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1231-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Dec 13, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tracy Gray
THEME: Confused Elgar in the End … today’s themed answers all end with an anagram of ELGAR:
17A. Being extravagant and self-indulgent : LIVING LARGE
24A. "Ragged Dick" author : HORATIO ALGER
37A. Illumination in "The Star-Spangled Banner" : ROCKET’S RED GLARE
47A. All-malt beer : PREMIUM LAGER
58A. Scotch whisky brand : CHIVAS REGAL
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Insurance giant with a duck in its ads : AFLAC
In 1999 Aflac was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn't a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency's art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with "Aflac", and that duck has been "Aflacking" ever since ...

11. Food preservative, for short : BHT
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a food additive that is allowed in our food. BHT is an antioxidant.

14. Pack animal : LLAMA
The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.

15. Eagle's nest : AERIE
An aerie is the nest of an eagle, and is also known as an “eyrie”.

16. Big name in jeans : LEE
The Lee company famous for making jeans was formed in 1889, by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

19. Comfort ___ : INN
The Comfort Inn chain is part of Choice Hotels International. I stay in Comfort Suites every so often. Not bad for the price ...

20. Place to relax : SPA
The word "spa" migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name "Spa" comes from the Walloon word "espa" meaning "spring, fountain".

22. North American finch : JUNCO
The Junco is a small bird found in North American coniferous forests.

24. "Ragged Dick" author : HORATIO ALGER
Horatio Alger was an American writer of the late nineteenth century. Alger was a prolific writer of novels for young people and creates tales of poor children making it good in the world, achieving the American dream as it were.

27. Site of Kubla Khan's "pleasure dome" : XANADU
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my wife's favorite poem. Coleridge wrote his masterpiece one night in 1797 after a vivid dream heavily influenced by opium.

30. ___ terrier : SKYE
The Skye terrier is a breed of dog that is actually under threat of extinction. A few years ago there were only 30 Skye terriers born in the breed's native land of the UK.

32. Barbershop symbol : POLE
Barbers originally offered a wide range of services, including surgery. Back in the Middle Ages, one of the primary services offered was bloodletting. The red and white sign outside a barber’s place of business represented bloody bandages wrapped around a pole. Henry VIII restricted barbers to just haircutting … and dentistry. Our term “barber” comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin “barba” meaning “beard”.

34. Pocket watch accessory : FOB
A fob is attached to another object to make access to it easier. And so a key fob is a chain attached to a key so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also watch fobs, of course.

37. Illumination in "The Star-Spangled Banner" : ROCKET’S RED GLARE
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there
are lines from “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written first as a poem by Francis Scott Key, inspired by the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry that he witnessed during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called "The Anacreontic Song", with the Anacreontic Society being a men's club in London.

41. Adam's ___ (water) : ALE
I suppose water was all that Adam had available to him to drink, so that's how the expression Adam's ale arose (I am guessing ... can't find anything definitive anywhere). It makes a nice juxtaposition with "the demon drink"!

42. Gorgons : HAGS
The Gorgons were feared female creatures of Greek mythology. They were three sisters who had hair made up of living snakes. Anyone who looked on their faces would be turned to stone instantly.

43. One of Spain's Balearics : IBIZA
The Pine Islands is an autonomous community of Spain in the Mediterranean with two main islands, Ibiza and Formentera. Ibiza has for some decades been a pretty wild tourist destination for European tourists as it is noted for its frantic nightlife, although recently attempts have been made to calm things down and develop a more family-oriented vacation destination. Formentera is a less accessible island and is a quieter spot that is renowned for its nude beaches.

The Balearic Islands form an archipelago in the western Mediterranean of the east coast of Spain. The Balearics are made up up four main islands: Ibiza and Formentera (aka “the Pine Islands”), Majorca and Minorca.

44. "Survivor" immunity token : IDOL
The reality show "Survivor" is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called "Expedition Robinson".

46. King Arthur's resting place : AVALON
Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legends. The name Avalon probably comes from the word "afal", the Welsh word for "apple", reflecting the fact that the island was noted for its beautiful apples. Avalon is where King Arthur's famous sword (Excalibur) was forged, and supposedly where Arthur was buried.

47. All-malt beer : PREMIUM LAGER
Lager is so called because of the tradition of cold-storing the beer during fermentation. "Lager" is the German word for "storage".

52. Jeweler's eyepiece : LOUPE
A loupe is a little magnifying lens that is held in the hand. “Loupe” is the French name for such a device.

54. Terrier's bark : ARF!
Most terrier breeds of dog originated in the British Isles. Terriers were developed as working dogs, with the job of controlling populations of rats, rabbits and foxes by rooting them out above and below the ground. The name “terrier” comes via Middle French from the the Latin “terra” meaning “earth”, a reflection of the breeds habit of burrowing into the earth looking for its prey.

58. Scotch whisky brand : CHIVAS REGAL
Chivas Regal is a blended Scotch whisky that is produced by Chivas Brothers, a company that was established in 1801. The Chivas Regal blend was first created in the early 1900s and was produced specifically for the US market.

63. "Raw" or "burnt" color : UMBER
Umber is an earthy, brown shade, and originally described a pigment made from earth found in Umbria, the region in central Italy. Similarly, the shade of "sienna" was originally a pigment made from earth found around Siena in Tuscany.

65. Lombard Street feature : ESS
Lombard Street in San Francisco is noted worldwide for a one-block section on Russian Hill that has eight ridiculously tight hairpin turns. That one-block section has a whipping 27% grade. The San Francisco Street is named for Lombard Street in Philadelphia.

66. "The Wrestler" actress Marisa : TOMEI
Marisa Tomei's first screen role was in "As the World Turns", but her break came with a recurring role in "The Cosby Show" spinoff, "A Different World". Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in "My Cousin Vinny" in 1992.

"The Wrestler" is a really hard and gritty movie from 2008, a comeback film for actor Mickey Rourke. Rourke stars as an over-the-hill professional wrestler, with Marisa Tomei playing a faded stripper, the love interest. The film received really strong reviews, but I found it to be a tough movie to sit through.

Down
2. 1960s hairstyle : FLIP
The flip hairstyle was popular on women in the sixties, and was characterized by an upward curl in the ends of the hair (a “flip”).

4. Bordeaux buddy : AMI
A male friend in France is "un ami", and a female friend is "une amie".

Bordeaux is perhaps the wine producing capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the German's took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.

5. Be lovey-dovey : CANOODLE
“To canoodle” is to indulge in caresses and kisses.

6. Valletta is its capital : MALTA
The island state of Malta is relatively small, but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta's strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

Valletta is the capital city of the island state of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. The city is named in honor of Jean Parisot de Valette, a French nobleman who commanded the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565.

7. It's not used to make matzo : YEAST
Matzo is a unleavened bread, that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.

9. 2008 U.S. govt. bailout recipient : AIG
AIG is the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation (or I should say, "was"). After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I'd say ...

10. Record spinner : DEEJAY
The world's first radio disk jockey was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his first broadcast in 1909, would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, he started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.

11. Fancy gold jewelry, e.g. : BLING
Bling-bling is the name given to all the shiny stuff sported by rap stars in particular i.e. the jewelry, watches, metallic cell phones, even gold caps on the teeth. The term comes from the supposed “bling” sound caused by light striking a shiny metal surface.

12. Ergo : HENCE
"Ergo" is the Latin word for "hence, therefore".

13. Opera's Mario Lanza, for one : TENOR
Mario Lanza was a classical tenor and Hollywood actor from Philadelphia who had a very successful, but very short career. Lanza’s most famous movie performance was playing Enrico Caruso in the 1951 biopic “The Great Caruso”. Lanza struggled with overeating and alcohol abuse, and died in 1959 at only 38 years of age.

18. Expert : GURU
“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

25. Archipelago parts : ISLES
“Archipelago” is a name often used for a group or chain of islands. “Archipelago” is our spelling of the Italian “arcipelago”, a word that has Greek roots. “Arcipelago” was the proper name for the Aegean Sea in Greek, a word that was eventually used for the Aegean Islands.

28. Barracks no-show : AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) are concerned with personnel who go AWOL (Absent Without Leave).

32. "The Lord is my shepherd ...," e.g. : PSALM
Psalm 23 starts out with:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

35. Rice-shaped pasta : ORZO
Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, "orzo" is the Italian word for "barley".

36. Noggin : BEAN
A slang term for a “head” might be “bean” or “noggin”.

38. G : THOU
“G” and “thou” are slang terms used for a “thousand”.

44. Jackanapes : IMP
A”jackanapes” is an impudent person or an impish child. The term originated with William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The Duke was a bit of an upstart, a member of the nouveau riche who rose into noble ranks from the merchant class. The de la Pole family had a collar and chain on its coat of arms, a symbol that was associated with monkey leashes in those days. As a result, the Duke was given the derisive name of Jack of Naples, a slang term for a monkey at that time, and this was shortened to “Jackanapes”.

45. Like most jigsaw puzzles : DIE-CUT
The original jigsaw puzzles were created by painting a picture on a sheet of wood and then cutting the picture into small pieces using a jigsaw, hence the name. Today, almost all jigsaw puzzles are pictures glued onto cardboard. The puzzle pieces are then die-cut, and there’s no jigsaw involved at all.

46. I.R.S. employees: Abbr. : AGTS
Agent (agt.)

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.

49. Continental cash : EUROS
The European Union (EU) today stands at a membership of 27 states. The Euro is the official currency of only 16 of the 27. The list of states in the EU that don't use the Euro includes the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

50. Flood barrier : LEVEE
A levee is an artificial bank usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. A levee is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. "Levée" is the French word for "raised" and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

51. Creator of the game Missile Command : ATARI
“Missile Command” is a fun arcade game that was introduced by Atari in 1980. Playing the game involves protecting six cities that are being attacked by ballistic missiles. The original game’s design featured six cities in California: Eureka, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego.

54. Petri dish gel : AGAR
Julius Richard Petri was a German bacteriologist and was the man after whom the Petri dish is named. The petri dish can have an agar gel on the bottom which acts a nutrient source for the specimen being grown and studied, in which case the dish plus agar is referred to as an "agar plate".

59. Managed care plan, for short : HMO
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

60. Co. with the motto "Think" : IBM
IBM was founded as the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. The company changed its name to the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) in 1911 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. The name of International Business Machines (IBM) was given first to the company's Canadian subsidiary, and then its South American subsidiary. In 1924, it was decided to adopt the International Business Machines name for the whole company. Good choice ...

61. Australia's national bird : EMU
The official symbol of Australia is a coat of arms that features a kangaroo and an emu, the country’s national animal and national bird.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Insurance giant with a duck in its ads : AFLAC
6. "I messed up!" : MY BAD!
11. Food preservative, for short : BHT
14. Pack animal : LLAMA
15. Eagle's nest : AERIE
16. Big name in jeans : LEE
17. Being extravagant and self-indulgent : LIVING LARGE
19. Comfort ___ : INN
20. Place to relax : SPA
21. Baseball count : OUTS
22. North American finch : JUNCO
24. "Ragged Dick" author : HORATIO ALGER
27. Site of Kubla Khan's "pleasure dome" : XANADU
30. ___ terrier : SKYE
31. Pirouette : TWIRL
32. Barbershop symbol : POLE
34. Pocket watch accessory : FOB
37. Illumination in "The Star-Spangled Banner" : ROCKET’S RED GLARE
41. Adam's ___ (water) : ALE
42. Gorgons : HAGS
43. One of Spain's Balearics : IBIZA
44. "Survivor" immunity token : IDOL
46. King Arthur's resting place : AVALON
47. All-malt beer : PREMIUM LAGER
52. Jeweler's eyepiece : LOUPE
53. Feminine name suffix : -ETTA
54. Terrier's bark : ARF!
57. Cause of inflation? : AIR
58. Scotch whisky brand : CHIVAS REGAL
62. Mop & ___ (floor cleaner) : GLO
63. "Raw" or "burnt" color : UMBER
64. It's moving at the movies : IMAGE
65. Lombard Street feature : ESS
66. "The Wrestler" actress Marisa : TOMEI
67. Blender setting : PUREE

Down
1. "___ right with the world" : ALL’S
2. 1960s hairstyle : FLIP
3. Volcanic emission : LAVA
4. Bordeaux buddy : AMI
5. Be lovey-dovey : CANOODLE
6. Valletta is its capital : MALTA
7. It's not used to make matzo : YEAST
8. "It's c-c-cold!" : BRR!
9. 2008 U.S. govt. bailout recipient : AIG
10. Record spinner : DEEJAY
11. Fancy gold jewelry, e.g. : BLING
12. Ergo : HENCE
13. Opera's Mario Lanza, for one : TENOR
18. Expert : GURU
23. Suffix with glob : -ULE
24. "Listen up!," old-style : HARK!
25. Archipelago parts : ISLES
26. Green-lighted : OKED
27. Bonus, in ads : XTRA
28. Barracks no-show : AWOL
29. "Good job!" : NICE!
32. "The Lord is my shepherd ...," e.g. : PSALM
33. Assn. or grp. : ORG
34. Not make the grade? : FAIL
35. Rice-shaped pasta : ORZO
36. Noggin : BEAN
38. G : THOU
39. Be concerned, slangily : GIVE A RIP
40. Letter-shaped shelf support : L-BAR
44. Jackanapes : IMP
45. Like most jigsaw puzzles : DIE-CUT
46. I.R.S. employees: Abbr. : AGTS
47. French beach : PLAGE
48. Stirs up : ROILS
49. Continental cash : EUROS
50. Flood barrier : LEVEE
51. Creator of the game Missile Command : ATARI
54. Petri dish gel : AGAR
55. Storm : RAGE
56. Hightail it away : FLEE
59. Managed care plan, for short : HMO
60. Co. with the motto "Think" : IBM
61. Australia's national bird : EMU


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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 everyday 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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