andy Griffith Show”,

62. Classic rock song in "Easy Rider" : BORN TO BE WILD
The rock anthem "Born to be Wild" was made famous by the band Steppenwolf in 1967. The song is sometimes referred to as the first "heavy metal" song, as the words "heavy metal thunder" appears in the lyric, the first recorded use of the term in rock music.

"Easy Rider" is a 1969 movie about two bikers traversing the American Southwest and the South. The bikers are famously played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Fonda produced the film and Hopper directed.

64. G.W. competitor : UMASS
The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) is the largest public university in New England. UMass was founded back in 1863, although it took a while to get the school into service. Construction work was delayed and the college went through two presidents before William S. Clark took charge. He cracked the whip, completed the construction and enrolled the first students in the same year that he took over the reins, in 1867. As a result, although Clark was the third President of UMass, he is regarded by most as the school’s founding father.

The George Washington University (aka “GW”) is located in Washington, D.C. The school was founded in 1821 as the Columbian College in the District of Columbia. The school changed its name to the George Washington University.

65. P.D.Q. Bach's "I'm the Village Idiot," e.g. : ARIA
P.D.Q. Bach is an alter ego used by musical satirist Peter Schickele. Schickele creates works that he bills as compositions written by P.D.Q. Bach, the “only forgotten son” of Johann Sebastien Bach.

66. Rep. Darrell of California : ISSA
Darrell Issa is a Republican Representative in the US House, representing a district in Southern California. Issa was a successful businessman before taking his seat, and is now the wealthiest member of Congress.

67. Like the myth of Ragnarok : NORSE
Ragnarök is the name given to a set of events in Norse mythology that resulted in the deaths of many famous gods including Odin and Thor.

68. Luxury hotel name : RITZ
César Ritz was a Swiss hotelier, who had a reputation for developing the most luxurious of accommodations and attracting the wealthiest clientèle. He opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1898 and the second of his most famous hotels, the Ritz Hotel in London, in 1906. Ritz was lucky in his career, as before starting his own hotel chain, he had been dismissed from the Savoy Hotel in London, implicated in the disappearance of a substantial amount of wine and spirits.

69. Locale for a Village People hit, informally : THE Y
The YMCA is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of "a healthy spirit, mind and body". The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

"YMCA" was released by Village People and has been adopted as an anthem by the gay community. The song was written by Victor Willis, a straight member of the mostly gay band, and he clarifies that the lyrics are extolling the virtues of the "YMCA" as a source of recreation for black urban youth. I think he might have been winking when he said that ...

Village People is a disco group formed in New York City in 1977. From day one, the band’s act and music was aimed at the gay community. The name refers to New York’s Greenwich Village, which at the time had a large gay population. The group’s members dressed up as characters associated with stereotypical gay culture, including a cop, Native American, GI, construction worker and cowboy. The biggest hits for Village People are “Y.M.C.A.” and “In the Navy”.

Down
1. "Scrubs" locale: Abbr. : HOSP
"Scrubs" is a television comedy-drama set in a teaching hospital that first aired from 2001 to 2010. The title sequence of the show features a chest X-ray. However, for the first five seasons the X-ray was shown backwards. The error was corrected at the start of the second season, but then was reinstated at the request of the show’s fans.

3. Bats : LOCO
In Spanish, if one isn't sane (sano) one might be described as crazy (loco).

The expression "bats in the belfry" meaning "mad, crazy" conjures up images of bats flying around Gothic bell towers, but actually it's a relatively recent addition to our vernacular. The term is American in origin, and dates back only to the early 1900s. The concept is that someone who is "crazy", with wild ideas flying around his or her head, can be described as having bats (wild ideas) flying around the belfry (head). The terms "bats" and "batty" originated at the same time, and are clearly derivative.

5. Certain ring bearer : HOBBIT
Frodo Baggins is a principal character in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". Frodo is a Hobbit, and was charged with the quest of destroying Sauron's Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

6. Relative of a gemsbok : ORYX
The oryx is a large antelope species, mainly found in Africa but also in the Arabian Peninsula. One species was introduced by man into the White Sands Missile Range. As a result, the oryx is now considered an invasive species in the neighboring White Sands National Monument.

The gemsbok is an antelope native to southern Africa, a relative of the oryx. The gemsbok was introduced into North America in the late sixties and is thriving here. That is largely because we don’t have lions running around, which are the gemsbok’s natural predator.

7. ___ Schwarz : FAO
FAO Schwarz is perhaps the most famous, and is certainly the oldest toy store in the United States. The FAO Schwarz outlet on Fifth Avenue in New York City has been made very famous by Hollywood. For example, in the New York Store you can see that floor piano that was played by Tom Hanks in the movie “Big”.

8. Fictional substance in a Disney film : FLUBBER
“The Absent-Minded Professor” is a 1961 Disney movie that is based on a short story called “A Situation of Gravity” by Samuel W. Taylor. The film is about a professor who invents a substance that he calls flubber, which gains energy on striking a hard surface. The name “flubber” comes from “flying rubber”. The 1961 movie starred Fred MacMurray in the title role. The film was so successful at the box office that it became the first Disney film to merit a sequel, namely “Son of Flubber” released in 1963. The original was remade in 1997 as “Flubber”, starring Robin Williams.

9. Zodiac symbol : SCALE
The constellation of Libra is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that isn't named for a living creature.

10. U.S.S. Enterprise chief engineer Geordi ___ : LA FORGE
Geordi La Forge is a central character on the TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, as well as the four spin-off movies. He is the naturally blind officer who wears what’s called a VISOR to see. La Forge is played by LeVar Burton.

12. Overly precious : TWEE
In the UK, something "twee" is cutesy or overly nice. "Twee" came from "tweet", which is the cutesy, baby-talk way of saying "sweet".

13. Mister, overseas : HERR
In Germany, a “Mr.” (Herr) is married to a “Mrs.” (Frau).

18. ___ Balls : SNO
The Hostess cakes called Sno Balls are usually pink in color, although in its original form each packet of two cakes contained one white and one pink. Around Halloween you can buy Sno Balls in the form of Scary Cakes and Glo Balls that are colored orange and green. and on St. Paddy's Day there's a green one available. Yoo hoo!

22. Christmas hymn beginning : ADESTE
The lovely hymn "Adeste Fideles" (translated from Latin as "O Come, All Ye Faithful") was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time.

24. Events at which people are dead serious? : SEANCES
"Séance" is a French word meaning "a sitting".

27. Ohio city WSW of Columbus : XENIA
Xenia, Ohio is in effect a suburb of Dayton. The name "Xenia" is the Greek word for "hospitality". In terms of population, Xenia is the largest city in the US with a name beginning with the letter X.

30. Some buggy drivers : AMISH
The Amish are a group of Christian churches, a sub-group of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

31. Name on a bottle of Sensuous Nude perfume : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was quite the successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called "Youth Dew". "Youth Dew" was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder's "perfume" into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That's quite a difference in sales volume ...

32. Half of an old comedy team : ABBOTT
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players?
- First Base: Who
- Second Base: What
- Third Base: I Don't Know
- Left field: Why
- Center field: Because
- Pitcher: Tomorrow
- Catcher: Today
- Shortstop: I Don't Care/I Don't Give a Darn

34. Caen cleric : ABBE
“Abbé” is the French word for an abbot.

35. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, e.g. : ROBBERS
When the great movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was in development, Paul Newman was always the first choice to play one of the leads, although the initial casting had him in the role of Sundance. Steve McQueen actually accepted the co-starring role, but left over a dispute about the billing (the film was entitled “The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy” at that point). The role of Sundance was then offered to Jack Lemmon, but he turned it down. Warren Beatty and Marlon Brando were considered next, before opting for the relatively unknown Robert Redford. What a great choice ...

40. Quaker product : OH’S
There used to be two varieties of Oh's made by Quaker Oats Company. One was Honey Nut Oh's, later known as Crunchy Nut Oh's, but it was phased out. The second type was called Crunchy Graham Oh's, and is still available today as Honey Graham Oh's.

43. Chardonnay feature : DRYNESS
The Chardonnay grape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France. Now it's grown "everywhere". Drinkers of California "Chards" seem to be particularly fond of "oak" flavor, so most Chardonnay wines are aged in oak barrels.

51. In and of itself : PER SE
"Per se" is a Latin phrase, and it translates as "by itself". We use "per se" pretty literally, meaning "in itself, intrinsically".

52. Ball mate : ARNAZ
Desi Arnaz was of course famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

53. Mr. ___ : PIBB
The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

54. What's not for big shots? : BB GUN
A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.080" in diameter) to size FF (.23"). 0.180" diameter birdshot is size BB, which gives the airgun its name.

55. 38-Across's genus : HOMO
The Homo genus includes, of course, the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we're the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man ... sometimes called "hobbit"), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space ...

56. "Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears" poet : OMAR
Omar Khayyam 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 Khayyam".

60. Time of 1944's Operation Neptune : D-DAY
The Allied Invasion of Normandy during WWII was given the codename “Operation Overlord”. The Normandy landings which kicked off the invasion, and which took place on D-Day (6 June 1944), were given the codename “Operation Neptune”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. ___ skirt : HULA
5. "The Tao of Pooh" author Benjamin : HOFF
9. One with ergophobia : SLOTH
14. "Look what I found!" cries : OHOS
15. Kind of tradition : ORAL
16. "___ talk?" : CAN WE
17. "Good thing I don't have the same problem!" : SUCKS TO BE YOU!
19. Following : AFTER
20. River of film : PHOENIX
21. 1986 top 10 hit for Billy Idol : TO BE A LOVER
23. That's the point : DOT
24. Meal at which to drink four cups of wine : SEDER
25. Part of a pickup line? : TAXI
28. "___, boy!" : HERE
29. Earth goddess created by Chaos : GAEA
33. Expanse : OPEN AREA
36. "Apparently" : SEEMS TO BE
38. What fell in the Fall : MAN
39. That is the question : TO BE OR NOT TO BE
41. Robert of "Quincy, M.E." : ITO
42. One who may need a shower? : BRIDE-TO-BE
44. Holder of a pair of queens : CHESS SET
46. Shiner : STAR
47. Milk sources : EWES
49. N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Walker : CHET
50. Belgian battleground during W.W. I : YPRES
52. Letters in car ads : APR
54. "Truthfully ..." : TO BE HONEST
57. Brought up to speed : BRIEFED
61. Yokel, in slang : GOMER
62. Classic rock song in "Easy Rider" : BORN TO BE WILD
64. G.W. competitor : UMASS
65. P.D.Q. Bach's "I'm the Village Idiot," e.g. : ARIA
66. Rep. Darrell of California : ISSA
67. Like the myth of Ragnarok : NORSE
68. Luxury hotel name : RITZ
69. Locale for a Village People hit, informally : THE Y

Down
1. "Scrubs" locale: Abbr. : HOSP
2. "Don't even think about it" : UH-UH
3. Bats : LOCO
4. Showed politeness at the front door : ASKED IN
5. Certain ring bearer : HOBBIT
6. Relative of a gemsbok : ORYX
7. ___ Schwarz : FAO
8. Fictional substance in a Disney film : FLUBBER
9. Zodiac symbol : SCALE
10. U.S.S. Enterprise chief engineer Geordi ___ : LA FORGE
11. Where reruns run : ON TV
12. Overly precious : TWEE
13. Mister, overseas : HERR
18. ___ Balls : SNO
22. Christmas hymn beginning : ADESTE
24. Events at which people are dead serious? : SEANCES
25. Some pyramids : TOMBS
26. In two, say : APART
27. Ohio city WSW of Columbus : XENIA
28. It's possessive : HER
30. Some buggy drivers : AMISH
31. Name on a bottle of Sensuous Nude perfume : ESTEE
32. Half of an old comedy team : ABBOTT
34. Caen cleric : ABBE
35. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, e.g. : ROBBERS
37. Drifts away : EBBS
40. Quaker product : OH’S
43. Chardonnay feature : DRYNESS
45. "Whatever!" : SCREW IT!
48. Fancy suite amenity : WET BAR
51. In and of itself : PER SE
52. Ball mate : ARNAZ
53. Mr. ___ : PIBB
54. What's not for big shots? : BB GUN
55. 38-Across's genus : HOMO
56. "Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears" poet : OMAR
57. "I say" sayer : BRIT
58. Menu section : FISH
59. Threat ender : ELSE
60. Time of 1944's Operation Neptune : D-DAY
63. "... goes, ___ go!" : OR I


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1 comment :

Anonymous said...

17 Across is very apt, from the composer's point of view. These stupid rebuses show their disdain for us.

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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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