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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

1213-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 13 Dec 13, Friday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gary Cee
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 22m 51s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Kid in shorts with a cowlick : ALFALFA
Alfalfa was one Hollywood’s “Little Rascals”, also known as “Our Gang”. Alfalfa's real name was Carl Switzer. He and his brother were quite the young performers around his hometown in Illinois, singing and playing instruments. On a trip to California, the Switzer family were touring the Hal Roach movie studio and were fooling around in the studio cafeteria, basically giving an impromptu performance. Hal Roach happened to be there at the time, and signed both brothers up for roles in "Our Gang". Carl was to play "Alfalfa", and brother Harold played "Slim" (aka "Deadpan").

17. What black licorice or blue cheese is, for many : AN ACQUIRED TASTE
Liquorice (also licorice) and aniseed have similar flavors, but they come from unrelated plants. The liquorice plant is a legume like a bean, and the sweet flavor is an extract from the roots. The flavor mainly comes from an ether compound called anethole, the same substance that gives the distinctive flavor to anise. The seedpods of the anise plant are what we know as "aniseed". The anise seeds themselves are usually ground to release the flavor.

The mold on blue cheese is actually from the genus Penicillium, the same genus of mold that is the source of many antibiotics.

20. Goulash : OLIO
Olio is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish "olla", the clay pot used for cooking.

Goulash is a soup or stew that is seasoned with spices, especially paprika. It is a national dish of Hungary, and the term “goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás”, which actually translates as “herdsman”. The original goulash was a meat dish prepared by herdsman.

22. Organ showpiece : TOCCATA
A toccata is a virtuoso piece of music, usually written for a keyboard or plucked string instrument, one that has fast-moving passages that emphasize the dexterity of the performer's fingers. It is a piece of music with an "improvisatory feel", a piece that seems very spontaneous in form. The name "toccata" comes from the Italian word "toccare" meaning "to touch".

24. Things that are put on ... or don't go off : DUDS
“Duds” is an informal word for clothing, coming from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

29. "Stand and fight" grp. : NRA
“Stand and fight” is the tagline used in an ad campaign by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

30. Like agateware and graniteware : ENAMELED
Agateware is a type of pottery that is decorated with different colored clays. The name comes from “agate”, a silicate stone that contains multicolored layers.

Graniteware is a type of earthenware that has been given a speckled glaze so that it resembles granite.

32. One might be made for the shower : BOOTEE
Knitted shoes called “bootees” made me made as a gift for a baby shower.

37. Novel followed up by "The Boyhood of Christ" : BEN HUR
The celebrated Charlton Heston movie "Ben-Hur" is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled "Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ". The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but has never been beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are "Titanic" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings".

39. Need for muscle contraction, briefly : ATP
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a chemical used in the body to transfer energy for cell-to-cell. One of the main uses of ATP is to shorten muscles, so that they can do work.

42. Like a Madrilenian millionairess : RICA
In Spanish, a woman might be rich (rica).

A Madrileño (female form: Madrileña) is someone from the city of Madrid, the capital of Spain (España).

46. Geology topic : ERA
Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:
- supereon
- eon (also “aeon”)
- era
- period
- epoch
- age

47. Plot element? : ACRE
At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. This was more precisely defined as a strip of land one furlong long (660 feet) and one chain wide (66 feet). The word "furlong" is actually derived from the Old English words meaning "furrow-long", the length of the furrow plowed by the oxen.

55. Get limited access? : ENTRAIN
A limited express train is one that makes a limited number of stops.

Down
1. Not much : A TAD
Back in the 1800s "tad" was used to describe a young child, and this morphed into our usage of "small amount" in the early 1900s. The original use of "tad" for a child is very likely a shortened version of "tadpole".

4. Bit of chichi wear : ASCOT
An Ascot tie is that horrible-looking (I think!) wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.

Someone who is "chichi" is showily trendy and pretentious. “Chichi” is a French noun meaning “airs, fuss”.

6. Like a common printing process : FOUR-COLOR
Four-color printing uses four different color inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The black ink is also known as the “key”. The first letters of the colors (with black being”key”) give the more common name for four-color printing, namely CMYK.

7. The Skywalker boy, for short : 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: 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 ...

8. Processes, as ore : SMELTS
Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and of course, a greenhouse gas).

9. Tennis star Petrova : NADIA
Nadia Petrova is a tennis player from Moscow who has ranked third in the world in doubles. Petrova has a good complement of athletic genes as her father was a successful hammer thrower and her mother won an Olympic bronze in the 400m track relay.

12. Mojave Desert sight : JOSHUA TREE
Joshua Tree is the common name for the plant species more correctly called Yucca brevifolia. One of the best places to see Joshua Trees is in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The plant was named by Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s. The name was chosen as the shape of the tree reminded the settlers of Joshua reaching his hands to the sky in prayer.

The Mojave Desert in the southwest is named after the Native American Mohave tribe. Famous locations within the boundaries of the desert, are Death Valley, Las Vegas, Nevada and the ghost town of Calico, California.

13. Like some celebrities blogged about by Perez Hilton : OUTED
Perez Hilton is a blogger who noted for posting gossip items about celebrities. If you want to check it out, Hilton’s site is PerezHilton.com. It used to be called PageSixSixSix.com. I have no idea why …

18. Chemistry Nobelist Hoffmann : ROALD
Roald Hoffmann is a theoretical chemist at Cornell. He was born in Poland and named "Roald" after the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. Hoffman won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1981.

23. Hernando's hundred : CIEN
“Cien” is Spanish for “hundred”.

25. English channel's nickname, with "the" : BEEB
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as "the Beeb", a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers on the classic British radio comedy called "The Goon Show". The BBC was founded in 1922, and was the world’s first national broadcasting organization.

26. Being with une auréole : ANGE
In French, a halo (auréole) might be seen around the head of an angel (ange).

27. King John sealed it : MAGNA CARTA
The Magna Carta is a landmark document issued in England in 1215. It represents the first time that an English king had to submit to the will of his subjects, a group of barons who sought to limit the powers of the monarchy. In particular the Magna Carta calls out that no freeman could be punished except through the law of the land. And of course, the Magna Carta was an inspiration for the United States Constitution.

John was a relatively unlikely king of England as he was the youngest of five sons of King Henry II. The three eldest boys died young and the throne fell to Richard I (the Lionheart). After Richard died, John ascended to the throne. Famously, John was king during the baronial revolt that led to the signing of the Magna Carta.

31. Israel Philharmonic maestro : MEHTA
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music, from Mumbai. Mehta studied music in Vienna, where he made his conducting debut in 1958. In 1961 he was named assistant director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a fuss with the music director designate of the orchestra, Georg Solti. Solti resigned as a protest, and Mehta took his job. In 1978 Mehta took over as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, eventually becoming the longest holder of that position.

32. Technology standard named for a Danish king : BLUETOOTH
Bluetooth is a standard for wireless technology that was introduced by Swedish telecom vendor Ericsson in 1994. The name was chosen in honor of Harald Bluetooth, a medieval King of Denmark and Norway. Harald is said to have earned his name because of his love of blueberries, which stained his teeth. Harald was said to have a gift for convincing diverse factions to talk to one another, so Ericsson’s communication protocol was given Harald’s name.

34. Massachusetts motto opener : ENSE
The motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem”, a Latin phrase that can be translated as “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty”. The quotation is from a passage written by English politician Algernon Sidney who was executed for treason by King Charles II.

36. Hitch horses : ALLY
“To hitch horses together” is to be in a relationship.

38. All-Star 18 consecutive times from 1967 to 1984 : CAREW
Rod Carew is a former Major League Baseball player from Panama. Actually. Carew is a "Zonian", meaning that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a political entity that existed for decades from 1903.

40. "Where we lay our scene," in Shakespeare : VERONA
William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet” opens with a prologue that starts with:
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

Three of William Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona, a city in northern Italy:
- “Romeo and Juliet”
- “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”
- “The Taming of the Shrew”

43. ___ Sendler, heroine of W.W. II's Polish Underground : IRENA
Irena Sendler was a Polish nurse with the Polish Underground during WWII. Snedler played a leading role in smuggling about 2,500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, saving them from the Holocaust. However, she was discovered by the Nazis, tortured and sentenced to death. Sendler managed to escape, and survived the war.

44. Blocker working with a receiver : V-CHIP
All television sets produced for the US market since the year 2000 have to include a component called a V-chip. A V-chip allows a TV to be configured so that programming of specific "ratings" can be blocked from viewing. The "V" in V-chip stands for "viewer control". It sounds like a great idea, but a lot of kids these days quickly do a search online and work out how to reset the password.

45. Out of sight : PERDU
Something described as “perdu” is hidden, concealed. “Perdu” is the French word for “lost”.

47. "Like ___ Song" (John Denver hit) : A SAD
“Like a Sad Song” is a track from the John Denver’s 1976 album “Spirit”.

Singer John Denver’s real name was Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. Denver was a great singer and he had many other passions. He was an excellent photographer, and an avid skier and golfer. He also loved flying and collected vintage biplanes. He flew himself to concerts in his own Learjet and had a handful of other planes that he would take out for spin when he could. One of his planes was an Experimental Rutan Long-EZ, a homebuilt aircraft noted for its fuel efficiency and tremendous range. Denver took the Rutan Long-EZ up in the middle of October 1997 not having much experience with the plane, even though he had logged over 2,700 hours of flying time in other aircraft. The plane crashed into the ocean near Pacific Grove, California in an accident that Denver did not survive.

50. Wind, in Chinese : FENG
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese tradition of arranging objects, buildings and other structures in a manner that is said to improve the lives of the individuals living in or using the space. "Feng shui" translates as "wind-water", a reference to the belief that positive and negative life forces ride the wind and scatter, but are retained when they encounter water.

54. Bearded ___ (reedling) : TIT
The Bearded Tit is more usually known as the Bearded Reedling. The bird doesn't actually have a "beard", although the male has black marks around the bill that resemble a mustache.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Kid in shorts with a cowlick : ALFALFA
8. Soft soap relative : SNOWJOB
15. Twisting : TORSION
16. Industrial production unit : MAN-HOUR
17. What black licorice or blue cheese is, for many : AN ACQUIRED TASTE
19. What a parade may necessitate : DETOUR
20. Goulash : OLIO
21. Give the ax : HEW
22. Organ showpiece : TOCCATA
24. Things that are put on ... or don't go off : DUDS
25. Sound of a belt : BAM!
28. Agitates : ROILS
29. "Stand and fight" grp. : NRA
30. Like agateware and graniteware : ENAMELED
32. One might be made for the shower : BOOTEE
35. Goosed : EGGED ON
36. Consolation prize recipient : ALSO-RAN
37. Novel followed up by "The Boyhood of Christ" : BEN HUR
38. Out to lunch : CLUELESS
39. Need for muscle contraction, briefly : ATP
40. Person who may work a lot : VALET
41. One having a ball? : EYE
42. Like a Madrilenian millionairess : RICA
44. Apex : VERY TOP
46. Geology topic : ERA
47. Plot element? : ACRE
48. Singular publication : ONE-OFF
52. Line near the end of an infomercial : HERE’S HOW TO ORDER
55. Get limited access? : ENTRAIN
56. Finish line? : IT’S DONE
57. Rural parents : MA AND PA
58. Sexual desire, euphemistically : THE URGE

Down
1. Not much : A TAD
2. Singular : LONE
3. Rushing home? : FRAT
4. Bit of chichi wear : ASCOT
5. Smashed : LIQUORED UP
6. Like a common printing process : FOUR-COLOR
7. The Skywalker boy, for short : ANI
8. Processes, as ore : SMELTS
9. Tennis star Petrova : NADIA
10. Not suckered by : ONTO
11. Inquiry made while half awake, maybe : WHA?
12. Mojave Desert sight : JOSHUA TREE
13. Like some celebrities blogged about by Perez Hilton : OUTED
14. Inn inventory : BREWS
18. Chemistry Nobelist Hoffmann : ROALD
23. Hernando's hundred : CIEN
24. Go gaga (over) : DROOL
25. English channel's nickname, with "the" : BEEB
26. Being with une auréole : ANGE
27. King John sealed it : MAGNA CARTA
29. Direct, as a confrontation : NOSE-TO-NOSE
31. Israel Philharmonic maestro : MEHTA
32. Technology standard named for a Danish king : BLUETOOTH
33. "Calm down now ..." : EASY
34. Massachusetts motto opener : ENSE
36. Hitch horses : ALLY
38. All-Star 18 consecutive times from 1967 to 1984 : CAREW
40. "Where we lay our scene," in Shakespeare : VERONA
42. Take up one more time, say : REHEM
43. ___ Sendler, heroine of W.W. II's Polish Underground : IRENA
44. Blocker working with a receiver : V-CHIP
45. Out of sight : PERDU
47. "Like ___ Song" (John Denver hit) : A SAD
49. With 51-Down, unscented : ODOR
50. Wind, in Chinese : FENG
51. See 49-Down : FREE
53. Midwest attachment? : -ERN
54. Bearded ___ (reedling) : TIT


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The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections

5 comments :

Anonymous said...

Blue Tooth is named after a Medieval King who liked blueberries.

Who knew?

Bill Butler said...

Those crazy Swedes, huh? :)

Dave said...

Bootee? Hmm. Borderline lame

Bart Berlin said...

Isn't Irena Sendler the one who wrote the names of the Jewish children she saved and put the papers in jars which she buried? Then after the war she dug them up and was able to identify the children as Jewish so they wouldn't be lost to assimilation.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Bart.

Thanks for bringing up that detal about Irena Sendler's remarkable life. I just checked and yes, she and her compatriots did indeed bury in jars the names of those Jewish babies that they relocated, so that they could be reuinited with their families after the war. One has to wonder how many families survived the Holocaust, and got their children back.

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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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