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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

0118-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Jan 14, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 53m 09s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Fast-paced alternative to Scrabble : BANANAGRAMS
Bananagrams is a fun game that was introduced in 2006. Bananagrams is a little like Scrabble in that letter tiles are used to make interlocking words.

12. Lance cpl.'s org. : USM
In the US Marine Corps (USMC) the rank of Lance Corporal (Lance Cpl.) is above Private First Class, and below Corporal. The Marine Corps is the only US service to have such a rank. There was a rank of Lance Corporal in the US Army, from 1965 to 1968, but this was changed to Private First Class.

15. It has a Page Navigation menu option : ADOBE READER
Adobe Acrobat is the software used to create .pdf files. Most of us are more familiar with the associated application called Adobe Reader, because that's what we use to read those .pdf files.

16. 100 sawbucks : GEE
One G, one grand, one thousand dollars …

"Sawbuck" is slang for a ten dollar bill. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (ten) resembles the end of sawhorse.

17. Cop car, to a CBer : TIJUANA TAXI
“Tijuana Taxi” is CB radio slang for a car with flashing lights and bright markings, especially a police car.

A CBer is someone who operates a Citizens' Band radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens' Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren't many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.

21. Many an Israeli : SABRA
Jewish people born in the State of Israel, or the historical region of israel, are known as Sabras. “Sabra” is actually the name of the prickly pear, the thorny desert cactus. Apparently the name “Sabra” is used because a Jew born in the region is said to be tough on the outside and sweet on the inside, just like a prickly pear.

28. Green on a screen : SETH
Seth Green is an actor and comedian best-known by many as creator and voice actor on the animated television series “Robot Chicken”. I know him best for playing “Napster” in the 2005 film “The Italian Job”.

30. Texas' ___ Duro Canyon : PALO
Palo Duro Canyon in Texas is the second largest canyon in the whole of the US (after the Grand Canyon, of course). The Palo Duro Canyon is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide in places.

31. High style of the 1700s : POUF
The “pouf” is an “updo” type of hairstyle that was popularized in the 18th-century France by Marie Antoinette. The French queen first sported the pouf at the coronation of her husband, Louis XVI. Ladies of the day would often wear many ornaments and decorations in their hair set in a pouf, such as pearls, feathers and even ships.

32. Oppenheimer's agcy. : AEC
The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was set up right after WWII in 1946, with the aim of promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy. Establishing the AEC was a significant move made by President Truman, as it passed control of atomic energy from the military to the civilian sector. The AEC continued to operate until 1974 when its functions were divided up into two new agencies: the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a key member of the Manhattan Project team, the man who led the group of scientists and engineers who actually designed and built the first atomic bombs. After WWII, Oppenheimer became a chief advisor to the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Like many scientists who worked on the development of atomic weapons, Oppenheimer spent many years lobbying against nuclear proliferation.

34. Vocal trio : TERZETTO
“Terzetto” is Italian for “trio”, and is a term used in classical music for a musical threesome, especially a vocal trio.

36. 1983 song with the lyric "Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos" : I LOVE LA
“I Love L.A.” is a song written and recorded by Randy Newman in 1983.

Randy Newman is a singer/songwriter, most famous for his movie scores in the past three decades. Film scores included on his resume include "The Natural", "Meet the Parents" and all the "Toy Story" movies from Pixar. Also on his resume are songs that he wrote, but were made hits by others. Included in this list are "You Can Leave Your Hat On" (Joe Cocker & Tom Jones) and "Mama Told Me Not to Come" (Three Dog Night).

41. Nonverbal equivalent of "You have got to be kidding me!" : FACEPALM
A facepalm is the gesture made by lowering one’s face into the palm of one’s hand or hands. A facepalm can be an expression of surprise perhaps, frustration or embarrassment.

43. Cannes neighbors? : ENS
The are two letters N (ens) sitting side-by-side in the word “Cannes”.

Cannes is a city on the French Riviera, noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The idea of the annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.

44. Financier Kreuger called the Match King : IVAR
Ivar Kreuger was a Swedish industrialist who built a fortune selling matches all around the world, eventually earning the nickname “the Match King”. Kreuger’s vast financial empire collapsed during the Great Depression, and he commit suicide in 1932.

53. Grease monkey's pocket item : RAG
“Grease monkey” is a slang term for a mechanic, a term we’ve been using since the late twenties.

55. Formal identification : IT IS I
The much debated statement “it is I” is actually grammatically correct, and should not be “corrected” to “it is me”. Traditionally, pronouns following linking verbs, such as “is”, “appear” and “seem”, are written in the nominative case. Examples are:
- It is I (who called)
- It was he (who did it)
- It is we (who care)

60. Professional organizers? : TAXONOMISTS
Taxonomy is the classification of organisms or maybe even just items into groups or categories. We are most familiar with the classification of organisms in the major taxonomic ranks of:
- Life
- Domain
- Kingdom
- Phylum
- Class
- Order
- Family
- Genus
- Species

64. Fidelity offering, briefly : IRA
Fidelity Investments is financial services corporation that is based in Boston. Fidelity was founded back in 1946.

65. Feature of 007's car : EJECTOR SEAT
James Bond was given his famous Aston Martin car (complete with ejector seat) in “Goldfinger”, both in the movie and in the original book by Ian Fleming.

James Bond was of course the creation of the writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized "007" to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”.

66. Cornerback Law and others : TYS
Ty Law is a former NFL cornerback who won three Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots.

67. Beyoncé alter ego : SASHA FIERCE
Sasha Fierce is an alter-ego that Beyoncé Knowles has developed for her stage and recording work. Beyoncé describes Sasha as very sensual and aggressive. She released a studio album called “I Am... Sasha Fierce” in 2008.

Down
1. Katharine Lee ___, "America the Beautiful" lyricist : BATES
When she was 33 years old, Katharine Lee Bates took a train ride from Massachusetts to Colorado Springs. She was so inspired by many of the beautiful sights she saw on her journey that she wrote a poem she called "Pikes Peak". Upon publication the poem became quite a hit, and several musical works were adapted to the words of the poem, the most popular being a hymn tune composed by Samuel Ward. Bates's poem and Ward's tune were published together for the first time in 1910, and given the title "America the Beautiful".

2. Court wear, maybe : ADIDAS
The brand name Adidas dates back to when Adolf "Adi" Dassler started making his own sports shoes in his mother's laundry room in Bavaria after returning from WWI. With his brother, Adi founded Dassler shoes. The companies big break came in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics, when Adi persuaded American sprinter Jesse Owens to use his shoes, and with the success of Jesse Owens came success for the fledgling shoe company. After WWII the brothers split, acrimoniously. Adi's brother, Ru-dolf Da-ssler, formed "Ruda" shoes (later to become Puma), and Adi Das-sler formed "Adidas".

3. "I swear, man!" : NO JIVE!
“Jive” is a slang term meaning “nonsensical talk”.

4. Have an edge against : ABUT
"Abut" comes from the Old French word "abouter" meaning "join end to end".

5. Its website has lesson plans, briefly : NEA
The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest labor union in the country, and mainly represents public school teachers.

6. Vintage fabric : ARNEL
Arnel is a brand name of an acetate textile.

9. Org. whose members look down in the mouth? : ADA
American Dental Association (ADA)

10. Its flag has an eagle in the center: Abbr. : MEX
The Mexican flag consists of three vertical stripes, of green white and red. The national coat of arms is displayed in the center of the white stripe.

11. Some foreign misters : SRIS
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

12. Wear that was one of "Oprah's Favorite Things" four times : UGG BOOTS
Uggs are sheepskin boots that originated in Australia and New Zealand. Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. Ugg is a generic term down under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

There was a segment on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that appeared once a year called “Oprah’s Favorite Things”. When Oprah named something as a favorite, such was her influence that sometimes manufacturers of the product were immediately overwhelmed with orders, and often product websites crashed due to the number of visitors.

14. "Transformers" actress, 2007 : MEGAN FOX
Megan Fox is an actress and model from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Fox’s big break as an actress came when she played the love interest of one of the male leads in the 2007 sci-fi movie “Transformers”. Frankly, I have no idea who she is ...

The 2007 blockbuster hit “Transformers” is inspired by a line of toys. Toy transformers can be morphed from their mundane looking appearance as a vehicle or perhaps an animal, into a robotic action figure. Not a movie I will be renting though ...

22. Impugn : ASPERSE
To asperse is to spread false charges or make insinuations. The more common expression is "to cast aspersions". "To asperse" comes from the Latin "aspergere" meaning "to sprinkle". So, "to asperse" is also the term used when sprinkling holy water.

25. Tenor ___ : CLEF
Clef is the French word for "key". In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on the stave.

26. Trio in Greek myth : HORAE
The Horae of Greek mythology were the goddesses of the seasons. There were several Horae, many of them associated with natural portions of time. Most commonly there were three, and sometimes ten (later twelve) Horae, or “Hours”, associated with the times of the day. For example, Auge was the goddess of first light, Gymnastika was the goddess of the morning hour for exercise, and Dysis was the goddess of sunset.

33. Bow no longer shot : CLARA
Clara Bow was a fabulous star of silent film, with her most famous movie being "It" from 1927. Clara Bow's performance was so celebrated in the movie that she was forever to be known as the "It-girl". The term "it" was a euphemism for "sex appeal", and that is what Clara Bow was known to "exude". Bow applied her red lipstick in the shape of a heart, and women who copied this style were said to put on a "Clara Bow".

36. 2007 book subtitled "Confessions of the Killer" : IF I DID IT
After having been acquitted of the murder of his wife and Ronald Goldman, O. J. Simpson wrote a book called "If I Did It", a "hypothetical" description of the murders. Publication of the book was cancelled due to public outrage at the prospect of Simpson making money from the crime for which he was widely perceived as having committed. After Simpson was held financially liable for the murders in a civil trial, the rights to the book were transferred to the Goldman family. The Goldmans changed the book's title to "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer", and then published. The Goldman version had a cover with the word "If" in very small letters, so the title seems to read "I Did It".

37. John's place : LAVATORY
The use of "john" as a slang term for a toilet is peculiar to North America. "John" probably comes from the older slang term of "jack" or "jakes" that had been around since the 16th century. In Ireland, in cruder moments, we still refer to a toilet as "the jacks".

38. Simple winds : OCARINAS
An ocarina is an ancient wind-instrument that sounds like and is played like a flute. Usually an ocarina has an egg-shaped body with a number of finger holes cut into the material making up the instrument (usually ceramic). There is a tube protruding from the body through which one blows to make sounds. The air vibrates within the body of the instrument, and the pitch of the vibrations is changed by covering and uncovering the finger-holes. Ocarinas date back as far as 12,000 years ago when they were used both in China and Central America. The ocarina was brought to Italy in the 1800s where it became popular as a child's toy, but also as a serious instrument. It was given the name “ocarina” as its shape resembles that of a goose, and “ocarina”is a diminutive word stemming from “oca”, the Italian word for "goose".

39. "The Twilight Saga" vampire : ALEC
“New Moon” is the second in the “Twilight” series of novels by Stephenie Meyer. "The Twilight Saga" is a series of films based on the books. The novels and films are about vampires. I don't do vampires ...

42. "A Severed Head" novelist, 1961 : MURDOCH
Dame Iris Murdoch was a British author and philosopher originally from Dublin, Ireland. Murdoch was awarded the Booker Prize in 1978 for her novel “The Sea, the Sea”, although her best-known work is probably her first novel “Under the Net”, published in 1954.

49. Ulcer treater : ZANTAC
Zantac is a brand name for the drug called ranitidine, which is used to inhibit the production of stomach acid. Ranitidine was introduced in 1981, and by 1988 was the biggest-selling, prescription drug in the world.

54. Beau chaser? : GESTE
“Beau Geste” is a 1924 novel by the British writer P. C. Wren. The hero of the piece is Michael “Beau” Geste, an upper-class Englishman who joins the French Foreign Legion and embarks on a life of adventure and intrigue.

61. 1977 Steely Dan title track : AJA
Steely Dan's heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993 and they are still going strong today.

62. One side in some chalk talks : XES
A “chalk talk” is a presentation in which the speaker draws on a chalkboard, well, these days on a whiteboard or perhaps a computer screen.

63. One might show muscles, in brief : MRI
A CT (or "CAT") scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful causing damage that is cumulative over time. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn't like the term "nuclear" because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it's just called MRI.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Fast-paced alternative to Scrabble : BANANAGRAMS
12. Lance cpl.'s org. : USM
15. It has a Page Navigation menu option : ADOBE READER
16. 100 sawbucks : GEE
17. Cop car, to a CBer : TIJUANA TAXI
18. Inhibiter of free speech : GAG
19. Exchange some words? : EDIT
20. Follower of Bush or Clinton : ERA
21. Many an Israeli : SABRA
23. Part of some bargain store names : SAV
24. Do-or-die situation : CLUTCH
27. ___-to-be : SOON
28. Green on a screen : SETH
30. Texas' ___ Duro Canyon : PALO
31. High style of the 1700s : POUF
32. Oppenheimer's agcy. : AEC
34. Vocal trio : TERZETTO
36. 1983 song with the lyric "Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos" : I LOVE LA
40. Women, poetically, with "the" : FAIR SEX
41. Nonverbal equivalent of "You have got to be kidding me!" : FACEPALM
43. Cannes neighbors? : ENS
44. Financier Kreuger called the Match King : IVAR
45. Start another tour : RE-UP
47. "Man!" : GEEZ!
50. Alternative to nuts? : DARN
51. Like 36 of this puzzle's answers : ACROSS
53. Grease monkey's pocket item : RAG
55. Formal identification : IT IS I
57. Mix for a mixer : DIP
58. Draw to an end : WANE
59. Spanish gentleman : DON
60. Professional organizers? : TAXONOMISTS
64. Fidelity offering, briefly : IRA
65. Feature of 007's car : EJECTOR SEAT
66. Cornerback Law and others : TYS
67. Beyoncé alter ego : SASHA FIERCE

Down
1. Katharine Lee ___, "America the Beautiful" lyricist : BATES
2. Court wear, maybe : ADIDAS
3. "I swear, man!" : NO JIVE!
4. Have an edge against : ABUT
5. Its website has lesson plans, briefly : NEA
6. Vintage fabric : ARNEL
7. Get set : GEAR UP
8. Sharp knock : RAT-A-TAT
9. Org. whose members look down in the mouth? : ADA
10. Its flag has an eagle in the center: Abbr. : MEX
11. Some foreign misters : SRIS
12. Wear that was one of "Oprah's Favorite Things" four times : UGG BOOTS
13. Circumnavigator's way : SEA ROUTE
14. "Transformers" actress, 2007 : MEGAN FOX
22. Impugn : ASPERSE
24. Call from a tree : CHEEP
25. Tenor ___ : CLEF
26. Trio in Greek myth : HORAE
29. Round houses? : TAVERNS
33. Bow no longer shot : CLARA
35. Hits with wit : ZINGS
36. 2007 book subtitled "Confessions of the Killer" : IF I DID IT
37. John's place : LAVATORY
38. Simple winds : OCARINAS
39. "The Twilight Saga" vampire : ALEC
42. "A Severed Head" novelist, 1961 : MURDOCH
46. Itinerary start : POINT A
48. Thing taken to a slip : ERASER
49. Ulcer treater : ZANTAC
52. Mad bit : SPOOF
54. Beau chaser? : GESTE
56. Endings of rock names : -ITES
58. One way to crack : WISE
61. 1977 Steely Dan title track : AJA
62. One side in some chalk talks : XES
63. One might show muscles, in brief : MRI


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7 comments :

Bill said...

It probably maters to Marines and to those who count accuracy as important. "USM" is acceptable for "Southern Educational Inst." The United States Marine Corps is "USMC".

Dave Kennison said...

I thought this puzzle was very difficult. It took me a long time (not sure how long, as I don't time myself) and I'm quite surprised that I managed to finish it with no errors. I might have given up, but my daily batch of kenkens was easier than usual, which gave me a little more time to spend on the crossword. (What am I saying … I'm retired, for God's sake … what else to I have to do? … :-)

BTW, I love your comments, Bill … they save me a lot of Google time and usually contain more info than I would have found, anyway … thanks … :-)

Ed said...

I thought 12A USM was a rather poor answer. I kept looking for a 'double' in a box - either "MC" in 14 or SM in 13 OR US in 12 since no one in the military would use USM for "The Corps" Only "USMC" folks!

Anonymous said...

Why are there no explanations for many of the across answers (such as 40, 41, 47 and 51 across)? I don't get meaning the clue to 51 across, "Like 36 of this puzzles answers"(to which the answer was "across").

Bill Butler said...

@Bill and Ed
Thanks for pointing out the USM error. I would never have caught that. I appreciate the help!

@Dave Kennison
Congrats on getting to the finish with a little persistence, and for the kmind words about the blog :)

@Anonymous visitor
I am afraid I don't have the time to explain every single clue so I focus on the one's that I think benefit from a few words. I am guilty of missing some clues that could do with a little more exlanation. Re the 51A clue, if you count all the "across" answers in today's puzzle grid, as opposed to the "down" answers, you will see that there are 36 of them. I hope that helps!

Kevin Quinn said...

Hi Bill,

The answer "XES" for 62D "One side in some chalk talks" is a reference to the traditional graphing of player formations and plays on a chalk board by coaches of American football, wherein the players on one "side" (offence or defence) are represented by X-es, while the opposing players are represented by O-es.

This iconic practice can be seen in many football movies, and is the basis for the technique popularized by John Madden, of using electronic "chalk" to superimpose play graphs onto video images of players on the field. Hope this helps.

"GO NINERS!!!" :-) (maybe next year...)

-Kevin Quinn

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Kevin.

Thanks for the help the "chalk board" clue. I am terrible with sports, especially the traditional American ones. I got into baseball through my kids, but only as a spectator. They both mainly played "football" (i.e. soccer), although one is big into rugby as well.

Haven't hit a baseball or kicked an American football in my life!

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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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