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Greetings from Mammoth Lakes, California

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 probably the last hike of our trip this morning (strenuous, past beautiful alpine lakes), and then opted for vegging out by the pool for a change this afternoon. Almost home ...

Bill

1230-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 30 Dec 13, Monday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: Vowel Progression … each of today’s themed answers start with a word of the form P-NT, with the second letter progressing through the vowels going from teh top of the grid to the bottom:
18A. In some common women's office attire : PANT-SUITED
24A. What may lead to an emotional explosion : PENT-UP ANGER
36A. Half-quart container : PINT MEASURE
51A. Creamy French cheese : PONT L'EVEQUE
59A. Gridiron runback : PUNT RETURN
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 43s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Pasta often baked with tomato sauce : ZITI
Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends.

14. Birthright seller in the Bible : ESAU
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins "the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)". As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father's wealth (it was his "birthright"). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a "mess of pottage" (a meal of lentils).

16. U.C.L.A. athlete : BRUIN
The UCLA Bruins mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be "mean" Bruin mascots but they weren't very popular with the fans, so now there are only "happy" Bruin mascots at the games.

17. ___ of one's existence : BANE
Today we tend to use the word “bane” to mean an anathema, a source of persistent annoyance. A few centuries ago, a bane was a cause of harm or death, perhaps a deadly poison.

22. Lexicographer Webster : NOAH
Not only is Noah Webster's name inextricably linked with his series of dictionaries, but he is also renowned as an advocate for English spelling reform. He argued that "traditional" English is hard to learn, and that it should be simplified and standardized. He published spelling books that were used in schools, and from edition to edition he changed the spelling of words in order to simplify the language. Examples are the use of "s" over "c" in words like "defense" (In Ireland we have defence and defense depending on usage), "-re" became "-er" as in center instead of centre (reversing the influence of French), and he dropped one of the Ls in words like traveler (I learned "traveller"). Mind you, he also spelled "tongue" as "tung", but he didn't get very far with that one.

23. Good name for a garage mechanic? : OTTO
Otto would be a good name for a car mechanic because “Otto” sounds like “auto”.

27. Command opposite to "gee" : HAW
"Haw!" is a command given to a trained animal that is hauling something (like a horse or an ox). "Haw!" is used to instruct the animal to turn to the left. The equivalent command for a right turn is "Gee!" Just to confuse things, the same commands are used in the British Isles but with the opposite meanings. That must be pretty unsettling for jet-setting plow horses ...

28. Blood component : PLASMA
Plasma (sometimes “plasm”) is the clear, yellow-colored liquid component of blood and lymph in which cells are suspended.

35. NW Indiana city : GARY
The city of Gary, Indiana is located just 25 miles from downtown Chicago and falls within the Chicago metropolitan area (also known as “Chicagoland”). Gary was founded by US Steel in 1906, as the company selected it as the site for a new steel plant. The name was chose in honor of Elbert H. Gary who was the key player in setting up US Steel in 1901.

41. L. Frank Baum princess : OZMA
L. Frank Baum wrote a whole series of books about the Land of Oz, and Princess Ozma appears in all of them except the one that's most famous, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".

L. Frank Baum (the “L” is for Lyman) was of course famous for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Writing early in the 20th century, Baum actually described in his books things that had yet to be invented, like television, laptop computers and wireless telephones.

44. Gentlemen: Abbr. : MESSRS
The abbreviation “Messrs.” is used at the head of a list of male names, in place of “Misters”. It is an abbreviation of the French “messieurs”, the plural of “monsieur”.

51. Creamy French cheese : PONT-L'EVEQUE
Pont-l'Évêque cheese is named for the commune of Pont-l'Évêque in Normandy in northern France, where it was originally produced. Pont-l'Évêque is one of the most popular cheeses in France, alongside Brie, Camembert and Roquefort.

55. Trac II successor : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword setters, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

Gillette introduced the Trac II in 1971, the world's first twin-blade razor.

57. ___ Bora (former Taliban stronghold) : TORA
The famous cave that almost certainly housed Osama Bin Laden for a while was in Tora Bora in eastern Pakistan. Tora Bora is not far (~ 30 mi) from what used to be an even more famous spot, the Khyber Pass. "Tora Bora" is a Pashto name which translates to "black dust".

58. Dutch-speaking isle in the Caribbean : ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands. The ABC Islands is the nickname given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

59. Gridiron runback : PUNT RETURN
We never used the word "gridiron" when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

64. "Green-eyed monster" : ENVY
William Shakespeare was one of the first to associate the color green with envy. He called jealousy the "green-eyed monster" in his play "Othello".

65. Villa d'___ : ESTE
The Villa d'Este is a beautiful Renaissance villa situated close to Tivoli near Rome, Italy.

67. Card game played without twos through sixes : SKAT
When I was a teenager in Ireland, I had a friend with a German father. The father taught us the game of Skat, and what a great game it is. Skat originated in Germany in the 1800s and is to this day the most popular game in the country. I haven't played it in decades, but would love to play it again ...

Down
2. Novelist Allende : ISABEL
Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer, apparently the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author. Isabel is related to Salvador Allende, the ex-President of Chile.

6. Classic toothpaste brand : IPANA
Ipana toothpaste was introduced in 1915 and was at the height of its popularity in the forties and fifties. Sales declined in the sixties and the product was withdrawn from the US market in the seventies. Bucky the Beaver was the "spokesman" for Ipana. Bucky the Beaver's slogan was "Brusha... Brusha... Brusha. Get the New Ipana - it's dandy for your teeth!"

7. Carpentry piece inserted into a mortise : TENON
One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon, basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. The mortise is the "hole" and the tenon is the "projection".

9. ___ Dhabi : ABU
Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

10. Verve : BRIO
“Brio” is borrowed from Italian, in which language it means vigor and vivacity. "Con brio" is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing the musicians to play "with energy, vigor".

19. Generic collie name : SHEP
The collie isn’t actually a breed of dog, but rather the name given to a group of herding dogs that originate in Scotland and Northern England. An obvious (and wonderful) example would be the Border Collie. Many dogs classed as collies don’t have the word “collie” in the name of the breed, for example the Old English Sheepdog and the Shetland Sheepdog.

26. Pasta sauce brand : RAGU
The Ragu brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name " Ragù" is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is "Ragù" with a grave accent over the "u", but if you look at a jar of the Unilever sauce, it is spelled "Ragú" on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don't try ...

30. Score between a birdie and a bogey : PAR
Apparently the term "birdie" originated in 1899 at the Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield, New Jersey. A golfer hit his second shot on a par four that stopped inches from the cup after hitting a bird in flight. The golfer tapped the ball in for one-under-par, and his golfing buddies labeled the second shot a "bird". The golfers started to call one-under-par a birdie, and the term spread through the club, and from there around the world ...

The term "Bogey" originated at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England in 1890, and was used to indicate a total round that was one over par (and not one over par on a particular hole, as it is today). The name Bogey came from a music hall song of the time "Here Comes the Bogey Man". In the following years it became popular for players trying to stay at par to be "playing against Colonel Bogey". Then, during WWI, the marching tune "Colonel Bogey" was written and named after the golfing term. If you don't recognize the name of the tune, it's the one that's whistled by the soldiers marching in the great movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai".

32. Comedian Philips : EMO
Emo Philips is a stand-up comedian from Chicago. He's had a long and successful career, and listed on his resume is a small acting part in the 1992 hit movie "Meet the Parents" starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. Philips was also the executive producer for that very same film, so, I'd say he made a few pennies ...

33. Hat with a tassel : FEZ
"Fez" is the name given to the red cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. The fez used to be a very popular hat across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of "fez" is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

34. "Uncle ___ wants you" : SAM
The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the code word "Samland" for "America" in intelligence communiques.

38. ___ tide : NEAP
Tides of course are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon's effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon's gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

42. Daytime drama, informally : SOAPER
As almost everyone knows, the original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at housewives working in the home. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that's how the "soap" opera got its name ...

43. Schlep : TOTE
Our word “schlep” means “carry, drag”. As one might expect, “schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

45. Actress Mendes : EVA
I best know the actress Eva Mendes as the female lead in the movie "Hitch", opposite Will Smith. Mendes was known off the screen for dating actor Ryan Gosling from 2011 to 2013.

48. Fluctuation of musical tempo : RUBATO
"Tempo rubato" is a musical instruction encouraging the conductor or soloist to speed up and slow the tempo at his or her own discretion. Often singers and musicians vary the tempo anyway, giving the piece of music their own "imprint".

52. Memoranda : NOTES
“Memorandum” means "thing to be remembered" in Latin, from the verb "memorare" meaning "to call to mind".

54. Caterpillar stage, for example : LARVA
The larva is an intermediate stage in the development of an insect. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago.

56. Classic record label : ATCO
Atco Records is an American record label founded in 1955, taking its name from the parent company, Atlantic Corporation.

60. N.F.L. linemen: Abbr. : RTS
In American football, linemen specialize in playing in the line of scrimmage. RT stands for Right Tackle. That's about all I know, and even that I am unsure about ...

61. W.S.J. rival : NYT
"The New York Times" has been published since 1851. These days a viable alternative to buying the paper is to read the news online. NYTimes.com is the most popular online newspaper website in the country, and I'm proud to be one of the 30 million visitors to the site each month.

“The Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) is a daily newspaper with a business bent that is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company. The WSJ has a larger US circulation than any other newspaper, with “USA Today” coming in second place.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Bird's "arm" : WING
5. Pasta often baked with tomato sauce : ZITI
9. Place to live : ABODE
14. Birthright seller in the Bible : ESAU
15. Mimicked : APED
16. U.C.L.A. athlete : BRUIN
17. ___ of one's existence : BANE
18. In some common women's office attire : PANT-SUITED
20. Embarrass : ABASH
22. Lexicographer Webster : NOAH
23. Good name for a garage mechanic? : OTTO
24. What may lead to an emotional explosion : PENT-UP ANGER
27. Command opposite to "gee" : HAW
28. Blood component : PLASMA
29. News, Post, Tribune, etc. : PAPERS
31. Basketball officials, informally : REFS
35. NW Indiana city : GARY
36. Half-quart container : PINT MEASURE
40. Sit for a painting, say : POSE
41. L. Frank Baum princess : OZMA
42. "Like I care!" : SO WHAT!
44. Gentlemen: Abbr. : MESSRS
50. Unlock, in poetry : OPE
51. Creamy French cheese : PONT-L'EVEQUE
55. Trac II successor : ATRA
57. ___ Bora (former Taliban stronghold) : TORA
58. Dutch-speaking isle in the Caribbean : ARUBA
59. Gridiron runback : PUNT RETURN
62. Lab container : VIAL
63. Pass, as a law : ENACT
64. "Green-eyed monster" : ENVY
65. Villa d'___ : ESTE
66. Seized vehicles : REPOS
67. Card game played without twos through sixes : SKAT
68. Protected, as horses' hooves : SHOD

Down
1. Google Calendar, e.g., informally : WEB APP
2. Novelist Allende : ISABEL
3. Refrain syllables : NA NA NA
4. Whom hosts host : GUESTS
5. Electrocute : ZAP
6. Classic toothpaste brand : IPANA
7. Carpentry piece inserted into a mortise : TENON
8. Dog collar add-on : ID TAG
9. ___ Dhabi : ABU
10. Verve : BRIO
11. Highly unconventional : OUT THERE
12. Related to food intake : DIETARY
13. Provides money for, as a scholarship : ENDOWS
19. Generic collie name : SHEP
21. Beehive sound : HUM
25. Role : PART
26. Pasta sauce brand : RAGU
30. Score between a birdie and a bogey : PAR
32. Comedian Philips : EMO
33. Hat with a tassel : FEZ
34. "Uncle ___ wants you" : SAM
36. Afternoon office pick-me-up : POWER NAP
37. Ending like -like : -ISH
38. ___ tide : NEAP
39. Identical : SAME
40. Candidate for the Top 40 : POP TUNE
42. Daytime drama, informally : SOAPER
43. Schlep : TOTE
45. Actress Mendes : EVA
46. Starts of tennis rallies : SERVES
47. Step on, as a bug : SQUISH
48. Fluctuation of musical tempo : RUBATO
49. Like an envelope that's ready to be mailed : SEALED
52. Memoranda : NOTES
53. Front of an elephant or back of a car : TRUNK
54. Caterpillar stage, for example : LARVA
56. Classic record label : ATCO
60. N.F.L. linemen: Abbr. : RTS
61. W.S.J. rival : NYT


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2 comments :

TAM said...

I think you could comment, at least from time to time on clearly sub-par answers, or just obviously bad ones, like 42D, SOAPER. No one that I've ever known or heard of or read has ever called a TV "soap" a "soaper."

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Tam.

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

I understand what you mean. I am sure that neither Mr. Steinberg nor Mr. Shotz was happy with an answer like SOAPER, but it's legal as it's in the dictionary. I could criticize the decision not to rework the grid, a grid that I am sure was reworked several times anyway. But I prefer to accept the lesson that SOAPER is an informal term sometimes used for "soap opera", and leave it at that. My guess is that it was a compromise made to give us a vowel progression in 4-letter series, which is not something I can remember seeing before.

I tend to be "glass half full" when it comes to crosswords, and focus on the postive. But, that's just me :)

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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.

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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