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Vacation Alert

I am currently on vacation in Ireland, returning on October 9th. I am hoping to complete a blog post each evening, even if it is only the basics (solved grid and clues, plus explanation of theme). I apologize in advance if I am late in posting.

Bill

1022-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Oct 13, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Kevan Choset
THEME: Middle-Earth … the word EARTH is hidden near the MIDDLE of each of today’s themed answers:
17A. Overcome an unpleasant misunderstanding : CLEAR THE AIR
24A. Left-brain activity : LINEAR THINKING
38A. 2004 film featuring Dustin Hoffman : I HEART HUCKABEES
49A. Reason to see a rheumatologist : ACUTE ARTHRITIS

59A. "The Lord of the Rings" setting ... or a feature of 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across? : MIDDLE-EARTH
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Now, in Acapulco : AHORA
The Mexican city of Acapulco is on the southwest coast of the country, in the state of Guerrero. The name “Acapulco” translates from the local language into “at the big reeds”.

14. One using Yelp or TripAdvisor, perhaps : RATER
yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.

TripAdvisor.com is a travel website dedicated to helping users in most aspects of their travels. Much of TripAdvisor’s content is generated by users, in the form of reviews by travelers.

15. Prefix with biology : ETHNO-
Ethnobiology is the study of the relationship between plants and animals and the humans of different cultures. The emphasis is on the way animals and plants are treated by different human cultures.

16. Suffix with planet or fact : -OID
“Planetoid” is another word for "asteroid".

A “factoid” is a piece of unverified information that is presented in the news media as factual. Factoids often become accepted as true simply due to repetition in the press.

19. Fall mo. : OCT
October is the tenth month in our calendar but was the eighth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the name “Octo-ber”. Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

21. ___ tai : MAI
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic's restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum.

22. Actor Milo : O'SHEA
Milo O'Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from "Romeo and Juliet" to "The West Wing". Sadly, O’Shea passed away in 2013 in New York City.

24. Left-brain activity : LINEAR THINKING
There is a generalization made in popular psychology publications that the left side of the brain is the “logical” side, and the right side is the “creative” side. I think it’s more complicated than that …

29. "Anderson Cooper 360°" channel : CNN
“Anderson Cooper 360°” is a CNN news show that is often referred to simply as “AC360”.

30. Asimov and Newton : ISAACS
As well as writing science fiction, Isaac Asimov wrote some interesting books outside of the genre. He published “Asimov’s Guide to the Bible”, “Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare”, “Asimov’s Annotated Paradise Lost” and “The Annotated Gulliver’s Travels”.

Sir Isaac Newton was of course one of the most influential people in history, the man who laid the groundwork for all of classical mechanics. The story about an apple falling on his head, inspiring him to formulate his theories about gravity, well that's not quite true. Newton often told the story about observing an apple falling in his mother's garden and how this made him acutely aware of the Earth's gravitational pull. However, he made no mention of the apple hitting him on the head.

31. March honoree, for short : ST PAT
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as St. Patrick's Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

34. "And ___ bed" : SO TO
“And so to bed” is a phrase associated with Samuel Pepys. Famously, Pepys used the expression several times in the diary that he kept through the1660s.

36. "The Wonder Years" teen, for short : KEV
"The Wonder Years" is a comedy drama that originally ran on television from 1988 to 1993. Star of the show was 13-year-old Fred Savage who played Kevin Arnold. Kevin’s love interest was Winnie Cooper, played by Danica McKellar.

38. 2004 film featuring Dustin Hoffman : I HEART HUCKABEES
“I ♥ Huckabees” is a 2004 political comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin. Sometime the film’s title is spoken as “I Love Huckabees” but more usually as “I Heart Huckabees”. Not a favorite of mine ...

Dustin Hoffman’s big break in movies came with the starring role in 1967’s “The Graduate”, and he has been going strong ever since. He wasn’t always destined to be an actor though, as he did start college intending to study medicine. But he left after only a year and joined the Pasadena Playhouse. There he met his very good friend Gene Hackman. Even though the pair have been friends all their lives, it wasn’t until decades after they met that they shared the screen together, for just a few minutes in the excellent 2003 thriller “Runaway Jury”.

42. Half a bikini : BRA
The origin of the name "bikini", a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name "bikini" was chosen for the swim-wear because of the "explosive" effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!

45. Anderson Cooper, e.g. : ANCHOR
Anderson Cooper is a great news personality on CNN and on various shows around the dial. My favorite appearances of his, although he would call them trivial I am sure, was as host of a great reality game show called "The Mole" that aired in 2001. Cooper’s mother is the heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, of designer blue jeans fame.

54. Instrument played by George Harrison : SITAR
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

George Harrison is often referred to as the “quiet Beatle”, although he did have a profound influence on the direction taken by the Fab Four. It was Harrison who first became an admirer of Indian culture and led the rest of the group into the Indian way of life. Harrison went as far as embracing the Hindu religion.

55. Gulf state: Abbr. : UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (states) in the Middle East. Included in the seven are Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the city of Abu Dhabi being the UAE capital and cultural center.

58. ___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. São Paulo is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city's streets.

59. "The Lord of the Rings" setting ... or a feature of 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across? : MIDDLE-EARTH
J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is the second best-selling novel ever written, with only “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens having sold more copies around the world. Remarkably I think, the third best-selling novel is "The Hobbit", which was also written by Tolkien.

64. Young Darth Vader, to friends : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in all six of the "Star Wars" movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:
- Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
- Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
- Episode IV: Anakin, as Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
- Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
- Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor's evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after ...

65. Filmmaker Morris : ERROL
Errol Morris is a film director, best known for his excellent 2003 documentary “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara”.

66. He-Man's sister : SHE-RA
“She-Ra: Princess of Power” is an animated television show, a spinoff of the very successful “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”. Both shows are aimed at young people, with “He-Man” targeted at boys and “She-Ra” at girls.

67. Initials of fashion : YSL
Yves Saint-Laurent was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story ...

68. Oracles : SEERS
In Ancient Greece and Rome, an oracle was someone believed to be inspired by the gods to give wise counsel. The word "oracle" derives from the Latin "orare" meaning "to speak", which is the same root for our word "orator". One of the most important oracles of Ancient Greece was the priestess to Apollo at Delphi.

Down
1. Instruction to play with the bow : ARCO
“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

2. Special-request flight meal option : HALAL
“Halal” is a term for an action or object that is permissible under Islamic Law. In particular it can be used to describe food that can be consumed. Anything that is not allowed is called “haraam”.

3. Cheri formerly of "S.N.L." : OTERI
Cheri Oteri was the SNL cast member who regularly appeared with Will Farrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.

4. "The Crying Game" actor Stephen : REA
"The Crying Game" is a fascinating film that made quite a splash when it was released in 1992. Although it was set in Ireland and the UK, it didn't do well in cinemas in either country yet made a lot of money over here in the US. I think the politics of the movie were a bit raw for Irish and UK audiences back then. It's an unusual plot, blending Irish political issues with some raw sexuality questions. I won't tell you about the "surprise scene", just in case you haven't seen it and want to do so.

5. Sheet music abbr. : ARR
"Arr." is short for "arranged by", when written on a musical score.

6. Joy formerly of "The View" : BEHAR
Joy Behar is a comedian, and former co-host of the hit talk show “The View”.

8. "___ Na Na" : SHA
Do you remember the band "Johnny Casino & The Gamblers" in the movie "Grease"? That was actually the real-world group Sha Na Na. Johnny Casino & the Gamblers sang "Those Magic Changes" at the high school dance, in between "Rock'N Roll Is Here to Stay" and "Hound Dog". Sha Na Na got together in the sixties and are still performing today.

10. Mexican beer : CORONA
The Mexican beer called Corona is the biggest-selling imported beer in the United States.

18. Certain Fed : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury (the “T” stands for Treasury).

23. Reggae precursor : SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term "ska", but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

25. Org. with Lions, Tigers and Bears : NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

26. ___'acte : ENTR
The term entr'acte comes to us from French, and is the interval between two acts ("entre" deux "actes") of a theatrical performance. It often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

32. Allies of the Trojans in the "Iliad" : THRACIANS
Thrase is a historical and geographic region of southeast Europe, largely lying in southeastern Bulgaria. The region took its name from the Thracian people, an ancient race that used to inhabit the area. Included in the region is the European side of the city of Istanbul.

33. What pad Thai is often cooked in : PEANUT OIL
The delicious dish called Pad Thai is a meld of stir-fried rice noodles with tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a mix of vegetables and possibly tofu, meat or fish. It is usually topped with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime. The name "Pad Thai" translates as "fried Thai style".

34. Bake, as eggs : SHIRR
Shirred eggs are eggs that have been baked without their shells in a flat-bottomed dish. The term “shirred” comes from the name of the dish that was traditionally used for the baking.

37. Letters on brandy : VSO
Cognac is a most famous variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac in the very west of France. To be called cognac, the brandy must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in very specific French oak barrels. It is the length of this aging that defines the various grades of cognac (and other brandies):
- VS: Very Special ... at least 2 years storage
- VSOP: Very Special (or Superior) Old Pale ... at least 4 years storage
- XO: Extra Old ... at least 6 years
- VSO: Very Superior Old ... 12-17 years

39. Old draft category for civilian workers : TWO-A
The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System(SS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 2-A (registrant deferred because of civilian occupation … non-agricultural), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

40. Italian wine area : ASTI
Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

41. Cartoon boy who can be described by an anagram of his name : BART
Bart Simpson is the main character in television’s “The Simpsons”. Bart’s name was chosen by the writers as it is an anagram of “brat”.

46. It runs the 'L' : CTA
The Chicago "L" is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The "L" is also the second oldest, again with the New York City Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the "L" (originally short for "elevated railroad"), although the term "El" is also in common use (especially in crosswords as "ELS"). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

47. Mercury counterpart : HERMES
Hermes was the Greek god of transitions and boundaries, one who intercedes between mortals and the divine. The Roman equivalent to Hermes was the god Mercury.

48. Native Canadian : CREE
The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

50. Mary or Elizabeth : TUDOR
Mary I was Queen of England and Ireland from 1553 to 1558. Mary was the only surviving child from the marriage of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Unlike her father, Mary adhered to her Roman Catholic faith and was noted for her brutal persecution of Protestants during her reign. She had almost three hundred religious dissenters burned at the stake, resulting in her gaining the nickname “Bloody Mary”. Roman Catholic rule was reversed after she died, when her half-sister Elizabeth I succeeded to the throne.

The Elizabethan Era, the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, is considered by many to be the golden age of English history, the age of Shakespeare and the English Renaissance. Elizabeth I was the last sovereign of the House of Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

51. Cough drop brand : HALLS
Halls brand of cough drops were first made by Halls Brothers in England in the 1930s.

52. Like some legal proceedings : IN REM
"In rem" translates from Latin as "in a thing". In a lawsuit, an action is described as "in rem" if it is directed against some property. This would be the case if someone disputes ownership of a piece of land, for example. An action "in personam" on the other hand, is directed against a specific individual.

53. Kama ___ : SUTRA
Kama is the Hindu god of love. He is portrayed as a youth bearing a bow and arrows, much like Eros and Cupid.

The word "sutra" is used in Hinduism for a learned text, one usually meant to be studied by students.

The Kama Sutra is renowned for its descriptions of positions that can be used for sexual intercourse, but the sutra includes many other texts that deal with various matters of a sexual nature including how to woo a woman, the conduct of a "chief wife", the conduct of "other" wives, how to make money as a courtesan and much, much more, as if that isn't enough …

60. Dander : IRE
The phrases "to get one's Irish up" and "to get one's dander up" mean to get riled up, to get angry. I guess we are always picking on the poor Irish!

61. Dr. ___ : DRE
Dr. Dre is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

63. Tuna type : AHI
Yellowfin tuna is usually marketed as "ahi", its Hawaiian name. Yellowfin tuna is one big fish, often weighing over 300 pounds.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Now, in Acapulco : AHORA
6. Like a college course labeled "101" : BASIC
11. 551, once : DLI
14. One using Yelp or TripAdvisor, perhaps : RATER
15. Prefix with biology : ETHNO-
16. Suffix with planet or fact : -OID
17. Overcome an unpleasant misunderstanding : CLEAR THE AIR
19. Fall mo. : OCT
20. Bit of crew equipment : OAR
21. ___ tai : MAI
22. Actor Milo : O'SHEA
24. Left-brain activity : LINEAR THINKING
29. "Anderson Cooper 360°" channel : CNN
30. Asimov and Newton : ISAACS
31. March honoree, for short : ST PAT
34. "And ___ bed" : SO TO
36. "The Wonder Years" teen, for short : KEV
38. 2004 film featuring Dustin Hoffman : I HEART HUCKABEES
42. Half a bikini : BRA
43. Accompanying : WITH
44. Final approval : SAY-SO
45. Anderson Cooper, e.g. : ANCHOR
48. Midpoint: Abbr. : CTR
49. Reason to see a rheumatologist : ACUTE ARTHRITIS
54. Instrument played by George Harrison : SITAR
55. Gulf state: Abbr. : UAE
56. Loony : NUT
58. ___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO
59. "The Lord of the Rings" setting ... or a feature of 17-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across? : MIDDLE-EARTH
64. Young Darth Vader, to friends : ANI
65. Filmmaker Morris : ERROL
66. He-Man's sister : SHE-RA
67. Initials of fashion : YSL
68. Oracles : SEERS
69. Point toward : AIM AT

Down
1. Instruction to play with the bow : ARCO
2. Special-request flight meal option : HALAL
3. Cheri formerly of "S.N.L." : OTERI
4. "The Crying Game" actor Stephen : REA
5. Sheet music abbr. : ARR
6. Joy formerly of "The View" : BEHAR
7. Failed in a big way : ATE IT
8. "___ Na Na" : SHA
9. Common pasta suffix : -INI
10. Mexican beer : CORONA
11. Thingamajig : DOOHICKEY
12. Royalty payers, say : LICENSEES
13. Collar attachment : ID TAG
18. Certain Fed : T-MAN
23. Reggae precursor : SKA
25. Org. with Lions, Tigers and Bears : NCAA
26. ___'acte : ENTR
27. Thumb a ride : HITCH
28. Escapes injury : IS OK
31. Fam. member : SIB
32. Allies of the Trojans in the "Iliad" : THRACIANS
33. What pad Thai is often cooked in : PEANUT OIL
34. Bake, as eggs : SHIRR
35. Not closeted : OUT
37. Letters on brandy : VSO
39. Old draft category for civilian workers : TWO-A
40. Italian wine area : ASTI
41. Cartoon boy who can be described by an anagram of his name : BART
46. It runs the 'L' : CTA
47. Mercury counterpart : HERMES
48. Native Canadian : CREE
49. Test, as ore : ASSAY
50. Mary or Elizabeth : TUDOR
51. Cough drop brand : HALLS
52. Like some legal proceedings : IN REM
53. Kama ___ : SUTRA
57. Word said while pointing : THAT
60. Dander : IRE
61. Dr. ___ : DRE
62. Spanish 57-Down : ESA
63. Tuna type : AHI


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

What do you know? *Another* clever, but not over-wrought theme. There's hope yet.

Bill Butler said...

Some themes do seem to "flow" more easily than others, don't they? Indeed, this was a nice puzzle from Mr. Choset.

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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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