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1101-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 1 Nov 13, Friday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Brad Wilber
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 32m 10s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Common catch off the coast of Maryland : BLUE CRAB
A live, blue crab gets its color from pigments in the shell, which predominantly result in a blue color. When the crab is cooked, all the pigments break down except for astaxanthin, a red pigment, which is why crab turns up at the dinner table looking very red.

15. Crude alternative : OIL SHALE
Shale oil can be extracted from oil shale (!), although the extraction process is more expensive than that used to produce crude oil.

18. Dickens's Miss Havisham, famously : JILTEE
To "jilt" someone with whom you have a relationship is to drop them suddenly or callously. "Jilt" is an obsolete noun that used to mean "harlot" or "loose woman".

Miss Havisham is a character in “Great Expectations”, the novel by Charles Dickens. Miss Havisham is a wealthy spinster who as a younger woman fell in love with a man named Compeyson. Sadly, Compeyson was a swindler after her riches who defrauded her and left her at the altar.

19. ID clincher : DNA
I've always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relations.

20. Challenge to ambulance chasers : TORT REFORM
The word "tort" is a French word meaning "mischief, injury or wrong". Tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another but that action falls outside of the scope of criminal law.

"Ambulance chaser"is a derogatory term for a lawyer. But then again, I thought "lawyer" was a derogatory term in itself ... just kidding!

24. Fiacre, to taxi drivers : PATRON SAINT
Saint Fiacre was an Irish holy man who settled in France, where whiled away his days praying and tending his garden. As such, St. Fiacre is best-known as the patron saint of gardeners. There was a Hotel de Saint Fiacre in Paris at which people would rent carriages to travel to a local hospice. Parisians referred to these hackney carriages as “fiacres”. As a result, Saint Fiacre also became the patron saint of taxi drivers.

30. Nook occupier : EBOOK
The Barnes & Noble electronic-book reader is called the Nook. The Nook accounts for 10-15% of electronic book readers in the world.

31. Toshiba competitor : NEC
NEC is the name that the Nippon Electric Company chose for itself outside of Japan after a re-branding exercise in 1983.

32. Some camcorders : RCAS
During WWI, the US government actively discouraged the loss of certain technologies to other countries, including allies. The developing wireless technologies were considered to be particularly important by the army and navy. The government prevented the General Electric Company from selling equipment to the British Marconi Company, and instead facilitated the purchase by GE of the American Marconi subsidiary. This purchase led to GE forming the Radio Corporation of America that we know today as RCA.

36. Isaac Bashevis Singer settings : SHTETLS
The Yiddish word for "town" is "shtot", and so "shtetl" is the diminutive form meaning "small town".

Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Jewish-American author from Poland who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. As well as being a much-respected author, Singer was a noted vegetarian, and featured the theme of vegetarianism in his some of his works. He was once asked if he had become a vegetarian for health reasons, to which he remarked “I did it for the health of the chicken”.

38. Culmination : ACME
The "acme" is the highest point, coming from the Greek word "akme" which has the same meaning.

39. Only proper noun in the Beatles' "Revolution" : MAO
The Beatles song “Revolution” was written by John Lennon and was released in 1968 as a B-side to “Hey Jude”.

41. "Something to Talk About" singer, 1991 : RAITT
Bonnie Raitt is a blues singer, originally from Burbank, California. Raitt has won nine Grammys for her work, but she is perhaps as well known for her political activism as she is for her music. She was no fan of President George W. Bush while he was in office, and she sure did show it.

43. Classic kitschy wall hanging : VELVET ELVIS
“Kitsch” is a German word, an adjective that means “gaudy, trash”.

47. "Billy Bathgate" novelist : E L DOCTOROW
“Billy Bathgate” is a 1989 novel written by American author E. L. Doctorow. The title character in the story is a teenage boy who becomes the surrogate son of a New York gangster in the days of prohibition. The book was adapted into a movie released in 1991 that starred Loren Dean as Billy, as well as Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman and Bruce Willis.

50. Ex-G.I.'s org. : VFW
The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization (VFW) is the largest association of US combat veterans.

53. Washington State mascot : COUGAR
The mountain lion is found in much of the Americas from the Yukon in Canada right down to the southern Andes in South America. Because the mountain lion is found over such a vast area, it has many different names applied by local peoples, such as cougar and puma. In fact, the mountain lion holds the Guinness record for the animal with the most number of different names, with over 40 in English alone.

54. Pre-W.W. I in automotive history : BRASS ERA
The Brass Era in automotive history was named for the many brass fittings that were placed on the first production cars, such as lights and radiators. The Brass Era lasted from about 1905 until the beginning of WWI. The period before the Brass Era is now called the Veteran Era, and the period after is referred to as the Vintage Era.

57. "If music be the food of love ..." speaker in "Twelfth Night" : ORSINO
The famous quotation about music being the food of love is from William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night". The opening lines of the play, spoken by the love-smitten Duke Orsino are:
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

60. Periods of warming ... or cooling off : DETENTES
“Détente” is a French word meaning "loosening, reduction in tension" and in general it is used to describe the easing of strained relations in a political situation. In particular, the policy of détente came to be associated with the improved relations between the US and the Soviet Union in the seventies.

Down
1. M asset : BOND
The character “M” in the “James Bond” stories is the head of Secret Intelligence Service, also called MI6. The name “M” is chosen as a nod to former head of MI5 Maxwell Knight who routinely signed his memos simply as “M”.

2. Royal Arms of England symbol : LION
The Royal Arms of England is the coat of arms that is used as a symbol for the country and for the English monarchy. The design of the coat of arms features three golden lions in a column on a red shield. The first use of the three-lions symbol on a shield goes back to King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart.

3. Bone under a watchband : ULNA
The bone in the arm called the ulna is prismatic in shape, meaning that it is less like a cylinder than it is a prism, having flat sides that are parallel to each other.

4. The Orange Bowl is played on it: Abbr. : EST
The Orange Bowl football game is played annually in Florida on New Year’s Day, which means that the local time is Eastern Standard Time (EST).

The Orange Bowl is one of the three, second-oldest bowl games, first played in 1935 (the Rose Bowl is the oldest, played annually since 1916). In recent years, the game has been sponsored by Fedex, but as of 2010 the official name of the game is the Discover Orange Bowl. Who would have thought it? A credit card company with money to throw at a football game ...

5. Acupuncturist's concern : CHI
In Chinese culture “qi” or “chi” is the life force in any living thing.

6. Croupier's stick material : RATTAN
Rattan is the name of a large number of species of palms, all of which look less like trees and more like vines. The woody stems are used for making cane furniture.

A croupier is someone who conducts a game at a gambling table. In the world of gaming, the original croupier was someone who stood behind a gambler, holding reserves of cash for the person in a game. Before that, “croupier” was someone who rode behind the main rider on a horse. “Croup” was a Germanic word for “rump”. So, a croupier used to be a “second”, as it were.

8. Tab carrier in a bar? : BEER CAN
The oldest method of opening a can with a device included in the can’s design is the pull-tab or ring pull, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull-tabs that littered the streets.

9. Tourist attraction on Texas' Pedernales River : LBJ RANCH
The LBJ Ranch was the home of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The property is now preserved as Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park. Within the bounds of the park are the former president’s birthplace and his final resting place. While President Johnson was in office, the LBJ Ranch was known as the Texas White House.

11. "Champagne for One" sleuth : WOLFE
Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: " Meet Nero Wolfe" (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and "The League of Frightened Men" (1937). One of Wolfe's endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.

13. Serena Williams, often : ACER
Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

14. Novel in Joyce Carol Oates's Wonderland Quartet : THEM
Joyce Carol Oates is a remarkable writer, not just for the quality of her work (her 1969 novel "them" won a National Book Award, for example) but also for how prolific is her output. She published her first book in 1963 and since then has published over fifty novels as well as many other written works.

23. "The Avengers" villain, 2012 : LOKI
Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki was bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then Loki's wife must empty the venom onto her husband when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing causes the earthquakes that we poor humans have to endure.

“The Avengers” is a 2012 movie that features a whole load of superheroes (Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor) battling a supervillain called Loki.

24. Bit of sachet stuffing : PETAL
A sachet is a small packet of perfumed powder left in perhaps a closet or trunk to scent clothes. The word "sachet" is a diminutive of the French word "sac" meaning "bag".

25. Classroom clickers of old : ABACI
The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

26. Singer who once sang a song to Kramer on "Seinfeld" : TORME
Mel Tormé was a jazz singer, with a quality of voice that earned him the nickname “The Velvet Fog”. Tormé also wrote a few books, and did a lot of acting. He was the co-author of the Christmas classic known as “The Christmas Song”, which starts out with the line "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …"

27. When "Ave Maria" is sung in "Otello" : ACT IV
Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Otello" was first performed in 1887 at La Scala Theater in Milan. The opera is based on Shakespeare's play "Othello" and is considered by many to be Verdi's greatest work.

28. 1970s pact partly negotiated in Helsinki : SALT I
There were two rounds of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the US and the Soviet Union, and two resulting treaties (SALT I & SALT II). The opening round of SALT I talks were held in Helsinki as far back as 1970.

34. Orange garnish for a sushi roll : SMELT ROE
Smelt is the name given to several types of small fish.

35. Fox hunt cry : HALLO!
There is a theory that our greeting “hello” derives from the call of “hollo” that is shouted out in a fox hunt when the quarry is spotted.

37. Bay, for one : TREE
The bay laurel is an evergreen tree or large shrub that is also known as the bay tree, especially in the UK. The aromatic leaves of the bay laurel are the popular “bay leaves” that are often added to pasta sauces.

40. Prompt a buzzer on "The Price Is Right" : OVERBID
“The Price is Right” is a television game show that first aired way back in 1956!

44. Massive, in Metz : ENORME
The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with German, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944.

47. Nobel category: Abbr. : ECON
The Peace Prize is the most famous of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel. The others are for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. There is also a Nobel Prize in Economics that is awarded along with the original five, but it is funded separately and is awarded "in memory of Alfred Nobel". Four of the prizes are awarded by Swedish organizations (Alfred Nobel was a Swede) and so the award ceremonies take place in Stockholm. The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and that award is presented in Oslo.

48. Loughlin or Petty of Hollywood : LORI
Lori Loughlin played Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis on the sitcom “Full House”. Apparently you can see her now in a spinoff of the TV show “Beverly Hills, 90210” called, inventively enough, “90210”.

Lori Petty is the actress who played the character Kit Keller in the fabulous movie "A League of Their Own". Petty also played the title role in a 1995 science fiction film called “Tank Girl”.

49. Italian actress Eleonora : DUSE
Eleanora Duse was an Italian actress, known professionally simply as “Duse”. There is a theory that our term “doozy” derived from Eleanora’s family name. I guess she was a “doozy”.

55. One of the Ms. Pac-Man ghosts : SUE
The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero "Paku", known for his voracious appetite. The spin-off game called Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981.

56. "There is no ___ except stupidity": Wilde : SIN
If you didn't know Oscar Wilde was Irish, you will when you see the name he was given at birth: Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde!

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Common catch off the coast of Maryland : BLUE CRAB
9. Light, in a way : LOW-FAT
15. Crude alternative : OIL SHALE
16. Jewelry box item : BROOCH
17. Like a bout on an undercard : NON-TITLE
18. Dickens's Miss Havisham, famously : JILTEE
19. ID clincher : DNA
20. Challenge to ambulance chasers : TORT REFORM
22. Arcade game prize grabber : CLAW CRANE
24. Fiacre, to taxi drivers : PATRON SAINT
27. "___ reminder ..." : AS A
30. Nook occupier : EBOOK
31. Toshiba competitor : NEC
32. Some camcorders : RCAS
33. Besmirch : TARNISH
36. Isaac Bashevis Singer settings : SHTETLS
38. Culmination : ACME
39. Only proper noun in the Beatles' "Revolution" : MAO
41. "Something to Talk About" singer, 1991 : RAITT
42. Golf commentator's subject : LIE
43. Classic kitschy wall hanging : VELVET ELVIS
46. Slip for a skirt? : FALLEN HEM
47. "Billy Bathgate" novelist : E L DOCTOROW
50. Ex-G.I.'s org. : VFW
53. Washington State mascot : COUGAR
54. Pre-W.W. I in automotive history : BRASS ERA
57. "If music be the food of love ..." speaker in "Twelfth Night" : ORSINO
58. Cry of despair : I'M RUINED
59. Nothing: It. : NIENTE
60. Periods of warming ... or cooling off : DETENTES

Down
1. M asset : BOND
2. Royal Arms of England symbol : LION
3. Bone under a watchband : ULNA
4. The Orange Bowl is played on it: Abbr. : EST
5. Acupuncturist's concern : CHI
6. Croupier's stick material : RATTAN
7. Acknowledges : ALLOWS
8. Tab carrier in a bar? : BEER CAN
9. Tourist attraction on Texas' Pedernales River : LBJ RANCH
10. Face in a particular direction : ORIENT
11. "Champagne for One" sleuth : WOLFE
12. Shot, informally : FOTO
13. Serena Williams, often : ACER
14. Novel in Joyce Carol Oates's Wonderland Quartet : THEM
21. Exasperates : TRIES
22. Cauldron stirrer : CRONE
23. "The Avengers" villain, 2012 : LOKI
24. Bit of sachet stuffing : PETAL
25. Classroom clickers of old : ABACI
26. Singer who once sang a song to Kramer on "Seinfeld" : TORME
27. When "Ave Maria" is sung in "Otello" : ACT IV
28. 1970s pact partly negotiated in Helsinki : SALT I
29. Right hands: Abbr. : ASSTS
32. Arena : REALM
34. Orange garnish for a sushi roll : SMELT ROE
35. Fox hunt cry : HALLO!
37. Bay, for one : TREE
40. Prompt a buzzer on "The Price Is Right" : OVERBID
43. Unoccupied : VACANT
44. Massive, in Metz : ENORME
45. Block : THWART
46. Keep from taking off, as a plane with low visibility : FOG IN
47. Nobel category: Abbr. : ECON
48. Loughlin or Petty of Hollywood : LORI
49. Italian actress Eleonora : DUSE
50. Let it all out : VENT
51. Unoccupied : FREE
52. Rolls of dough : WADS
55. One of the Ms. Pac-Man ghosts : SUE
56. "There is no ___ except stupidity": Wilde : SIN


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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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