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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

0110-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 10 Jan 14, Friday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Patrick Berry
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 16m 07s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Attaché feature? : ACCENT
There is an acute accent over the last letter E in the word “attaché”.

7. Lawrence who co-wrote "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" : KASDAN
Lawrence Kasdan is a film producer, director and screenwriter. Kasdan wrote the script of the movie “The Bodyguard” and worked on the screenplays for “Return of the Jedi” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. He also directed and wrote the screenplay for “The Big Chill”.

13. Seat of Ireland's County Kerry : TRALEE
Tralee is the county town of Kerry in Ireland. Tralee is home to the famed “Rose of Tralee” Festival that is so well attended by representatives from North America.

14. One of the former Barbary States : TRIPOLI
There were two Barbary Wars, fought between the US and the Barbary States of North Africa. The wars were caused by Barbary pirates and privateers attacking and extracting tributes from American ships in the Mediterranean. Presidents Jefferson and Madison directed the US Navy to attack the Barbary States of Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers in order to cut off support for the pirates.

15. Pride : lions :: ___ : crows : MURDER
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology for “murder” as the collective noun for crows. One suggestion is that it comes from the scavenging behavior of crows, sometime feeding on rotting bodies of dead animals.

20. Moving briskly : SPRY
The term “spry”, meaning “active, nimble” may possibly be a shortened form of “sprightly”.

21. Public record? : CENSUS
The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by Federal marshals.

28. Many old B films : OATERS
The term "oater" that is used for a western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!

33. Symbol of liberty in the French Revolution : ELM
The original Liberty Tree was an elm tree that stood near Boston Common and marked the place where folks would rally in the build-up to the American Revolution. The symbolism of the Liberty Tree migrated across the Atlantic during the French Revolution. Revolutionaries planted “Les arbres de la liberté” as symbols of revolutionary hope.

35. Domineering men : MACHOS
A man described as “macho” shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

36. Gridiron cry : HIKE
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!

50. La to la, e.g. : OCTAVE
In western music, an octave is composed of twelve notes, twelve semitones.

I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way ... don't shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or "do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti"). These are all white keys. Most of these "white notes" are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a "semitone" in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term "octave" because we often add an eighth note on the end "to bring us back to do" as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do ... or ... C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.

53. Menelaus' kingdom : SPARTA
In Greek mythology, Atreus was the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. It was Menelaus who married Helen of Troy who was abducted by Paris, and Agamemnon who led the Greeks in the resulting Trojan War.

Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece, famous for her military might. Spartan children had a tough upbringing, and newborn babies were bathed in wine to see if the child was strong enough to survive. Every child was presented to a council of elders that decided if the baby was suitable for rearing. Those children deemed too puny were executed by tossing them into a chasm. We’ve been using the term “spartan” to describe something self-disciplined or austere since the 1600s.

54. Menorah inserts : TAPERS
There is a seven-branched menorah used symbolically in ancient temples. However, the Hanukkah menorah is a nine-branched lampstand that is lit during the eight-day holiday called Hanukkah. “Menorah” is the Hebrew word for “lamp”.

Down
6. Dean's "Lois & Clark" co-star : TERI
Teri Hatcher's most famous role these days is the Susan Mayer character in "Desperate Housewives". I've never seen more than a few minutes of "Housewives" but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in "Tomorrow Never Dies".

“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” is a television show that aired originally from 1993 to 1997. The storyline focuses as much on the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane as it does on Kent’s life as Superman. Clark and Lois are played by Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher.

7. Word puzzle popular since the 1930s : KRISS KROSS
A Kriss Kross is a variation of a crossword puzzle. Instead of clues, there is a list of words that needed to be filled into the grid. Placement of the words is largely by trial and error.

10. "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a ___": Milton Berle : DOOR
Comedian Milton Berle was known as "Uncle Miltie" and "Mr. Television", and was arguably the first real star of American television as he was hosting "Texaco Star Theater" starting in 1948.

11. Diploma holder, for short : ALUM
An "alumnus" (plural ... alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is "alumna" (plural ... alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.

16. Cribs : CHEAT SHEETS
A crib is a plagiarism, most commonly the copying of an answer in an examination.

22. Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signatory, briefly : USSR
The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was signed in 1972 by the US and the USSR, and was designed to limit the number of ABM systems deployed. The treaty stayed in effect until 2002, when the US unilaterally withdrew from the arrangement.

24. 1978 disco hit featuring the warning "Don't fall in love" : COPACABANA
The Copacabana of song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Frank Sinatra song "Meet Me at the Copa"). The Copa opened in 1940 and is still going today although it is struggling. The club had to move due to impending construction and is now "sharing" a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.

25. Body of water belatedly added to the course of the Erie Canal : ONEIDA LAKE
Oneida Lake is the largest lake lying entirely within the state of New York. Oneida is situated close to New York’s Finger Lakes, but it isn’t one of them. Having said that, some regard Oneida Lake as the “thumb” that goes along with the "fingers".

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of "cheap" transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of "the Empire State". Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

30. Mafioso foes : G-MEN
The nickname “G-men” is short for "Government Men" and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A Mafioso is a member of the Mafia, with the plural being Mafiosi (or sometimes Mafiosos).

32. Bahla Fort site : OMAN
The town of Bahla in Oman is famous for it's old fort, pottery and a surrounding oasis.

38. Michael who once led Disney : EISNER
Michael Eisner took over as CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1984. Eisner has been attributed with turning Disney around, as the company was floundering really since 1966 when Walt Disney died. Eisner had a good run, but ran foul of Walt Disney's nephew Roy Disney who led a revolt that resulted in Eisner's resignation in 2005.

42. Omar of TV and film : EPPS
Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series "House". Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Grant on "ER". And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

44. Memory unit prefix : GIGA-
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.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Attaché feature? : ACCENT
7. Lawrence who co-wrote "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" : KASDAN
13. Seat of Ireland's County Kerry : TRALEE
14. One of the former Barbary States : TRIPOLI
15. Pride : lions :: ___ : crows : MURDER
16. "Don't get so worked up!" : CHILL OUT!
17. Ordered pair? : SIDE DISHES
19. ___ running : ARMS
20. Moving briskly : SPRY
21. Public record? : CENSUS
23. Not down with anything : WELL
24. Deadeye : CRACK SHOT
27. Surprised expression : I SAY!
28. Many old B films : OATERS
29. Constant critic : NAG
31. Leery of being noticed, maybe : SHY
32. Decides on : OPTS FOR
33. Symbol of liberty in the French Revolution : ELM
34. Last course, often : PIE
35. Domineering men : MACHOS
36. Gridiron cry : HIKE
37. They deliver on Sunday : PREACHERS
39. Ideal world? : EDEN
40. Sulking peevishly : IN A PET
41. Underattended, say : DEAD
42. Grocery staple : EGGS
45. Tub accessory for the head : BATH PILLOW
48. Old-fashioned promotions : PRINT ADS
50. La to la, e.g. : OCTAVE
51. Common gathering in a public square : PIGEONS
52. Bet : STAKED
53. Menelaus' kingdom : SPARTA
54. Menorah inserts : TAPERS

Down
1. Bread boxes? : ATMS
2. Common casino locale : CRUISE SHIP
3. One who wants in on the deal : CARD PLAYER
4. Aged : ELDERLY
5. Emotionally demanding : NEEDY
6. Dean's "Lois & Clark" co-star : TERI
7. Word puzzle popular since the 1930s : KRISS KROSS
8. Bother : AIL
9. Unspecific recipe quantity : SPLASH
10. "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a ___": Milton Berle : DOOR
11. Diploma holder, for short : ALUM
12. Tiny criticisms : NITS
14. Ever since that time : THENCEFORTH
16. Cribs : CHEAT SHEETS
18. Brainstorming session aids : SCRATCH PADS
22. Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signatory, briefly : USSR
23. Flimsy lock : WISP
24. 1978 disco hit featuring the warning "Don't fall in love" : COPACABANA
25. Body of water belatedly added to the course of the Erie Canal : ONEIDA LAKE
26. Discussed : TALKED OVER
30. Mafioso foes : G-MEN
32. Bahla Fort site : OMAN
36. Clicker, of a sort : HEEL TAP
38. Michael who once led Disney : EISNER
41. Decrees : DICTA
42. Omar of TV and film : EPPS
43. Clutch : GRIP
44. Memory unit prefix : GIGA-
46. Diplomatic assignment : POST
47. Joins : WEDS
49. Unsteady walker, maybe : TOT


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3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Well, imagine that: a puzzle that's challenging, and without any stupid tricks!

Lou Sander said...

In a pet??? Never heard of it.

Bill Butler said...

"In a pet" isn't an expression I've ever used either. I've heard it though, but a long time ago as I recall, and on the other side of the Atlantic. I suspect it might come from the word "petulant", but I'm not sure.

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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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