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Greetings from Louisburgh, County Mayo 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

0131-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Jan 14, Friday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Chris A. McGlothlin
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 37m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … BEEK (Veek), LA HABANA (La Havana)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

16. Pixar, e.g. : ANIMATION STUDIO
Pixar Animation Studios started out as part of Lucasfilm in 1979, George Lucas’s production company. Lucas sold what was to become Pixar to Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 1986. Pixar produced its first feature film in 1995, the fabulous “Toy Story”, and followed up with a string of hits. The company was then sold to Walt Disney in 2006, when valued at $7.4 billion. That transaction resulted in Steve Jobs becoming the biggest shareholder in Walt Disney.

18. Some foreign friends : AMICI
“Amici” is the Italian word for "friends" (singular "amico").

19. Union ___: Abbr. : STA
There are quite a few railroad stations called "Union Station" in the US. This is because the generic "union station" is one built by two or more railroad companies acting in concert or "union", sharing tracks and facilities.

21. "Dawson's Creek" star James Van Der ___ : BEEK
James Van Der Beek is an actor known for playing Dawson Leery on the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek”. Van Der Beek is also known for acting out Internet memes on his own website jamesvandermemes.tumblr.com.

A "meme" (short for "mineme") is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

25. ___ Toy Barn ("Toy Story 2" setting) : AL’S
"Toy Story 2" is a Pixar feature film that was released in 1999. The film was an even bigger hit than the original “Toy Story” and grossed just under $500 million.

28. A Kennedy : TED
Ted Kennedy was the youngest boy in the family that included his older brothers: Joseph Jr. (killed in action in WWII), John (assassinated) and Robert (assassinated). Ted went into the US Senate in 1962 in a special election held after his brother became US President. He remained in the Senate until he passed away in 2009, making Ted Kennedy the fourth-longest-serving Senator in history.

33. What Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue has a lot of : AD PAGES
The first swimsuit issue of "Sports Illustrated" magazine was published in 1964, as a successful attempt to boost sales during the slow winter months.

42. Professional org. with a "healthy" balance sheet : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)

45. Musical instrument for a geisha : SAMISEN
A samisen is a traditional Japanese instrument, with three strings, vaguely like a banjo. The samisen is played with a plectrum that is called a bachi.

47. MASH unit : COT
The first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was deployed in August 1945. MASH units really came into the public consciousness after publication of the 1969 Richard Hooker novel “MASH”, which spawned the hit film and TV series that were both called “M*A*S*H”.

48. Pioneering map publisher William : RAND
Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant called Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into "railroad guides" in 1870, a precursor of what was to be their big success, the road atlas. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map, of New York City in 1904. Rand and McNally really popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

50. 1998 film in which Donny Osmond has a singing role : MULAN
“Mulan” is a 1998 animated feature film made by Walt Disney studios. The film is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who takes the place of her father in the army and serves with distinction for twelve years without reward. Disney's lead character was given the name Fa Mulan. Donny Osmond provided the singing voice for one of the lead characters, after which his sons remarked that he had finally made it in show business as he was in a Disney film.

54. Romanian capital : LEU
The currency of Romania is the leu (plural: lei), a word meaning "lion". The leu is also the name of the currency of neighboring Moldova. Romania joined the European Union in 2007, and had planned to join the Euro zone in 2014. This implementation date is in jeopardy as Romania struggles to meet economic goals set by the EU.

55. Albert's sitcom co-star : GABOR
The popular sitcom “Green Acres” originally aired from 1965 to 1971. The magnificent stars of the show were Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, playing a couple who moved from New York City to a farm in the country. “Green Acres” was cancelled as part of CBS’s so called “rural purge”. In a move to attract younger audiences, shows were added to the schedule with more urban and contemporary themes. Classics like “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Hee Haw” and “Mayberry R.F.D.” were dropped at the same time as “Green Acres”.

56. Numbats : BANDED ANTEATERS
The numbat, also called the banded anteater, is a protected marsupial species found in Western Australia. The numbat is actually the emblem of the state.

59. Washington report starter : I CANNOT TELL A LIE
The famous story about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree as a child has been shown to be fiction. He supposedly was confronted by his father after taking an axe to a tree and confessed with the words, “I’m sorry father, I cannot tell a lie”. Not true ...

Down
1. Caribbean capital, to locals : LA HABANA
“La Habana” is the Spanish name for the city of Havana, Cuba.

Havana is the capital city of Cuba. The city was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500s after which it became a strategic location for Spain’s exploration and conquest of the Americas. In particular, Havana was used as a stopping-off point for treasure-laden ships on the return journey to Spain.

2. Cloisonné, e.g. : ENAMELED
“Cloisonné” is an ancient technique that uses vitreous enamel to decorate metalwork. The technique involves the addition of metal compartments to the surface of the piece, made by soldering silver or gold wires that form the edges of each compartment. Vitreous enamels of various colors are then added to each compartment and the whole piece fired. “Cloison” is a French word meaning “compartment, partition”.

5. "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening" artist : DALI
The famous surrealist painter Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Spain. I had the privilege of visiting the Dalí Museum in Figueres some years ago, just north of Barcelona. If you ever get the chance, it's a “must see” as it really is a quite magnificent building with a fascinating collection.

6. Tribe of Chief Shaumonekusse : OTO
Chief Shaumonekusse was a leader of the Otoe Native Americans in the early 1800s. Shaumonekusse travelled to Washington, D.C. in 1821 and met with President James Monroe.

7. It hangs around trees : TINSEL
The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

10. Grp. that's got your number? : SSA
A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot, as since 2011 SSN’s are assigned randomly.

11. Texting ta-ta : TTYL
Talk to you later (TTYL)

12. Many Rwandans : HUTUS
Rwanda is a sovereign nation in central Africa that is populated by three groups: the Hutu, Tutsi (aka Watutsi) and Twa. The Tutsi are the second largest population of people in Rwanda, with the Hutu being the largest group. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.

22. Practice test? : BAR EXAM
The legal profession is referred to as “the bar”. The term arose in medieval times when European courtrooms were divided into two with “barring” furniture, basically a wooden rail that separated the public from the participants in the trial.

26. Setting for "Ocean's 11" : VEGAS
“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts.

27. Actor Alain : DELON
Alain Delon is an award-winning French actor, once called "the male Brigitte Bardot". Delon hit the headlines in 1968 when one of his bodyguards was found shot in the head outside his home. Delon found himself held for questioning, but he was released and the crime was attributed to a Corsican crime family.

32. Home for E. B. White's Wilbur : STY
"Charlotte's Web" is a children's novel by author E. B. White. Charlotte is a barn spider, who manages to save the life of a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is a pet pig, owned by the farmer's daughter, Fern Arable. The story also includes a gluttonous rat called Templeton who provides some light and comical moments.

36. "Live más" sloganeer : TACO BELL
Taco Bell was founded by a former US Marine, 25-year-old Glen Bell. His first restaurant was Bell’s Drive-In, located in Southern California. After opening that first establishment, Bell bought up some more restaurants including four named El Taco. He sold off the El Taco restaurants but used the name in part when he opened his first Taco Bell in 1962. Bell sold then sold franchises, with the 100th Taco Bell opening in 1967. The ex-Marine sold off the whole chain to PepsiCo in 1978, and I am guessing he made a pretty penny.

37. Classic song that begins "When my baby / When my baby smiles at me" : I GO TO RIO
“I Go to Rio” is a 1976 song written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson that became the signature song for Allen.

Peter Allen was an Australian songwriter as well as an entertainer in his own right. He is famous for having won an Oscar for co-writing the song "Arthur's Theme" from the 1981 movie “Arthur”. Allen was married to the film’s female lead Liza Minnelli. After he and Minnelli divorced, Allen had a 14-year homosexual relationship with fashion model Gregory Connell.

38. "CSI" star William : PETERSEN
The actor William Petersen is best known for portraying forensic scientist Gil Grissom on the “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. Petersen quit acting in the show after nine seasons, but continues as an executive producer.

42. Source of the word "admiral" : ARABIC
Our term “admiral” came into English via French, and is probably derived from the Saracen rank of “chief of the transport”, called “amir-ar-rahl” in Arabic.

43. One of two in a rumba : MARACA
Maracas are percussion instruments native to Latin America. They are constructed from a dried shell, like that of a coconut, to which a handle is attached. The shell is filled with dried seeds or beans, and shaken.

The rumba is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

46. Prepares, as some mushrooms : SAUTES
“Sauté” is of course a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

49. "If I ___ Have You" (2001 Best Original Song Oscar winner) : DIDN’T
"If I Didn't Have You" is a Randy Newman song that was performed by John Goodman and Billy Crystal over the closing credits for the 2001 animated feature “Monsters, Inc.” It won Newman an Oscar for Best Original Song that same year.

51. Kind of star : NATAL
A natal star is one associated with the time of one’s birth.

A natal horoscope or natal chart is an astrological map that is built around the exact time and location of an individual’s birth. The chart shows the position of the astrologically relevant celestial bodies at that time.

53. "Leading With My Chin" memoirist : LENO
Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson college and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

57. Slip into : DON
One doffs one's hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with "doff" being a contraction of "do off". The opposite of “doff” is “don” meaning “to put on”.

58. Grp. with the 1971 gold album "Pictures at an Exhibition" : ELP
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) were an English supergroup popular in the seventies. Keith Emerson had been successful with the Nice, Greg Lake with King Crimson, and Carl Palmer with Atomic Rooster. Given that all three performers had already achieved success prior the formation of the group, ELP is termed a "supergroup".
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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "No more wasting time!" : LET’S DO THIS THING!
16. Pixar, e.g. : ANIMATION STUDIO
17. Was just getting started : HAD A LONG WAY TO GO
18. Some foreign friends : AMICI
19. Union ___: Abbr. : STA
20. Breathers : LUNGS
21. "Dawson's Creek" star James Van Der ___ : BEEK
22. It's a state : BEING
24. Unduplicated : SOLE
25. ___ Toy Barn ("Toy Story 2" setting) : AL’S
26. Parked cars : VALETED
28. A Kennedy : TED
29. Fix : NEUTER
31. Makes a fuss over, with "on" : DOTES
33. What Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue has a lot of : AD PAGES
35. Marker's mark maker : FELT TIP
39. Bottom line? : X-AXIS
41. Cruise : VOYAGE
42. Professional org. with a "healthy" balance sheet : AMA
45. Musical instrument for a geisha : SAMISEN
47. MASH unit : COT
48. Pioneering map publisher William : RAND
50. 1998 film in which Donny Osmond has a singing role : MULAN
51. One on the staff? : NOTE
52. Thin as ___ : A RAIL
54. Romanian capital : LEU
55. Albert's sitcom co-star : GABOR
56. Numbats : BANDED ANTEATERS
59. Washington report starter : I CANNOT TELL A LIE
60. Charm : CAST ONE’S SPELL ON

Down
1. Caribbean capital, to locals : LA HABANA
2. Cloisonné, e.g. : ENAMELED
3. Sets things straight : TIDIES UP
4. Trash talk : SMACK
5. "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening" artist : DALI
6. Tribe of Chief Shaumonekusse : OTO
7. It hangs around trees : TINSEL
8. Immobilized : HOGTIED
9. Needing : IN WANT OF
10. Grp. that's got your number? : SSA
11. Texting ta-ta : TTYL
12. Many Rwandans : HUTUS
13. Defensive reply : I DO NOT
14. Nitpick : NIGGLE
15. Gave a boost : GOOSED
22. Practice test? : BAR EXAM
23. Square things : GET EVEN
26. Setting for "Ocean's 11" : VEGAS
27. Actor Alain : DELON
30. Strain : TAX
32. Home for E. B. White's Wilbur : STY
34. Pose as : SIMULATE
36. "Live más" sloganeer : TACO BELL
37. Classic song that begins "When my baby / When my baby smiles at me" : I GO TO RIO
38. "CSI" star William : PETERSEN
40. Few of them were made after 1929 : SILENTS
42. Source of the word "admiral" : ARABIC
43. One of two in a rumba : MARACA
44. Pineapples: Sp. : ANANAS
46. Prepares, as some mushrooms : SAUTES
49. "If I ___ Have You" (2001 Best Original Song Oscar winner) : DIDN’T
51. Kind of star : NATAL
53. "Leading With My Chin" memoirist : LENO
55. Air force? : GALE
57. Slip into : DON
58. Grp. with the 1971 gold album "Pictures at an Exhibition" : ELP


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2 comments :

Dave Kennison said...


A nice puzzle. I also had Havana/Veek instead of Habana/Beek (and smacked my forehead when I saw the answers).

It has been 57 years since my one attempt to create a crossword puzzle, an experience that left me with a lasting sense of awe that anyone can create a puzzle like this one, with all those 15-letter phrases stacked on top of each other. Marvelous ...

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Dave.

It's good to hear that others make the same mistakes as me occasionally. I was wondering about this particular slip, as it seemed a real pitfall.

I used to set crosswords professionally, but they were cryptic puzzles that have many, many more black squares. I am very much in awe of those who can even put together answers that mesh in a puzzle with so few balck squares.

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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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