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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

1225-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 25 Dec 13, Wednesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jacob Stulberg
THEME: Five Golden Rings … Merry Christmas, everyone! The circled letters in today’s grid are arranged in RINGS, and the letters in each RING spell out something that can be described as GOLDEN:
41A. One set of gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" ... as suggested by the shaded squares? : FIVE GOLDEN RINGS
- GOLDEN RULE
- GOLDEN MEAN
- GOLDEN SLUMBERS
- GOLDEN HORN
- GOLDEN GATE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 48s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Punched-out parts of paper ballots : CHADS
We are all familiar with "hanging chads" after the famous Florida election recounts of 2000. A chad is any piece of paper punched out from a larger sheet. So, those round bits of paper we've all dropped over the floor when emptying a hole punch, they're chads.

10. Writes as a postscript, say : ADDS
One adds a PS (post scriptum, or simply "postscript") at the end of a letter. A second postscript is a post post scriptum, a PPS.

14. Monsieur ___ (Jacques Tati role) : HULOT
Monsieur Hulot is a celebrated comedic character played by French actor Jacques Tati in several films in the fifties and sixties, including “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” (1953) and “Mon Oncle” (1959). Rowan Atkinson draws on the antics of Monsieur Hulot when he plays his “Mr. Bean”.

15. It's east of Europe : ASIA
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

17. Cara of "Fame" : IRENE
Irene Cara (as well as acting in "Fame") sang the theme songs to the hit movies "Fame" and "Flashdance".

22. Hullabaloo : UPROAR
Our word “hullabaloo” meaning a “commotion” is a derivative of an older term “hollo-ballo”. “Hollo-ballo” was a word used for an uproar in the north of England and Scotland.

25. Tea type : PEKOE
A pekoe (or more commonly, orange pekoe) is a medium-grade black tea.

30. Locale for an ibex : ALP
“Ibex” is a common name for various species of mountain goat. “Ibex” is a Latin name that was used for wild goats found in the Alps and Apennines in Europe.

36. "___ is not a lasting teacher of duty": Cicero : FEAR
Cicero was a very influential senator in Ancient Rome, in part due to his renowned ability to deliver a persuasive speech.

40. ___ vie : EAU DE
Eau de vie is a clear, colorless fruit brandy. “Eau de vie” is French for “water of life”.

41. One set of gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" ... as suggested by the shaded squares? : FIVE GOLDEN RINGS
The fabulous Christmas Carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

- GOLDEN RULE
The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

- GOLDEN MEAN
The golden ratio, sometimes called the “golden mean” and denoted by the Greek letter phi, is a mathematical constant that often turns up in the world of art. Phi is approximately equal to 1.61, and is represented by the two distances, a and b, where (a+b)/a = a/b. Somehow we perceive the ratio of 1.61 as "pleasing" so it appears in many works of art and in building design. For example, many aspects of the Parthenon in Athens have the ratio of 1.61 (width compared to height). Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man also illustrates the golden ratio in the proportions of the human body, where he shows that the distance from the foot to the navel, compared to the distance from the navel to the head, is 1.61.

- GOLDEN SLUMBERS
“Golden Slumbers” is one of two songs recorded as one track on the “Abbey Road” album released in 1969. The second part of the track is the song “Carry That Weight”. John Lennon’s voice was dubbed in after the main recording of “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight”. Lennon was in hospital for the original recording due to an auto accident.

- GOLDEN HORN
The Golden Horn is an inlet of the Bosphorus (aka the Istanbul Strait). The Golden Horn is a deep natural harbor that has been used for centuries to protect the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul).

- GOLDEN GATE
The Golden Gate is the opening of San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. The bridge that spans the Golden Gate is called “the Golden Gate Bridge” and was opened in 1937. At that time ot was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the most eerie things about the Golden Gate Bridge is that is the second most popular place in the whole world to commit suicide (after the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge). Steps have been taken to reduce the number of suicides, including suicide hotline telephones placed along the walkway, but still there is one suicide every two weeks on average throughout the year. There are plans to place a purpose-built net below the bridge as a deterrent, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

45. Ukraine and others, once: Abbr. : SSRS
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe that was a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the" Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say "Ukraine".

47. Rebellious region of the Caucasus : OSSETIA
Ossetia is a region that extends to both sides of the Caucasus Mountains located in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian.

49. Method: Abbr. : SYS
System (sys.)

51. Sellout sign : SRO
Standing Room Only (SRO)

52. Via ___ (main street of ancient Rome) : SACRA
The main street of Ancient Rome was known as the Via Sacra (“sacred road”). The Via Sacra ran from the top of Capitoline Hill to the Colosseum.

54. The Big Apple, for short : NYC
Apparently the first published use of the term "Big Apple" to describe New York City dates back to 1909. Edward Martin wrote the following in his book "The Wayfarer in New York":
"Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city. . . . It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap."
Over ten years later, the term “big apple” was used as a nickname for racetracks in and around New York City. However, the concerted effort to “brand” the city as the Big Apple had to wait until the seventies and was the work of the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau.

56. Second-highest peak in the Cascades : SHASTA
Only two volcanoes in the Cascade Range in the northwest have erupted in the 20th century: Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Lassen in 1915. The last significant eruption of Mount Shasta, a third volcano in the Cascades, was about 200 years ago

59. Sport not played officially in the Olympics since 1908 : LACROSSE
Even though lacrosse was dropped from the Olympics after the 1908 games, it is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity outside of North America.

70. Christmas tree decoration : ANGEL
The traditional decoration of a Christmas tree often includes a star or angel at its top. A star represents the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity story. An angel represents the angel Gabriel who appeared to the virgin Mary to foretell the birth of Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke.

72. Memory Stick manufacturer : SONY
Sony was founded by Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka. The two partners met in the Japanese Navy during WWII.

Down
1. X X X : CHIS
Both of the Greek letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

3. Sheltered, at sea : ALEE
"Alee" is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing "aweather".

5. ___ Artois (beer) : STELLA
The Belgian beer Stella Artois is named for the brewer Sebastianus Artois. Artois was the master brewer at the Den Horen Brewery in Leuven, Belgium in the early 1700s. The Den Horen Brewery has been around at least since 1366 … yes, 1366!

8. Backboard attachment : RIM
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!

9. Japanese dance-drama : KABUKI
Kabuki is a Japanese form of theater involving dance and drama. In the original Kabuki theater, both male and female parts were played by women. In contrast, the Noh dramas have the male and female parts played by men.

12. ___ Perino, George W. Bush's last press secretary : DANA
Dana Perino served as the White House Press Secretary from 2007 until 2009, working in the administration of President George W. Bush. Perino was the second woman to work as White House Press Secretary, with Dee Dee Myers having paved the way during the Clinton Administration.

13. Kool-Aid instruction : STIR
The drink we know today as Kool-Aid was invented by Edward Perkins and his wife, in Perkins’ mother’s kitchen in southwest Nebraska. Kool-Aid is now the Official Soft Drink of the state.

21. "___ Anything" (1994 Nick Nolte/Albert Brooks film) : I’LL DO
"I'll Do Anything" is a 1994 film starring Nick Nolte as a struggling actor who becomes the sole parent caring for his 6-year-old daughter.

29. Aa and pahoehoe : LAVAS
“Aa” is a Hawaiian term that is used to describe a type of lava flow. Aa is a flow with a rough surface made up of broken lava rocks.

“Pahoehoe” is a Hawaiian term for a type of lava flow. Pahoehoe is a smooth flow with an undulating or ropy surface.

31. Distant radiation source : PULSAR
A pulsar is a rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. As the beam is not emitted in all directions, it is only seen from Earth when at particular rotations, hence creating a cycle of pulsed gamma rays known as the lighthouse effect.

33. North African capital : TUNIS
Tunisia is the most northerly country in Africa. The country takes its name from the capital city of Tunis.

35. Sauce made with pine nuts : PESTO
The term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as “pesto” sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, pesto from Genoa in northern Italy.

39. E.R. figures : MDS
A Medical Doctor (MD) might be found in an Emergency Room (ER).

43. "This I Promise You" group, 2000 : ‘N SYNC
'N Sync was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded "in sync". But, it's also true that the letters of the name 'N Sync are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:
- Justin Timberlake
- Chris Kirkpatrick
- Joey Fatone
- Lance "Lansten" Bass
- JC Chasez

48. Hubristic flier of myth : ICARUS
Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

“Hubris” is arrogance or overbearing pride. The term is rooted in the Greek “hybris”, a term that originally was used to describe “presumption toward the gods”.

50. Ancient Mideast language : SYRIAC
Syriac is an Aramaic language that was spoken in across the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East fromt the 3rd to the 13th century. Syriac survives to this day as the liturgical language of some Eastern Christian churches.

56. Hardly the hoi polloi type : SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn't a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

"Hoi polloi" is a Greek term, literally meaning "the majority, the many". In English, "hoi polloi" has come to mean "the masses" and is often used in a derogatory sense.

58. Florence's river : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

The Italian city that we call “Florence” in English, is known as “Firenze” by the natives.

60. Humorist Rooney : ANDY
Andy Rooney began his career in newspapers during WWII working for "Stars and Stripes" in London. He had some memorable experiences during the war, including flying on the first American bombing raid over Germany. He was also one of the first American journalists to visit the German concentration camps as they were liberated. He started his segment called "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" on CBS's "60 Minutes" way back in 1978, and so was on our screens for over 40 years. Rooney passed away in 2011. He was a cool, cool guy ...

62. Typesetting direction : STET
"Stet" is a Latin word meaning "let it stand". In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word "stet" and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

63. Sushi fish : EELS
Sushi is a Japanese dish that has as its primary ingredient cooked, vinegared rice. The rice is usually topped with something, most often fish, and can be served in seaweed rolls. If you want raw fish by itself, then you have to order "sashimi".

66. Tour grp. : USO
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR "to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces". A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Punched-out parts of paper ballots : CHADS
6. It's difficult to see through : MURK
10. Writes as a postscript, say : ADDS
14. Monsieur ___ (Jacques Tati role) : HULOT
15. It's east of Europe : ASIA
16. Quite an achievement : FEAT
17. Cara of "Fame" : IRENE
18. Senseless : NUMB
19. Prefix with present : OMNI-
20. Stronger and harder : STEELIER
22. Hullabaloo : UPROAR
24. Common desk shape : ELL
25. Tea type : PEKOE
27. Barn ___ : OWL
30. Locale for an ibex : ALP
32. Error : MISSTEP
36. "___ is not a lasting teacher of duty": Cicero : FEAR
38. Senseless : DUMB
40. ___ vie : EAU DE
41. One set of gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" ... as suggested by the shaded squares? : FIVE GOLDEN RINGS
- GOLDEN RULE
- GOLDEN MEAN
- GOLDEN SLUMBERS
- GOLDEN HORN
- GOLDEN GATE
44. Hint : TRACE
45. Ukraine and others, once: Abbr. : SSRS
46. Nuts and fruit, in part, for squirrels : DIET
47. Rebellious region of the Caucasus : OSSETIA
49. Method: Abbr. : SYS
51. Sellout sign : SRO
52. Via ___ (main street of ancient Rome) : SACRA
54. The Big Apple, for short : NYC
56. Second-highest peak in the Cascades : SHASTA
59. Sport not played officially in the Olympics since 1908 : LACROSSE
64. "Me neither" : NOR I
65. Devastation : RUIN
67. Fuming : IRATE
68. "Yikes!" : OH NO!
69. Not new : USED
70. Christmas tree decoration : ANGEL
71. Godsend : BOON
72. Memory Stick manufacturer : SONY
73. Anatomical sacs : CYSTS

Down
1. X X X : CHIS
2. Offended : HURT
3. Sheltered, at sea : ALEE
4. Gift recipient : DONEE
5. ___ Artois (beer) : STELLA
6. Shock of hair : MANE
7. Seize : USURP
8. Backboard attachment : RIM
9. Japanese dance-drama : KABUKI
10. Raised above? : AFORESAID
11. Infomercial part : DEMO
12. ___ Perino, George W. Bush's last press secretary : DANA
13. Kool-Aid instruction : STIR
21. "___ Anything" (1994 Nick Nolte/Albert Brooks film) : I’LL DO
23. Baffling problem : POSER
26. Poker targets? : EMBERS
27. Leaving for : OFF TO
28. Small dams : WEIRS
29. Aa and pahoehoe : LAVAS
31. Distant radiation source : PULSAR
33. North African capital : TUNIS
34. Lawn tool : EDGER
35. Sauce made with pine nuts : PESTO
37. Downturn : RECESSION
39. E.R. figures : MDS
42. Suggest : GET AT
43. "This I Promise You" group, 2000 : NSYNC
48. Hubristic flier of myth : ICARUS
50. Ancient Mideast language : SYRIAC
53. Bizarre : ALIEN
55. Not subtle, as humor : CORNY
56. Hardly the hoi polloi type : SNOB
57. Syllables from Santa : HO HO!
58. Florence's river : ARNO
60. Humorist Rooney : ANDY
61. Downturns : SAGS
62. Typesetting direction : STET
63. Sushi fish : EELS
66. Tour grp. : USO


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6 comments :

Bart Berlin said...

A syndicated Merry Christmas to you. Regarding the "snob" clue: I lived in Oregon in the 80's and 90's. Oregon was getting lots of Californians moving in (even after Governor McCall, the 70's, said "Come visit, don't stay). SNOB came to stand for Society of Native Oregon Born.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Bart.

And best wishes for the syndicated New Year to you, you SNOB you! :)

Kelly Collins said...

I'm new to crosswording, and love your blog, but why is the bottom right box always in red?

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Kelly.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Your question about the shaded squares is a common one, and you can find the (boring!) answer here.

Anonymous said...

1. X X X : CHIS
Both of the Greek letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

What does *this* mean? X's are not crosses... and if such was intended, they should have used a different symbol altogether. In my view, this is yet another poorly edited clue. Lately the puzzles have been rife with them. I'm starting to get fed up...

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, anonymous visitor.

I think if you check the dictionary, you will find that a cross is defined as a symbol formed by two intersecting lines. Both "+" and "x" qualify as "crosses".

I hope that helps explain the clue.

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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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