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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

1029-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Oct 13, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Robert Cirillo
THEME: Front of House … today’s themed answers are made up from two words, each of which can precede the word HOUSE:
18A. Military muscle : FIREPOWER (firehouse & powerhouse)
20A. Sign of change at the Vatican : WHITE SMOKE (White House & smokehouse)
32A. Functional lawn adornment : BIRDBATH (birdhouse & bathhouse)
40A. Take every last cent of : CLEAN OUT (clean house & outhouse)
54A. "Go" signal : GREEN LIGHT (greenhouse & lighthouse)
57A. Using all of a gym, as in basketball : FULL COURT (full house & courthouse)

37A. Word that can follow both halves of 18-, 20-, 32-, 40-, 54- and 57-Across : HOUSE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 32s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. "Ad ___ per aspera" (Kansas' motto) : ASTRA
The motto of the State of Kansas is "ad astra per aspera", a Latin expression meaning "to the stars through difficulties". Kansas shares the same motto with quite a few other institutions, including an English grammar school, an Australian high school, and even Starfleet, the service to which the USS Enterprise belongs in the "Star Trek" series.

6. Fine pillow stuffing : EIDER
Eiders are large sea ducks. Their down feathers are used to fill pillows and quilts, giving the name to the quilt called an "eiderdown".

14. Turkish money : LIRAS
The word "lira" is used in a number of countries for currency. "Lira" comes from the Latin for "pound" and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro.

15. Parkinson's treatment : L-DOPA
L-3,4-DihydrOxyPhenylAlanine, thankfully can be shortened to L-DOPA. Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson won a Nobel Prize for showing that L-DOPA could be used to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's Syndrome.

20. Sign of change at the Vatican : WHITE SMOKE (White House & smokehouse)
A new pope is elected in a papal conclave, a meeting of the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic church. After each round of voting, the individual ballots are burned. If the ballot is inconclusive, then the ballots are burned with a chemical (originally, damp straw was used) so that the resulting smoke is black. The smoke can be seen by crowds gathered near the Sistine Chapel where the conclave is held. If the ballot has resulted in a pope being selected, then the individual ballots are burned on their own so that they give off white smoke.

22. Prell rival : PERT
Prell and Pert are brands of shampoo.

25. RR stop : STN
A railroad (RR) stop is a station (stn.).

26. Chief Norse god : ODIN
In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin's wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term "Friday" (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin's son was Thor, and his name gave us the term "Thursday".

49. One who keeps plugging along : TROOPER
Apparently the phrase "like a real trooper" has diverged in usage over time. Someone who is brave and stalwart might be described as a real "trooper", like a soldier in a troop. Someone who is reliable and a supportive colleague might be described as a real "trouper", like a an actor in a troupe.

45. 10 Downing St. residents : PMS
Prime ministers (PMs)

10 Downing Street is one of the most famous street addresses in the world and is the official London residence of the British Prime Minister. Although it may not look it on television, it's a spacious pad, actually a larger house made by combining three older houses back in the 1700s. Although Number 10 has over one hundred rooms, they are mostly offices and reception rooms and the actual residence itself is quite modest. It was so modest that when Tony Blair came to power he opted to move himself and his family into the more spacious residence next door at Number 11, an apartment traditionally reserved for the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the UK equivalent of the Secretary of the Treasury). The succeeding Prime Minister, David Cameron, seemed to like the idea, because he now lives in Number 11 as well.

60. Network that aired "Monk" : USA
“Monk” is a comedy cop show in which the title character is an ex-San Francisco Police Department detective who is recovering from a nervous breakdown.

61. 007, for one : AGENT
James Bond was of course the creation of the writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized "007" to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”.

63. Fictional detective ___ Archer : LEW
Lew Archer is a character in books by Ross Macdonald. Archer is a private detective based in Southern California. Macdonald chose the name as a homage to the character Miles Archer who was the murdered partner of Sam Spade in Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon”.

64. Like the north side of some rocks : MOSSY
There is a traditionally-held belief that in the northern hemisphere there is a heavier growth of moss on the north-facing side of trees. The assumption is that the sun creates a drier environment on the south side of the tree, an environment that is less conducive to the growth of moss.

65. ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES
Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park. My fire-fighting brother-in-law was based at that park, so I’ve visited and can attest that it is a gorgeous place to live. He lives in Omaha now. The geography in Omaha is a little different ...

Down
4. Haile Selassie disciple : RASTA
I must admit that I don't really understand Rastafarianism. I do know that a "Rasta", like Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

Emperor Haile Selassie I ruled Ethiopia until he was removed from power in a revolution in 1974. Selassie died in 1975 under suspicious circumstances and it is widely believed that he was assassinated.

5. Bad-mouth : ASPERSE
To asperse is to spread false charges or make insinuations. The more common expression is "to cast aspersions". "To asperse" comes from the Latin "aspergere" meaning "to sprinkle". So, "to asperse" is also the term used when sprinkling holy water.

6. Actress Jenna of "Dharma & Greg" : ELFMAN
The actress Jenna Elfman is best known for playing Dharma in the sitcom “Dharma & Greg”. Elfman’s most noted role on the big screen is Anna Riley on the 2000 film “Keeping the Faith”.

"Dharma & Greg" is a sitcom that aired from 1997 to 2002 on ABC. Greg and Dharma are a couple that married on their first date, despite being exact opposites in personality and upbringing.

8. Almost any character on "The Big Bang Theory" : DORK
I consider "dork" to be pretty offensive slang. It emanated in the sixties among American students and has its roots in another slang term, a term for male genitalia.

“The Big Bang Theory” is very clever sitcom aired by CBS since 2007. “The Big Bang Theory” theme song was specially commissioned for the show, and was composed and is sung by Canadian band Barenaked Ladies. The theme song was released in 2007 as a single and is featured on a Barenaked Ladies greatest hits album.

9. Fencing blade : EPEE
The épée that is used in today’s sport fencing is derived from the old French dueling sword. In fact, the the sport of épée fencing is very similar to the dualing of the 19th century. The word “épée” translates from French as “sword”.

10. Radio format : RAP
I guess the idea is that rap music might be the programming format chosen by a radio station.

19. Place to get free screwdrivers, say : OPEN BAR
The cocktail called a screwdriver is a mix of fresh orange juice with vodka. Apparently the drink originated with a group of engineers in the late forties who used to spike small cans of orange juice with vodka, and then stir it in with their screwdrivers.

24. Said, as "adieu" : BID
"Adieu" is the French for "goodbye" or "farewell", from "à Dieu" meaning "to God".

28. Regulatory inits. since 1934 : SEC
The US Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) enforces federal securities laws and regulates the securities industry. The SEC was created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The first Chairman of the SEC was Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the father of future President Kennedy.

33. Priest's garment : ALB
The alb is the white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from "albus", the Latin word for "white".

34. Org. with a prohibited-items list : TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was of course created in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks.

41. Yule libation : NOG
It's not really clear where the term "nog" comes from although it might derive from the word "noggin", which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

"Yule" celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words "Christmas" and "Yule" have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name "Yule" comes from the Old Norse word "jol" that was used to describe the festival.

43. Quarantine : ISOLATE
The original use of our word “quarantine” back in the 1500s was as a legal term. A quarantine was the 40 days in which a widow had the legal right to reside in her dead husband’s house.

49. Shore fliers : TERNS
Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …

51. "Snowy" wader : EGRET
At one time the egret species was in danger of extinction due to excessive hunting driven by the demand for plumes for women's hats.

52. ___ Valley, German wine region : RHINE
The river running through Germany that we know in English as the Rhine, is called “Rhein” in German.

54. ___ girl : GO-GO
Go-go dancing started in the early sixties. Apparently, the first go-go dancers were women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City who would spontaneously jump up onto tables and dance the twist. It wasn't long before clubs everywhere started hiring women to dance on tables for the entertainment of their patrons. Out in Los Angeles, the "Whisky a Go Go" club on Sunset Strip added a twist (pun intended!), as they had their dancers perform in cages suspended from the ceiling, creating the profession of "cage dancing". The name "go-go" actually comes from two expressions. The expression in English "go-go-go" describes someone who is high energy, and the expression in French "a gogo" describes something in abundance.

56. Senators Cruz and Kennedy : TEDS
US Senator Ted Cruz served as Solicitor General for the state of Texas before heading to Washington. Cruz was appointed Solicitor General in 2003 at the age of 32, making him the youngest Solicitor General in the country. Famously, Cruz is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and made a speech in 2013 in the US Senate on the subject that lasted for 21 hours and 19 minutes. It was the fourth longest speech in the history of the Senate.

58. Machine part : CAM
Cams are wheels found on the cam shaft of a car's engine (and other machines). The cams are eccentric in shape rather than circular. The rotation of the cams causes the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders to open and close.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "Ad ___ per aspera" (Kansas' motto) : ASTRA
6. Fine pillow stuffing : EIDER
11. Car with a checkered past? : CAB
14. Turkish money : LIRAS
15. Parkinson's treatment : L-DOPA
16. Egg: Prefix : OVI-
17. Audibly shocked : AGASP
18. Military muscle : FIREPOWER (firehouse & powerhouse)
20. Sign of change at the Vatican : WHITE SMOKE (White House & smokehouse)
22. Prell rival : PERT
23. Ogle : STARE AT
24. Ship slip : BERTH
25. RR stop : STN
26. Chief Norse god : ODIN
28. Saffron and ginger : SPICES
32. Functional lawn adornment : BIRDBATH (birdhouse & bathhouse)
36. Per person : EACH
37. Word that can follow both halves of 18-, 20-, 32-, 40-, 54- and 57-Across : HOUSE
39. Plus : ALSO
40. Take every last cent of : CLEAN OUT (clean house & outhouse)
42. Inflatable safety device : AIRBAG
44. Curt denial : NOT I
45. 10 Downing St. residents : PMS
46. Scoring 100 on : ACING
49. One who keeps plugging along : TROOPER
53. Fade : WANE
54. "Go" signal : GREEN LIGHT(greenhouse & lighthouse)
57. Using all of a gym, as in basketball : FULL COURT (full house & courthouse)
59. Eagle's home : AERIE
60. Network that aired "Monk" : USA
61. 007, for one : AGENT
62. News that may be illustrated by a graph : TREND
63. Fictional detective ___ Archer : LEW
64. Like the north side of some rocks : MOSSY
65. ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES

Down
1. "There oughta be ___!" : A LAW
2. "Alas" and "ah" : SIGHS
3. Curly hair or hazel eyes : TRAIT
4. Haile Selassie disciple : RASTA
5. Bad-mouth : ASPERSE
6. Actress Jenna of "Dharma & Greg" : ELFMAN
7. Moron : IDIOT
8. Almost any character on "The Big Bang Theory" : DORK
9. Fencing blade : EPEE
10. Radio format : RAP
11. Shrink in fear : COWER
12. Deflect : AVERT
13. Word with canal or control : BIRTH
19. Place to get free screwdrivers, say : OPEN BAR
21. Free throw, e.g. : SET SHOT
24. Said, as "adieu" : BID
26. "___ for octopus" : O IS
27. "Yeah, like you have a chance!" : DREAM ON!
28. Regulatory inits. since 1934 : SEC
29. ___ around with : PAL
30. Winter driving hazard : ICE
31. Wide strait : CHANNEL
32. Word of qualification : BUT
33. Priest's garment : ALB
34. Org. with a prohibited-items list : TSA
35. Sharer's opposite : HOG
38. Parisian assent : OUI
41. Yule libation : NOG
43. Quarantine : ISOLATE
45. With 46-Down, quite bad : PRETTY
46. See 45-Down : AWFUL
47. Effect's partner : CAUSE
48. Something acquired by marriage? : IN-LAW
49. Shore fliers : TERNS
50. Shore fixtures : PIERS
51. "Snowy" wader : EGRET
52. ___ Valley, German wine region : RHINE
54. ___ girl : GO-GO
55. Regrets : RUES
56. Senators Cruz and Kennedy : TEDS
58. Machine part : CAM


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Trooper should be "trouper"?

Bill Butler said...

Well spotted ... and thanks for pointing out that trooper/trouper differentiation. As a result, I was able to add a few words to the commentary.

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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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