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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

1217-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Dec 13, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Paula Gamache
THEME: Inside’s the NBA … today’s themed answers contain the letter-string NBA:
54A. Org. found in the answer to each asterisked clue : NBA

17A. *Sheriff's insignia, in old westerns : TIN BADGE
29A. *Actor named in a "Six Degrees" game : KEVIN BACON
46A. *Tangy breakfast item : ONION BAGEL
59A. *Packers' hometown : GREEN BAY
3D. *Tanning method : SUNBATH
11D. *Recover, as lost love : WIN BACK
40D. *Tommy's game in the Who's rock opera "Tommy" : PINBALL
44D. *Feature of many a charity gala : OPEN BAR
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 21s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. "___ Poetica" : ARS
The full name of Horace's work is "Ars Poetica, Epistula ad Pisones" (The Art of Poetry, Letters to Piso). The work describes the technical aspects of poetry in Ancient Rome, and the term "ars poetica" has come to mean the poetry of that period.

4. Alerts to cruisers, for short : APBS
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

8. Footlong sandwich maker : SUBWAY
The SUBWAY chain of fast food restaurants is the largest single-brand restaurant in the world. I’m a big fan of SUBWAY sandwiches …

14. Fraternity T : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman "T". Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

15. In fashion : CHIC
"Chic" is a French word meaning "stylish".

16. "Seinfeld" ex-girlfriend : ELAINE
The character called Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of "Seinfeld". NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too "male-centric".

23. Shot from an air gun : BBS
A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.080" in diameter) to size FF (.23"). 0.180" diameter birdshot is size BB, which gives the airgun its name.

25. L.B.J. or J.F.K., but not D.D.E. : DEM
President Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) is one of only four people to have held all four elected federal offices, namely US Representative, US Senator, US Vice-President and US President. As President he is perhaps best remembered for escalating involvement in the Vietnam War, and for his “Great Society” legislation.

John F. Kennedy (JFK) was the 35th President of the US, and the fourth US president to have been assassinated in office. The previous three presidents who were killed in office were Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley.

President Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas and given the name David Dwight Eisenhower, but by the time he made it to the White House he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower. Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when "Ike" enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.

26. Speak on the stump : ORATE
“To stump” can mean to go on a speaking tour during a political campaign. This peculiarly American term dates back to the 19th century. Back then a “stump speech” was an address given by someone standing on a large tree stump that provided a convenient perch to help the speaker get his or her message across to the crowd.

28. Old coll. entrance hurdle : SAT I
Today the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the acronym SAT.

29. *Actor named in a "Six Degrees" game : KEVIN BACON
Kevin Bacon is an actor from Philadelphia who appeared first on the big screen in the 1978 comedy “National Lampoon’s Animal House”. That wasn’t to be the big break that Bacon needed though, which came with “Footloose” in 1984. A fun fact about him is that he is the subject of a popular trivia game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” in which players have to show that a particular actor can be related to Kevin Bacon in fewer than six links, with each link being a movie in which two actors appear together.

31. Hemingway novel title location : THE SEA
If you've read Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man And The Sea" (probably first at school, like me) you'll likely remember it as a quick read as it is a novella, although it might be better described as a "long short story". It was first published in 1952, the last major work that Hemingway had published in his lifetime. That first publication was as a story in "Life Magazine", and it was such a hit that the magazine sold 5 million copies in the first two days. "The Old Man and the Sea" won a Pulitzer in 1952 and two years later the title was cited when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

33. Oaxaca uncle : TIO
Oaxaca is a state in the southern part of Mexico on the Pacific coast. The state takes the name of Oaxaca, its largest city.

34. Piece next to a bishop: Abbr. : KNT
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called "chaturanga", a Sanskrit word meaning "four divisions". These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now "pawns")
- Cavalry (now "knights")
- Elephants (now "bishops")
- Chariots (now "rooks")

35. Word with sister and story : SOB
“Sob sister” is the name given to a female journalist who is employed to write or edit so called “sob stories”, accounts of personal hardship or misfortune.

36. Some appliances, for short : GES
The General Electric Company is usually referred to simply as “GE”. One of the precursor companies to GE was Edison General Electric, founded in 1890 by the inventor Thomas Edison. What we know today as GE was formed two years later when Edison merged his company with Charles Coffin’s Thomson-Houston Electric Company. In 1896, GE was selected as one of the 12 companies listed on the newly formed Dow Jones Industrial Average. GE is the only one of the original 12 that is still on that list. I spent over ten years with GE at the beginning of my working career, and in fact it was GE that asked me to transfer to the US back in the 1980s ...

38. Alley-___ (hoops play) : OOP
An “alley-oop” is a play in basketball in which one player throw the ball close to the basket for a teammate who usually scores with a slam dunk.

46. *Tangy breakfast item : ONION BAGEL
The bagel was invented in the Polish city of Kraków in the 16th century. Bagels were brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Poland who mainly established homes in and around New York City.

49. Stock exchange debuts, briefly : IPOS
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

51. Author James : HENRY
Henry James was a British author, although he was born in New York City. James traveled between America and Europe until he was 20 years old, when he settled in England. His best-known novels are probably “The Portrait of a Lady” (1881), “The Bostonians” (1886), “The Wings of the Dove” (1902) and “The Ambassadors” (1903). James’ most famous work is probably his novella “The Turn of the Screw”.

52. Sounds from Santa : HOS
Saint Nicholas of Myra is the inspiration for Santa Claus. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now in modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century AD, and was known for being generous to the poor. Centuries after he died, his remains were desecrated by Italian sailors and moved to Bari in Italy. One legend has it that the relics were moved again centuries later and reburied in the grounds of Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland, where you can visit the grave today. I choose to believe that Santa Claus’s relics are indeed buried in Ireland …

53. Surgically implanted tube : STENT
In the world of medicine and surgery, a stent is an artificial tube inserted inside a vessel in the body, say an artery, so that it reduces the effects of a local restriction in the body's conduit.

54. Org. found in the answer to each asterisked clue : NBA
Basketball is truly an American sport. It was created in 1891 by a James Naismith at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. His goal was to create something active and interesting for his students in the gym. The first "hoops" were actually peach baskets, with the bottoms of the baskets intact. When a player got the ball into the "net", someone had to clamber up and get the ball back out again in order to continue the game!

55. Swiss river : AARE
The Aar (also called the "Aare" in German) is the longest river entirely in Switzerland. A famous spot along the Aar is the Reichenbach Falls in the center of the country, actually a series of waterfalls near the city of Meiringen. These falls are renowned in the world of literature as it was here that Sherlock Holmes fell to his supposed doom with his nemesis Professor Moriarty (in "The Adventure of the Final Problem").

57. Supercute marsupials : KOALAS
The koala really does look like a little bear, but it's not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope.

A marsupial is a mammal that carries its young in a pouch. Most marsupials live in the Southern Hemisphere, with examples being kangaroos, koalas, possums, wombats and Tasmanian devils. The term “marsupial” comes from the Greek “marsipos” meaning “pouch, bag”.

59. *Packers' hometown : GREEN BAY
When Curly Lambeau founded his small-town football team in Green Bay in 1919, he was working for the Indian Packing Company. Lambeau went to his employers looking for sponsorship and was given $250 provided that the team was named for the company. And so, the team was originally referred to as the Green Bay Indians, but by the time they took to the field for their first game it had changed to the Packers, and Lambeau was $250 richer.

63. Carbon-dating estimation : AGE
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon that is found in nature in small amounts Carbon-14 is used in the technique known as radiocarbon dating, a relatively accurate way of determining the age of something up to about 60,000 years old. When an organism is alive, the amount of radioactive carbon-14 it has compared to the amount of regular carbon-12, is a fixed ratio. After the organism dies, it is no longer exchanging carbon with the atmosphere through metabolism. So, the stable carbon-12 stays in the body as it rots but the radioactive carbon-14 gradually decays, causing the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 to fall. Scientists can determine the age of remains by measuring this carbon-14/carbon-12 ratio.

65. Shoulder muscle, for short : DELT
The deltoid muscle is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

66. The "R" of Roy G. Biv : RED
“Roy G. Biv” is an acronym for the colors in a rainbow:
- Red
- Orange
- Yellow
- Green
- Blue
- Indigo
- Violet

Down
4. Prep schools: Abbr. : ACADS
The Greek philosopher Plato founded his school called “the Academy” circa 387 BC in Athens. The site Plato chose for his school was a walled-off grove of olive trees that lay just outside the city. The grove was sacred, dedicated to the goddess Athena, but named “Akademia” after a mythological hero called Akademos. So, it is the mythical Akademos who ultimately gives us our word “academy”.

5. M.A. follow-up, maybe : PHD
PhD is an abbreviation for "philosophiae doctor", which is Latin for "teacher of philosophy".

7. Part of many a Shakespearean act : SCENE V
Shakespeare adopted the five-act structure for all of his plays, using the same format that was used by Seneca for his Roman tragedies. Given five acts, the plays tend to unfold as follows:
- Act I is used as an introduction
- Act II is used to complicate things
- Act III contains the climax of the tale
- Act IV is used to add some suspense
- Act V is the conclusion

9. Suffix meaning "little one" : -ULA
The suffix -ula indicates "small". For example, the word "formula" is from the Latin for "little form".

10. Singer Streisand : BARBRA
Barbra Streisand has recorded 31 top-ten albums since 1963, more than any other female recording artist. In fact, she has had an album in the top ten for the last five decades, a rare achievement in itself.

12. Jennifer of "Friends" : ANISTON
Jennifer Aniston won a 2002 Emmy for playing Rachel on the great sitcom "Friends". Jennifer's parents are both actors, and her godfather is the actor Telly Savalas.

26. Wind instruments : OBOES
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name "oboe" comes from the French "hautbois" which means "high wood". When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you'll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an "A". The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe's "A". Oh, and if you want to read a fun book (almost an "exposé") about life playing the oboe, you might try "Mozart in the Jungle" by oboist Blair Tindall. Amazon Studios have made a 30-minute pilot episode of a Web-based TV show based on Tindall’s book, starring the great British actor Malcolm McDowell. I can’t wait to see it ...

27. "The Lord of the Rings" creature : ENT
Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth in his series of books "The Lord of the Rings". “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

29. Serving on a skewer : KEBAB
The name "kebab" (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use "kebab" when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer.

30. Bruce who played Dr. Watson : NIGEL
Nigel Bruce was a British actor, best known for playing Dr. Watson in the series of "Sherlock Holmes" films starring Basil Rathbone in the title role. Bruce also played an excellent supporting role in the Hitchcock film "Suspicion". Nigel Bruce lived in Los Angeles, and for years was the captain of the Hollywood Cricket Club. Other members of the club (that still exists today) included Ronald Coleman, Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, David Niven and Sherlock himself, Basil Rathbone.

40. *Tommy's game in the Who's rock opera "Tommy" : PINBALL
“Tommy” was the name given to the fourth album recorded by the British band, The Who. It was the original “rock opera” and was adapted for both the stage and screen, with both adaptations becoming huge successes. The title character has an uncanny ability to play pinball, giving rise to the hit song “Pinball Wizard”.

53. "Hägar the Horrible" dog : SNERT
Snert is the clever dog who belongs to Hägar the Horrible in the classic comic strip.

57. ___ Royale (cocktail) : KIR
Kir is a French cocktail, made by adding a teaspoon or so of creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) to a glass, and then topping it off with white wine. The drink is named after Felix Kir, the Mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who used to offer the drink to his guests. My wife (expensive tastes!) is particularly fond of a variant called a Kir Royale, in which the white wine is replaced with champagne.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "___ Poetica" : ARS
4. Alerts to cruisers, for short : APBS
8. Footlong sandwich maker : SUBWAY
14. Fraternity T : TAU
15. In fashion : CHIC
16. "Seinfeld" ex-girlfriend : ELAINE
17. *Sheriff's insignia, in old westerns : TIN BADGE
19. How to make money "the old-fashioned way" : EARN IT
20. Like trees during the spring : IN BUD
21. Privy to : IN ON
23. Shot from an air gun : BBS
24. Burns black : CHARS
25. L.B.J. or J.F.K., but not D.D.E. : DEM
26. Speak on the stump : ORATE
28. Old coll. entrance hurdle : SAT I
29. *Actor named in a "Six Degrees" game : KEVIN BACON
31. Hemingway novel title location : THE SEA
33. Oaxaca uncle : TIO
34. Piece next to a bishop: Abbr. : KNT
35. Word with sister and story : SOB
36. Some appliances, for short : GES
38. Alley-___ (hoops play) : OOP
41. "Nope, not interested" : NAH
43. Ironfisted ruler : DESPOT
46. *Tangy breakfast item : ONION BAGEL
49. Stock exchange debuts, briefly : IPOS
51. Author James : HENRY
52. Sounds from Santa : HOS
53. Surgically implanted tube : STENT
54. Org. found in the answer to each asterisked clue : NBA
55. Swiss river : AARE
56. Italian granny : NONNA
57. Supercute marsupials : KOALAS
59. *Packers' hometown : GREEN BAY
61. "Good enough for me" : IT’LL DO
62. "... happily ___ after" : EVER
63. Carbon-dating estimation : AGE
64. Have faith in : RELY ON
65. Shoulder muscle, for short : DELT
66. The "R" of Roy G. Biv : RED

Down
1. Where webs may accumulate : ATTICS
2. Galoshes go-with : RAIN HAT
3. *Tanning method : SUNBATH
4. Prep schools: Abbr. : ACADS
5. M.A. follow-up, maybe : PHD
6. Grandiose proposal : BIG IDEA
7. Part of many a Shakespearean act : SCENE V
8. Observed : SEEN
9. Suffix meaning "little one" : -ULA
10. Singer Streisand : BARBRA
11. *Recover, as lost love : WIN BACK
12. Jennifer of "Friends" : ANISTON
13. "Not ___" ("Be patient") : YET
18. Puts underground : BURIES
22. Neglect to mention : OMIT
26. Wind instruments : OBOES
27. "The Lord of the Rings" creature : ENT
29. Serving on a skewer : KEBAB
30. Bruce who played Dr. Watson : NIGEL
32. Bub : SONNY
37. Show disdain for, in a way : SPIT ON
38. "___-la-la!" : OOH
39. Lacking in variety : ONE-NOTE
40. *Tommy's game in the Who's rock opera "Tommy" : PINBALL
42. Response to a wisecrack : HA-HA!
43. Merit : DESERVE
44. *Feature of many a charity gala : OPEN BAR
45. Ship's carrying capacity : TONNAGE
47. How some temperatures - and tests - are taken : ORALLY
48. Stuffed : GORGED
50. Didn't go : STAYED
53. "Hägar the Horrible" dog : SNERT
55. "He's like ___ to me" : A SON
57. ___ Royale (cocktail) : KIR
58. Hubbub : ADO
60. Sinuous fish : EEL


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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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