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Greetings from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland

I am on vacation in Ireland, and have extended my stay until October 24th. I am focused on getting the puzzle solved and at least a basic post up each day. It's proving to be difficult to do much more than that due to pressure of time, which I am sure you can understand. Happy puzzling, and slainte!

Bill

1226-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Dec 13, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tim Croce
THEME: General Disarray … each of today’s themed answer contains an anagram of the word GENERAL i.e. "GENERAL" in DISARRAY:
17A. Many a Manhattan Project worker : NUCLEAR ENGINEER
28A. Growth on wet rocks or the surface of stagnant water : GREEN ALGAE
34A. What a coiled spring or charged battery has, in physics : POTENTIAL ENERGY
43A. Targeted area? : RIFLE RANGE

58A. Chaos ... or a hint to the contents of 17-, 28-, 34- and 43-Across : GENERAL DISARRAY
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 16m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Some tubers : IDAHOS
Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State due to the popularity of potatoes as a crop. Idaho produces almost one-third of all potatoes grown in the country.

15. Unqualified : ARRANT
"Arrant" means "out-and-out, complete", and is a variant of "errant".

16. Jamaican rum liqueur : TIA MARIA
Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur that was invented just after WWII in Jamaica, using Jamaica coffee beans. The name of course translates to "Aunt Maria".

17. Many a Manhattan Project worker : NUCLEAR ENGINEER
The Manhattan project was of course the joint US-Canada-UK project to develop an atomic bomb during WWII. Initially, the Army headquarters for the program was located on the 18th floor of a building on Broadway in New York City. Eventually, because of that first location, the project adopted the name “Manhattan”.

19. Search for, in a way : GOOGLE
The search engine "Google" was originally called "BackRub" would you believe? The name was eventually changed to Google, an intentional misspelling of the word "googol". A googol is a pretty big number, 10 to the power of 100. That would be the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

21. Brown shade : SIENNA
The shade of "sienna" was originally a pigment made from earth found around Siena in Tuscany.

24. Toward safety : ALEE
"Alee" is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing "aweather".

25. One on One: ___ vs. Larry Bird (old video game) : DR J
Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

Larry Bird played basketball for the Boston Celtics from 1978 to 1992. Bird has a lot of very loyal fans, and some might even be described as fanatical. In 2005 an Oklahoma City man was convicted of a crime involving a shooting. On being sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, the guilty man requested that the sentence be changed to 33 years so that it matched the number on Larry Bird's jersey. The judge obliged ...

31. Pre-Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, informally : IKES
The Eisenhower dollar was issued by the US Mint from 1971 to 1978. The obverse of the coin bears the profile of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Most of the Eisenhower dollars issued bear the insignia of the Apollo 11 moon landing on the reverse. A special 1967 Bicentennial design features the Liberty Bell and the moon on the reverse.

The Susan B. Anthony dollar was produced by the US mint from 1979 to 1981 and again in 1999. The obverse of the coin features the profile of civil rights activist Susan B. Anthony who played such a pivotal role in the introduction of women’s suffrage in the US. The use of Susan B. Anthony’s image marked the first time that a non-fictitious female had appeared on circulating US coinage.

33. Bygone Brazilian airline : VARIG
Varig was Brazil’s first airline. VARIG is an acronym standing for “Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense”.

42. Skinny : DOPE
The use of the word "skinny" meaning information, comes from WWII military slang for "the truth", probably a derivative of the expression "the naked truth" (and skinny-dipping).

Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a better might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.

49. Silents sex symbol : BARA
Theda Bara was a silent film star from Cincinnati, Ohio. Many cite Bara as the first movie sex symbol. She wore very revealing costumes in many of her films and she often played the femme fatale character. As such, Bara’s nickname was “the Vamp”.

62. Dubai-based airline : EMIRATES
Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East, and operates out of Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. Four of the Emirates non-stop commercial routes are the longest in the world, namely Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.

63. California's ___ National Forest : SIERRA
The Sierra National Forest is located on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.

64. Private dining area? : MESS TENT
"Mess" first came into English about 1300 and described the list of food needed for a meal, from the Old French word "mes" meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into "mess" meaning a jumbled mass of anything from the concept of "mixed food". At the same time, the original usage in the sense of a food for a meal surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a "mess" was a communal eating place.

65. Maxim : OLD SAW
A “saw” is an old saying, one that is often repeated and is very familiar. The term “old saw” is actually a tautology, as by definition a “saw” is “old”.

Down
1. Golfer Baker-Finch, winner of the 1991 British Open : IAN
Ian Baker-Finch is a professional golfer from Queensland, Australia. Baker-Finch is best known for winning the British Open in 1991.

3. Using the bow, in music : ARCO
“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

5. Old iPod Nano capacity : ONE GIG
In the world of computers, a "bit" is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A "byte" is a small collection of bits (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, so a gigabyte is 1,000,000,000 bytes.

The iPod Nano is the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There have been seven versions of the Nano to date and the current Nano as well as playing tunes is an FM player, records voice memos, has a pedometer and can connect with external devices (like a heart monitor, maybe) using Bluetooth technology.

8. End of a French film : FIN
“Fin” is the French word for “end”.

9. Auto necessities : TAGS
Automobile tags are license plates. The informal term “tag” is actually the name of the small sticker that is issued annually to indicated that vehicle registration is current.

12. Site of some piercings : AREOLA
An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” comes from Latin, meaning "small open space", and is a diminutive of the Latin word "area", meaning "open space".

13. Name on a property deed, maybe : LIENEE
A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone's property until a debt is paid.

14. Brobdingnagian : LARGE
Brobdingnag is one of the lands visited by the hero in Jonathan Swift’s novel “Gulliver’s Travels”. Brobdingnag is inhabited by giants, so we use the term “brobdingnagian” to mean “huge, enormous”.

18. Surrealist Magritte : RENE
Belgian artist René Magritte was a surrealist. His most recognized work maybe is "The Son of Man", a painting he created as a self-portrait. It is the work that shows a man in a bowler hat with his face covered by an apple. The image features prominently in the great movie, the 1999 remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair".

22. Silver Stater : NEVADAN
The official nickname of Nevada is the "Silver State". The unofficial nickname is the "Battle Born State". "Battle Born" is a reference to Nevada being awarded statehood during the American Civil War.

23. Fastidious to a fault : ANAL
Our use of the word “anal” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology.

26. 1929's "Street Girl" was its first official production : RKO
The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO acronym then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

"Street Girl" is a musical comedy/drama movie that was released in 1929 by RKO Radio Pictures. “"Street Girl" was the first official production for the studio, although it was released a few months after “Syncopation”, the studios second movie. The director and producers managed to film “Syncopation” is a little more quickly that "Street Girl".

27. Deep black : JET
The color “jet black” takes its name from the minor gemstone known as jet. The gemstone and the material it is made of takes its English name from the French name: “jaiet”.

29. "The Way I ___" (2007 Timbaland hit) : ARE
“Timbaland” is the stage name of rapper and record producer Timothy Zachery Mosley. Mosley was given the Timbaland nickname as a play on the Timberland brand of boot.

30. Architectural designer of New York's Museum for African Art : LIN
Maya Lin is a Chinese American born in Athens Ohio, and is an artist and architect. Her most famous work is the moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Lin was only 21-years-old when she won a public design competition in 1981 to create the memorial. Although her design is very fitting, sadly Lin was not a popular choice for the work given her Asian heritage. As she said herself, she probably would not have been picked had the competition been judged with the knowledge of who was behind each submission.

New York’s Museum for African Art is now known as the New Africa Center. The museum is temporarily closed in anticipation of a move to a new building on “Museum Mile” in Manhattan.

32. Vikings, e.g. : SEAFARERS
The Vikings were a Germanic people from northern Europe who were noted as great seafarers. Key to the success of the Vikings was the design of their famous “longships”. Made from wood, the longship was long and narrow with a shallow hull, It was also light, so that the crew would actually carry it small distances over land and around obstacles. Longships were designed to be propelled both by sail and by oars.

36. Nickname for a junior's junior : TRE
Trey (also “Tre”) is a common nickname for someone in a family who is of the third generation to have a particular name. For example, billionaire Bill Gates has the full name of William Henry Gates III and is known to many family members as “Trey”.

38. Cartoonist Chast : ROZ
Roz Chast had her first cartoon published in "The New Yorker" in 1978, and has had more than 800 published since then.

39. 1.0 is not a good one, in brief : GPA
Grade point average (GPA)

44. Many Shiites : IRANIS
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family.

45. Language of Pandora : NAVI
In the James Cameron epic “Avatar”, the “blue people” are the Na’vi, the indigenous species that lives on the lush moon called Pandora. The main Na’vi character featuring in the film is the female Neytiri. According to Cameron, Neytiri was inspired by the Raquel Welch character in the movie “Fantastic Voyage” and the comic book character Vampirella.

46. Richard ___, former chief of the N.Y.S.E. : GRASSO
Richard Grasso is a former chief of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), having held his post there from 1995 to 2003. Grasso’s name became quite prominent outside of Wall Street in the wake of the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks. He has been praised for the role that he played in bring the NYSE back into operation after that terrible day.

47. Continental pass name : EURAIL
In my days as a student, the way to backpack around Europe was using a Europass. Nowadays that is known as a Eurail pass. The Eurail pass gives you access to most trains (and some shipping lines) right across the continent.

49. Embellish, in a way : BEGEM
“To begem” is to adorn with gems.

51. Like chestnuts : TIRED
An "old chestnut" is a joke that is "well worn". The origin of the expression is very specific. It dates back to a play by William Diamond, first produced in 1816. In the story, one of the characters keeps telling the same joke over and over, with minor variations. The joke is about a cork tree, and an exasperated listener after hearing the joke one time too many refutes the use of the cork tree saying, "A Chestnut. I have heard you tell the joke 27 times and I'm sure it was a Chestnut!"

57. "The poet in my heart," per a Fleetwood Mac song : SARA
Fleetwood Mac was founded in 1967 in London. The band was started by Peter Green, and he chose the name from two friends in former bands (named Fleetwood and McVie). This is despite the fact the drummer’s name happens to be Mick Fleetwood.

59. Sports anchor Berman : LEN
Len Berman is a former sports journalist on WNBC, NBC’s flagship station located in New York City.

60. 48 U.S. states observe it: Abbr. : DST
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as "summer time". The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring and backwards in the fall so that afternoons have more daylight.

61. Ship's departure? : YAW
The word “yaw” means to deviate from the line of a course and is used mainly at sea. “Yaw” is derived from the Old Norse word “jaege” which means “to drive, chase”. As such, “yaw” is etymologically related to our word “yacht”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Some tubers : IDAHOS
7. Anyway : AFTER ALL
15. Unqualified : ARRANT
16. Jamaican rum liqueur : TIA MARIA
17. Many a Manhattan Project worker : NUCLEAR ENGINEER
19. Search for, in a way : GOOGLE
20. Undiluted : STRONG
21. Brown shade : SIENNA
24. Toward safety : ALEE
25. One on One: ___ vs. Larry Bird (old video game) : DR J
28. Growth on wet rocks or the surface of stagnant water : GREEN ALGAE
31. Pre-Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, informally : IKES
33. Bygone Brazilian airline : VARIG
34. What a coiled spring or charged battery has, in physics : POTENTIAL ENERGY
41. Public, as dirty laundry : AIRED
42. Skinny : DOPE
43. Targeted area? : RIFLE RANGE
48. Hit with an electric bolt : ZAP
49. Silents sex symbol : BARA
50. Bogged down : IN A RUT
52. Animated greetings : E-CARDS
55. Oscillates : VARIES
58. Chaos ... or a hint to the contents of 17-, 28-, 34- and 43-Across : GENERAL DISARRAY
62. Dubai-based airline : EMIRATES
63. California's ___ National Forest : SIERRA
64. Private dining area? : MESS TENT
65. Maxim : OLD SAW

Down
1. Golfer Baker-Finch, winner of the 1991 British Open : IAN
2. Sedate, say : DRUG
3. Using the bow, in music : ARCO
4. Purity rings? : HALOS
5. Old iPod Nano capacity : ONE GIG
6. More rough around the edges, perhaps : STALER
7. Partook of : ATE
8. End of a French film : FIN
9. Auto necessities : TAGS
10. Discharge : EMIT
11. Completely tuckered out : RAN RAGGED
12. Site of some piercings : AREOLA
13. Name on a property deed, maybe : LIENEE
14. Brobdingnagian : LARGE
18. Surrealist Magritte : RENE
22. Silver Stater : NEVADAN
23. Fastidious to a fault : ANAL
25. Skinny-___ : DIP
26. 1929's "Street Girl" was its first official production : RKO
27. Deep black : JET
29. "The Way I ___" (2007 Timbaland hit) : ARE
30. Architectural designer of New York's Museum for African Art : LIN
32. Vikings, e.g. : SEAFARERS
35. Zip : NIL
36. Nickname for a junior's junior : TRE
37. Yesterday: It. : IERI
38. Cartoonist Chast : ROZ
39. 1.0 is not a good one, in brief : GPA
40. "You betcha!" : YEP!
43. Flower cluster on a single stem, as in the honey locust : RACEME
44. Many Shiites : IRANIS
45. Language of Pandora : NAVI
46. Richard ___, former chief of the N.Y.S.E. : GRASSO
47. Continental pass name : EURAIL
49. Embellish, in a way : BEGEM
51. Like chestnuts : TIRED
53. Alternative to hell? : DRAT
54. Be plenty good for : SATE
56. Slips : ERRS
57. "The poet in my heart," per a Fleetwood Mac song : SARA
59. Sports anchor Berman : LEN
60. 48 U.S. states observe it: Abbr. : DST
61. Ship's departure? : YAW


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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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