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Greetings from Dromod, County Leitrim 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

1228-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Dec 13, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Frederick J. Healy
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: Did not finish!
ANSWERS I MISSED: Several in the very top-left

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

11. Port. title : SRTA
The Portuguese address for a young woman is Senhorita (Srta.).

16. Some GPS suggestions, informally : UIES
U-turns (Uies)

18. College figs. : GPAS
Grade point average (GPA)

19. It means little in the Lowlands : SMA
The Scots dialect word sma' means "small".

The Scottish Lowlands are that part of the country that is not classified as the Highlands. The Lowlands make up the south and east of Scotland.

21. Like floppy disks, e.g. : PASSE
“Passé” is a French word, meaning "past, faded".

I don’t think my kids really know what a floppy disk is. A floppy disk is made up of a thin and flexible magnetic material that can store data, enclosed in a protective case. I’ve used 8-inch floppies in my time, and many 5.25-inch floppy disks. I still have a desk top that will take 3.5-inch disks, although I don’t think there is a 3.5-inch floppy anywhere in the house.

22. Vino de ___ (Spanish wine designation) : PAGO
“Vino de Pago” is a classification of Spanish wine that has been in use since 2003. The term translates as “Vineyard Wine”, and is used by only the great wine growing estates in Spain. As of 2013, there are only 13 different Vino de Pagos.

23. Red shade : GARNET
Garnets are silicate minerals that comes in many colors. However, the color that we call “garnet” is a dark red.

24. Santa Ana wind source : MOJAVE
The Mojave Desert in the southwest is named for 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.

The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically "falls" down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

27. It may be up against the wall : STUCCO
Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

29. Bring out : EDUCE
“To educe” is to draw out, although the term can also have a similar meaning to deduce.

30. 1975 hit song about "tramps like us" : BORN TO RUN
“Born to Run” is a 1975 album released by Bruce Springsteen, the third of his career. “Born to Run” was to be Springsteen’s “breakout” album and really established him as popular artist.

33. Like Athena : WISE
The Greek goddess Athena is often associated with wisdom (among other attributes). In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today's perception of the owl as being "wise".

34. Sharon's predecessor : BARAK
Ehud Barak served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001. Barak left office after he called a special election for Prime Minister and lost the vote to Ariel Sharon. Barak resigned from the Knesset and took an advisory job with the US company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and did some security-related work with a private equity company. In 2007, Barak took over leadership of Israel's Labor Party and is now the country's Minister of Defense.

Ariel Sharon is a former Prime Minister of Israel. While still in office in 2005, Sharon suffered two debilitating strokes that left him in a permanent vegetative state from early 2006, a condition which persists to this day.

35. Fig. for I, O or U, but not A or E : AT NO
The atomic number of an element is also called the proton number, and is the number of protons found in the nucleus of each atom of the element.

Examples of elements in the Periodic Table are iodine (I), oxygen (O) and uranium (U).

36. It may be said while wearing a toga : LET’S PARTY
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a "stola".

39. Phoenix suburb larger than the Midwest city it's named for : PEORIA
Peoria is the oldest European settlement in the state of Illinois, having been settled by the French in 1680. The city is famous for being cited as “the average American city”. The phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” is used to mean, “Will it appeal to the mainstream?” It is believed the expression originated as a corruption of, “We shall play in Peoria”, a line used by some actors in the 1890 novel "Five Hundred Dollars" by Horatio Alger, Jr.

The city of Peoria in Arizona is a suburb of Phoenix, and was named for the Illinois city of the same name. The Peoria name came about when the Arizona Canal Company hired former Army officer William John Murphy to build a 41 mile-long canal in the area. Murphy was from Peoria, Illinois and he recruited people from his hometown to settle the area when the canal was completed. There are now more people living in Peoria, Arizona than there are in Peoria, Illinois.

41. Princess of ballet : ODETTE
"Swan Lake" is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Swan Lake” tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette's "evil twin". Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina.

44. Orders : FIATS
A "fiat" is an arbitrary rule that is imposed. “Fiat” is the Latin for "let it be done".

45. Key ring? : ATOLL
An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.

A "key" (also "cay") is a low island offshore, as in the Florida Keys. Our term in English comes from the Spanish "cayo" meaning "shoal, reef".

51. It's not drawn due to gravity : SMILEY FACE
One wouldn’t draw a smiley face to represent gravity, solemnity.

53. Co-star in the U.S. premiere of "Waiting for Godot," 1956 : LAHR
Bert Lahr's most famous role was that of the cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz". Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Lahr also starred in the first US production of Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot”, alongside Tom Ewell.

Down
2. One at the U.S. Mint? : UNUM
From 1776, "E pluribus unum" was the unofficial motto of the United States. “E pluribus unum” is Latin for “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated "In God We Trust" as the country's official motto.

3. Jonathan's wife in "Dracula" : MINA
Mina Harker is the protagonist in Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”.

"Dracula" is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn't the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can't stand vampire fiction …

4. A.L. East team, on sports tickers : BOS
The Boston Red Sox is one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so commands a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston's Fenway Park, the team's home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell out since May of 2003.

7. #1 spoken-word hit of 1964 : RINGO
“Ringo” was a song that topped the Easy Listening charts soon after it was released in 1964. The song was “sung” (actually spoken) by the actor Lorne Greene. Greene tells the story of a gunfighter named Ringo. Interestingly, the B-side of “Ringo” is the theme music from “Bonanza”, the TV show on which Lorne Greene starred. That version of the theme music came complete with lyrics that were never used on television.

8. "My Son Is a Splendid Driver" novelist, 1971 : INGE
"My Son Is a Splendid Driver" is one of only two novels written by playwright William Inge. Both novels are set in the fictional town of Freedom, Kansas (the other is "Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff"). "My Son Is a Splendid Driver" is based on Inge’s own experiences growing up in Kansas.

Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge's most celebrated work of that time was the play "Picnic", for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of "Picnic" included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman.

9. Castle of ___ (Hungarian tourist draw) : EGER
The Castle of Eger is located in the Hungarian city of Eger. The castle was instrumental in repelling Turkish forces during the Siege of Eger in 1552.

Eger is a city in the northeast of Hungary that is noted for its thermal baths and for its wine production. Back in Ireland, I used to drink a fair amount of “Bull’s Blood”, Hungary’s most famous red wine, which comes from the Eger wine region.

10. Old map abbr. : SSR
The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and was comprised of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

12. Dilly : RIPSNORTER
“Ripsnorter” is a slang term for a person or thing noted for strength or excellence, a “lulu”.

A “dilly” is something or someone that is excellent.

14. Listing on I.R.S. Form 8949 : ASSET
IRS Form 8949 was introduced in 2008 and is titled “Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets”.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

23. Engine buildup : GUNK
“Gunk” is a thick greasy substance. The original “Gunk” was a brand of thick liquid soap that was patented in 1932.

24. Sound like a baby : MEWL
To mewl is to cry weakly, like a baby, with the word being somewhat imitative.

25. Cartoon pooch : ODIE
Odie is Garfield's best friend and is a slobbery beagle, a character in Jim Davis’s “Garfield” comic strip.

26. Hunky-dory : JUST PEACHY
Surprisingly (to me), the term "hunky-dory" has been around a long time, and is documented back in the mid-1800s. No one is really sure of its origin, but some say it is an Anglicization of Honcho dori, that back in the day was a street of ill repute in Yokohama, Japan.

30. Port on the Adriatic : BARI
Bari is a major port city on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Bari has the unfortunate distinction of being the only city in Europe to experience chemical warfare during WWII. Allied stores of mustard gas were released during a German bombing raid on Bari in 1943. Fatalities caused by the chemical agent were reported as 69, although other reports list the number as maybe a thousand military personnel and a thousand civilians.

31. Like Bill Maher, notably : UN-PC
To be “un-PC” is to be politically incorrect.

Bill Maher is a stand-up comedian and political commentator. Maher has an HBO television show called “Real Time with Bill Maher” which is essentially a follow-on from the very successful “Politically Incorrect” that started out on Comedy Central.

42. Tunisian money : DINAR
The denarius (plural “denarii”) is a small silver coin that was used in Ancient Rome. Derived from the Latin “deni” meaning “containing ten”, a denarius had the value of ten asses. Today's "dinar" is a common coin in the Arab world and is named for the old Roman coin. The dinar name was chosen in the days when Arabs were conquering large swathes of the old Roman Empire.

43. ___ presto : MOLTO
“Molto presto” is an Italian term used in music to mean “very quickly”.

45. Devotional period? : AMEN
The word “amen” is translated as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is likely to be also influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

47. Twain's "celebrated jumping frog" : DAN’L
“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is a short story by Mark Twain, first published in 1865. It was this publication that launched Twain’s career as a writer as it brought him national attention. The title character is a frog that’s given the name “Dan’l Webster”.

49. "___ Bones G'wine Rise Again" (spiritual) : DESE
"Dese Bones G'wine Rise Again" is an American spiritual about Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden.

51. Important card source: Abbr. : SSA
The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues Social Security cards and numbers.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Gut-busting side : JUMBO FRIES
11. Port. title : SRTA
15. Alternative to 1-Across : ONION RINGS
16. Some GPS suggestions, informally : UIES
17. Shooting star? : GUNSLINGER
18. College figs. : GPAS
19. It means little in the Lowlands : SMA
20. Trimming gizmo : EDGER
21. Like floppy disks, e.g. : PASSE
22. Vino de ___ (Spanish wine designation) : PAGO
23. Red shade : GARNET
24. Santa Ana wind source : MOJAVE
27. It may be up against the wall : STUCCO
29. Bring out : EDUCE
30. 1975 hit song about "tramps like us" : BORN TO RUN
33. Like Athena : WISE
34. Sharon's predecessor : BARAK
35. Fig. for I, O or U, but not A or E : AT NO
36. It may be said while wearing a toga : LET’S PARTY
38. Manual series : STEPS
39. Phoenix suburb larger than the Midwest city it's named for : PEORIA
40. Break through : PIERCE
41. Princess of ballet : ODETTE
43. Like red bell peppers : MILD
44. Orders : FIATS
45. Key ring? : ATOLL
47. Scoutmaster, often : DAD
50. The moment that : ONCE
51. It's not drawn due to gravity : SMILEY FACE
53. Co-star in the U.S. premiere of "Waiting for Godot," 1956 : LAHR
54. Pride and joy : SENTIMENTS
55. Abstainers : DRYS
56. Question from a bully : ANYONE ELSE?

Down
1. Slight pushes : JOGS
2. One at the U.S. Mint? : UNUM
3. Jonathan's wife in "Dracula" : MINA
4. A.L. East team, on sports tickers : BOS
5. Like many pregnant women : ON LEAVE
6. Where to get a cold comfort? : FRIDGE
7. #1 spoken-word hit of 1964 : RINGO
8. "My Son Is a Splendid Driver" novelist, 1971 : INGE
9. Castle of ___ (Hungarian tourist draw) : EGER
10. Old map abbr. : SSR
11. Like some pills and lies : SUGAR-COATED
12. Dilly : RIPSNORTER
13. Bait : TEASE
14. Listing on I.R.S. Form 8949 : ASSET
21. Summit success : PACT
22. Front runners : PACESETTERS
23. Engine buildup : GUNK
24. Sound like a baby : MEWL
25. Cartoon pooch : ODIE
26. Hunky-dory : JUST PEACHY
27. Rather informal? : SORTA
28. Printer part : TRAY
30. Port on the Adriatic : BARI
31. Like Bill Maher, notably : UN-PC
32. Supporter of shades : NOSE
34. Unembellished : BARE
37. Stock to put stock in : POTS
38. Verbal alternative to a head slap : SILLY ME!
40. Go for a car-cramming record, say : PILE IN
41. Anciently : OF OLD
42. Tunisian money : DINAR
43. ___ presto : MOLTO
45. Devotional period? : AMEN
46. Insignificant : TINY
47. Twain's "celebrated jumping frog" : DAN’L
48. Talent show lineup : ACTS
49. "___ Bones G'wine Rise Again" (spiritual) : DESE
51. Important card source: Abbr. : SSA
52. Deterrent to lateness or cancellation : FEE


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3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Once again, a puzzle made unsolveable just by purposely misleading clues and poor editing. Shortz needs to GO!!!!

Lou Sander said...

Very hard. Had to look up many words. A real RIPSNORTER. ATNO was misleading, but my Love and I figured it out.

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Lou.

A ripsnorter indeed. I personally like to come up against a real doozy of a challenge every so often, and this qualified in that regard. As for the AT NO clue, a delightful misdirection, I thought.

I must be a masochist :)

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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.

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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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