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Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada (again!)

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! We had a long and strenuos hike today in Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas in 100-degree weather, complete with a touch of heatstroke (scary), and saw the Cirque de Soleil show "Zarkana" this evening (amazing, as all Cirque shows are).

Bill

1120-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Nov 13, Wednesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter A. Collins
THEME: Running on Empty … the circled letters in the grid today spell out the word GAS GAUGE.There are two "unchecked" letters at the left and right of the grid (the first letters of EARSHOT and FEYNMAN) that give us an E and F in the GAS GAUGE representing Empty and Full. And, there is an ARROW pointing to the E on the left, indicating that we are RUNNING ON EMPTY:
55A. With 57-Across, 1977 Jackson Browne album ... or a hint to what's depicted in this puzzle's grid : RUNNING
57A. See 55-Across : ON EMPTY
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 1 … FEYNMAN (Heynman)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Class-ranking stat : GPA
Grade point average (GPA)

9. N.C.A.A. part: Abbr. : ASSOC
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910.

14. Ravel's "La ___" : VALSE
Maurice Ravel wrote the work “La Valse” as a ballet, a tribute to “la valse” (the waltz). The piece is usually heard as a concert work these days.

Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. His most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he thought it to be a trivial work. Personally though, I love minimalism and simplicity …

16. Lincoln Center's Alice ___ Hall : TULLY
The Alice Tully Hall is a concert hall located in the Juilliard Building at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The hall is named for Alice Tully, a performer whose philanthropy helped fund its construction.

17. Division signs : OBELI
The typographical mark “÷” is used as a division sign, and is called an obelus (plural “obeli”).

19. Valerie Harper title role : RHODA
Valerie Harper is best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", and on her own spin-off sitcom "Rhoda". Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, and in 2013 was given just months to live. Despite the prognosis, and her age of 74 years, she decided to appear in the 17th season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

20. W.W. II female : WAC
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women's Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his "best soldiers", saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

23. Islands finger food : POI
The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

25. Chicago Cubs' station : WGN
WGN America is a cable television network based in Chicago. The WGN name has long been associated with Chicago, and is the acronym for the former slogan of the Chicago Tribune: "World's Greatest Newspaper".

The Chicago Cubs is one of only two charter members of the baseball’s National League who are still playing, the other being the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, which is a long time ago. In fact, the Cubs have the longest championship drought of any professional sports team in North America.

28. Third-largest city in Italia : NAPOLI
Naples (“Napoli” in Italian) is the third largest city in Italy. The name “Napoli” comes from the city’s Ancient Greek name, which translates as “New City”. That’s a bit of a paradox as today Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

30. Stereotypical Mensan : NERD
If you ever had to learn Latin, as did I, "mensa" was probably taught to you in Lesson One as it's the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means "table". The Mensa organization for folks with high IQs was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, one is required to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

35. "And giving ___, up the chimney ..." : A NOD
"And giving a nod, up the chimney …” is from the poem “A Visit for St. Nicholas”.

The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line "'Twas the night before Christmas". Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. a poet from Upstate New York.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash ...

36. Privateer's potation : GROG
Edward Vernon was a naval officer with the nickname "Old Grog". In 1740, Vernon ordered that the daily ration of rum for his sailors should be watered down, in order to reduce discipline problems caused by drunkenness. The diluted rum was sweetened with sugar, and lemon or lime added to help preserve it on long voyages. This recipe, found to reduce scurvy among sailors (because of the citrus) spread throughout the Royal Navy, and "grog" was born.

A privateer is a person or ship that is authorized by a government to attack enemy ships during time of war. A privateer might be regarded as a pirate with some government backing, although many privateers had a very respectable reputation. One famous privateer of that ilk was Sir Francis Drake who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I.

37. Boot one : ERR
I think the reference is to a baseball term “to boot one”, to misplay a ground ball.

38. To be, in Québec : ETRE
Québec is the largest province in Canada, and the only one with French as its sole office language. The name "Québec" comes from an Algonquin word "kebec" meaning "where the river narrows". This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.

39. Org. criticized in "Sicko" : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)

Like all of his films, Michael Moore's 2007 documentary "Sicko" tends to polarize the audience. The film deals with the health care system in the United States, comparing it with the systems in place in other countries. Having lived in two of the countries covered in the movie, France and the UK, I can attest that the basic facts presented about those foreign health care systems are accurate. Now Moore's style of presentation of those facts ... that might give rise to some debate ...

40. Software package medium : CD-ROM
CD-ROM stands for "compact disc read only memory". The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for "compact disc - rewritable", with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

49. Typical prerequisite to geom. : ALG
Algebra is a branch of mathematics that is similar to arithmetic, but using symbols in place of numbers. “Algebra” is a Medieval Latin term that comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

51. Celebrity groom in '68 headlines : ARI
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They had two children, including the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

52. Blue Jays, on scoreboards : TOR
The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.

55. With 57-Across, 1977 Jackson Browne album ... or a hint to what's depicted in this puzzle's grid : RUNNING
57. See 55-Across : ON EMPTY
“Running on Empty” is a title song recorded by Jackson Browne on his hit 1977 album. Browne got the idea for the song while driving the few blocks to record his prior album “The Pretender”. Apparently he rarely bothered to gas up the car, and drove around on empty.

61. Pete Rose's 4,256 : HITS
Pete Rose was a talented baseball player who holds the record for all-time Major League hits. In recent years of course his reputation has been tarnished by admissions that he bet on games in which he played and managed.

68. Someone born on Columbus Day, e.g. : LIBRA
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.

The discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus is celebrated with a national holiday in many countries. Here in the US we have Columbus Day, and in the Bahamas there is Discovery Day, and the Day of the Americas in Uruguay.

69. Chain that sells Borgsjö bookcases : IKEA
Did you know that IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 when he was just 17-years-old??!! IKEA is an acronym that stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don't forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

70. P.I.'s : TECS
“Tec” is a slang term for a private detective, a private investigator (PI).

71. Casey with a countdown : KASEM
Not only is Casey Kasem so closely associated with the radio show "American Top 40", but he is also well known for playing the voice of Shaggy Rogers on the "Scooby-Doo" animated series.

72. "___ Flux" (Charlize Theron movie) : AEON
“Aeon Flux” is a sci-fi film from 2005 starring Charlize Theron in the title role.

Charlize Theron is an actress from South Africa who has played leading roles in Hollywood films such as “The Devil’s Advocate”, “The Cider House Rules” and my personal favorite “The Italian Job”.

Down
2. Cuban dance : HABANERA
The dance that we call the “habanera” is known as the contradanza in Cuba where it originated. The habanera gained popularity in the 19th century and was the first dance from Cuba to become successful internationally. The name “habanera” is Spanish for “of Havana”.

4. Handy way of communicating?: Abbr. : ASL
It's really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

9. Lobbies with trees, maybe : ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

10. Ndamukong ___, 2010 N.F.L. Defensive Rookie of the Year : SUH
Ndamukong Suh is an American footballer who plays for the Detroit Lions. Suh is known as an aggressive player, and has racked up some hefty fines for violations on the field.

12. American flag : OLD GLORY
The person who coined the phrase "Old Glory" with reference to the American flag was Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As Driver was leaving on an 1831 voyage aboard the brig Charles Doggett, he unfurled the American flag that he had just been given by a group of friends. As the flag caught the breeze, he uttered the words, "Old Glory!". That's the story anyway. On that same voyage, Charles Doggett rescued the famous mutineers of the HMS Bounty, after he found them on Pitcairn Island.

13. Poison pill contents : CYANIDE
Cyanide poisoning is caused by exposure to cyanide (CN) ions. The cyanide ions inhibit respiration at the cellular level, making the organism unable to use oxygen.

27. Musician Johnny Winter's musician brother : EDGAR
Edgar Winter is a singer and multi-talented instrumentalist. He played in the seventies with his band, The Edgar Winter Group. Winter is an albino, and so has no pigment in his skin, hair and eyes.

Johnny Winter is a blues guitarist and singer, as well as a record producer. Just like his brother, fellow-musician Edgar Winters, Johnny was born with albinism and has no pigment in his skin, hair and eyes.

29. Bel ___ cheese : PAESE
Bel Paese is a mild Italian cheese that was developed in 1906. The name "bel paese" means beautiful country in Italian, and is taken from the title of a book written by Antonio Stoppani.

32. Harry Potter's owl : HEDWIG
Hedwig is the owl belonging to Harry Potter in the J. K. Rowling series of fantasy novels. Hedwig is a female owl, although she is played in the movies by male snowy owls. Male snowy owls are completely white, whereas females have dark patches on their plumage.

34. On the double : PRONTO
The Spanish, Italian (and now English) word “pronto” is derived from the Latin “promptus” meaning “ready, quick”.

40. Shucker's debris : CORNSILK
“To shuck” is to remove the husk from (say an ear of corn) or to remove the shell from (say an oyster).

43. Eavesdropping distance : EARSHOT
To "eavesdrop" is to listen in on someone else's conversation without being invited to do so. The term comes from the practice of spies loitering in the area just outside the walls of a house, particularly in the "eavesdrip", the ground close to a house that catches the drips of rainwater falling from the eaves of the roof.

48. 1965 Physics Nobelist Richard : FEYNMAN
Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist from New York City who was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. During WWII, Feynman worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He also served on the commission that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

50. Wolflike : LUPINE
The term “lupine” means “wolf-like”, coming from the Latin “lupus” meaning “wolf”.

54. LP introduction of 1957 : STEREO
Monophonic sound ("mono") is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

58. Omertà group : MAFIA
Omertà is a code of honor in southern Italian society. The term has been adopted by the Mafia to mean a code of silence designed to prevent a Mafioso from becoming an informer. For example, the famous Joe Valachi was someone who broke the code of silence in 1963, informing on the New York Mafia. Valachi's story was told in the movie "The Valachi Papers", with Charles Bronson playing the lead.

63. Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA
Missing in action (MIA)

65. College sr.'s test : GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Leading : AHEAD
6. Class-ranking stat : GPA
9. N.C.A.A. part: Abbr. : ASSOC
14. Ravel's "La ___" : VALSE
15. Designer's major : ART
16. Lincoln Center's Alice ___ Hall : TULLY
17. Division signs : OBELI
18. Chaotic scene : ZOO
19. Valerie Harper title role : RHODA
20. W.W. II female : WAC
21. "No kidding!" : GEE!
23. Islands finger food : POI
25. Chicago Cubs' station : WGN
26. Have in mind : INTEND
28. Third-largest city in Italia : NAPOLI
30. Stereotypical Mensan : NERD
31. Most athletes are in it : SHAPE
35. "And giving ___, up the chimney ..." : A NOD
36. Privateer's potation : GROG
37. Boot one : ERR
38. To be, in Québec : ETRE
39. Org. criticized in "Sicko" : AMA
40. Software package medium : CD-ROM
42. Owing the pot : SHY
44. Direction indicator : ARROW
46. Like some checking accounts : NO-FEE
49. Typical prerequisite to geom. : ALG
51. Celebrity groom in '68 headlines : ARI
52. Blue Jays, on scoreboards : TOR
53. Put into play : USE
55. With 57-Across, 1977 Jackson Browne album ... or a hint to what's depicted in this puzzle's grid : RUNNING
57. See 55-Across : ON EMPTY
59. Hightails it : SPEEDS
60. Like eggs in omelets : BEATEN
61. Pete Rose's 4,256 : HITS
62. Mental picture : IMAGE
66. Many hands may be found on it : FARM
67. Tending to the matter : ON IT
68. Someone born on Columbus Day, e.g. : LIBRA
69. Chain that sells Borgsjö bookcases : IKEA
70. P.I.'s : TECS
71. Casey with a countdown : KASEM
72. "___ Flux" (Charlize Theron movie) : AEON

Down
1. Stating firmly : AVOWING
2. Cuban dance : HABANERA
3. Kind of force that affects charged particles : ELECTROMAGNETIC
4. Handy way of communicating?: Abbr. : ASL
5. Lower oneself : DEIGN
6. Steady look : GAZE
7. Moneymaker? : PRO
8. On : ATOP
9. Lobbies with trees, maybe : ATRIA
10. Ndamukong ___, 2010 N.F.L. Defensive Rookie of the Year : SUH
11. A bit dense : SLOW ON THE UPTAKE
12. American flag : OLD GLORY
13. Poison pill contents : CYANIDE
22. Mag. staffers : EDS
24. Number on a foam finger : ONE
27. Musician Johnny Winter's musician brother : EDGAR
29. Bel ___ cheese : PAESE
32. Harry Potter's owl : HEDWIG
33. Opposite of dep. : ARR
34. On the double : PRONTO
40. Shucker's debris : CORNSILK
41. Night ray : MOONBEAM
43. Eavesdropping distance : EARSHOT
45. A bust may come of it : RAID
47. Not busy : FREE
48. 1965 Physics Nobelist Richard : FEYNMAN
50. Wolflike : LUPINE
54. LP introduction of 1957 : STEREO
56. Exterminators' targets : NESTS
58. Omertà group : MAFIA
63. Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA
64. Six-pack ___ : ABS
65. College sr.'s test : GRE


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3 comments :

Anonymous said...

By a strange coincidence, the movie "The Challenger Disaster" starring William Hurt in the role of Richard FEYNMAN was on the Science Channel two nights ago. That movie is the reason I knew FEYNMAN for today's puzzle. Anyway, the movie is worth seeing.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there,

Thank you so much for mentioning "The Challenger Disaster" film. That's one I will put on my list.

Anonymous said...

Shame this puzzle is ruined by its not-very-clever device. Even after reading your explanation, I don't see anything approximating a gas gauge in the grid. Actually, what I do see is a non-symmetrical "mistake".

It's getting ever more annoying to see Shortz allowing puzzles that deviate from the classic crossword rules for the sake of "cleverness".

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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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