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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

0213-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 13 Feb 14, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Daniel Landman
THEME: Mad-ness … we have a rebus puzzle today, with the word MAD appearing in several squares.
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 22m 41s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. One way to stand : AKIMBO
Akimbo is such a lovely word, I think (as in “arms akimbo”). I failed to dig up anything too exciting about the term’s etymology. It seems to stem from Middle English, "in kekbowe" or "on kenbow" meaning "bend in a curve".

7. Sources of wool : ALPACAS
Alpacas are like small llamas, but unlike llamas were never beasts of burden. Alpacas were bred specifically for the fleece. As such, there are no known wild alpacas these days, even in their native Peru.

16. Title girl in a children's book series set in Paris : MADELINE
The “Madeline” series of children’s books was written by Austrian author Ludwig Bemelmans, with the first story published in 1939. The books center on a young Parisienne called Madeline, a redheaded 7-year-old attending a Catholic boarding school.

17. Meter reading : TAXI FARE
We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

18. Like the first two "Brandenburg" Concertos : IN F
The six beautiful Brandenburg Concertos were composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and presented to the Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721.

19. City known as "Florence on the Elbe" : DRESDEN
The German city of Dresden was almost completely destroyed during WWII, especially as a result of the famous firebombing of the city in 1945. Restoration work in the inner city in recent decades led to it being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site However, in 2006 when the city built a highway bridge close to the city center, UNESCO took Dresden off the list. This marked the only time a European location has lost World Heritage status. That said, the city is sometimes called “Elbflorenz” (Florence of the Elbe) in honor of the city’s architecture, art collections and museums.

25. Sportscaster who lent his name to a popular video game series : MADDEN
Retired sportscaster John Madden is a former NFL footballer and Super Bowl-winning coach. Famously, Madden has a fear of flying and so he travels around the country on “the Madden Cruiser”, a customized coach that he started using in 1987. Madden actually lives about a mile from me and we used to see the Madden Cruiser filling up with provisions at our grocery store all the time. Even though he is afraid to fly, John’s wife Virginia actually has her private pilot’s license.

27. Fleet : ARMADA
The most famous Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England in order to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. It failed in its mission, partly due to bad weather encountered en route. Ironically, the English mounted a similar naval attack against Spain the following year, and it failed as well.

28. Cinco follower : SEIS
In Spanish, six (seis) follows five (cinco).

32. 1968 Beatles hit : LADY MADONNA
The 1968 Beatles hit “Lady Madonna” was the last song the band recorded before starting their own Apple Records label. The song’s lyrics mention every day of the week except Saturday. Paul McCartney admitted in an interview that the omission was a mistake, and one that he and John Lennon only noticed after the song was recorded.

35. Backs, as a front : ABETS
The word "abet" comes into English from the Old French "abeter" meaning "to bait" or "to harass with dogs" (it literally means "to make bite"). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of "abet" meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

37. Member of the familia : MADRE
In Spanish, a mother (madre) is a member of the family (la familia).

38. Big name in plastic : VISA
Did you know that Visa doesn't issue any credit cards? Visa just sells the electronic systems and infrastructure to banks who then put the Visa logo on their own cards so that both the customer and merchant know to use the VISA system when making a transaction.

42. Almond ___ (candy brand) : ROCA
Almond Roca is a brand of chocolate-covered toffee.

46. Macbeth or Macduff : SCOT
Macduff eventually kills Macbeth, at the end of Shakespeare's play.

47. Golfer ___ Pak : SE-RI
Se-Ri Pak is a South Korean golfer playing on the LPGA tour. Having a Korean name, we really should be calling her Pak Se-Ri as she is known in her homeland. Korean names always start with the family name.

52. Justice Dept. division : DEA
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

53. "Modern Family" actor : ED O'NEILL
Ed O'Neill made it big on television playing Al Bundy on the sitcom "Married ... with Children", not a show I ever cared for. However, O'Neill is in the cast of a great show currently being aired that I do recommend, namely "Modern Family".

“Modern Family” is a marvelous television show shown on ABC since 2009. The show’s format is that of a “mockumentary”, with the cast often addressing the camera directly. In that respect “Modern Family” resembles two other excellent shows: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, both of which might also be described a “mockumentaries”.

55. Boxster competitors : MIATAS
I've always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

The Boxster is a roadster built by Porsche that was introduced in 1996. The name “Boxster” comes from a melding of “boxer” and “roadster”. A “boxer” engine (or “flat” engine) is one in which the pistons move in a horizontal plane, with the cylinders laid out in two rows opposing each other.

57. In situ, as stones : UNTURNED
As in, “don’t leave a stone unturned”.

59. Sonnet enders : SESTETS
A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century. The Shakespearean sonnet is composed of three quatrains (4 lines) and a final couplet (2 lines).

60. Corona alternative : SAM ADAMS
Samuel Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, from Boston Massachusetts. Adams followed his father into the family’s malthouse business a few years after young Samuel graduated from Harvard. There were generations of Adams family members who were "maltsters" i.e. those producing malt needed for making beer. Samuel Adams is often described as a brewer, but he was actually a malster. The Samuel Adams brand of beer isn’t directly associated with the Adams family, but it is named in honor of the patriot.

The Mexican beer called Corona is the biggest-selling imported beer in the United States.

Down
1. Carrier of plates? : ARMADILLO
The nine-banded armadillo is the most commonly found species of armadillo found in the Americas. The “bands” are bits of armor that circle the body of the armadillo, although there are not always nine of them, but usually seven to eleven.

4. Cry of mock incredulity : MOI?!
“Moi” is the French word for “me”.

6. River through Pomerania : ODER
The Oder river rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland.

The European region known as Pomerania lies on the south shore of the Baltic Sea, straddling the border between Germany and Poland. The name “Pomerania” comes from the Slavic for “Land at the Sea”.

7. "Evangeline" locale : ACADIA
The great explorer Verrazzano gave the name "Arcadia" to the coastal land that stretched from north of present day Virginia right up the North American continent to Nova Scotia. The name Arcadia was chosen as it was also the name for a part of Greece that had been viewed as idyllic from the days of classical antiquity. The "Arcadia" name quickly evolved into the word "Acadia" that was used locally here in North America. Much of Acadia was settled by the French in the 1600s, and then in 1710 Acadia was conquered by the British. There followed the French and Indian War after which there was a mass migration of French Acadians, often via the French colony of Saint-Dominique (present-day Haiti) to the French colony of Louisiana. The local dialectic pronunciation of the word "Acadian" was "Cajun", giving the name to the ethnic group for which Louisiana has been home for about 300 years.

"Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie" is an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first published in 1847. Nowadays we tend to think first of "Hiawatha" when we see the name Longfellow, but within his own lifetime "Evangeline" was Longfellow's most famous work. The poem tells the tale of Evangeline Bellefontaine who is separated from her beloved when the Acadians were forcibly removed from their land by the British.

9. Nabokov novel after "Lolita" : PNIN
"Pnin" is a novel written in English by Vladimir Nabokov, and published in 1957. The title character is Timofey Pnin, a Russian-born professor living in the US. "Pnin" raised some money for Nabokov, as it was published in installments in "The New Yorker" magazine. He needed the money while he worked hard to find someone to publish his more edgy novel, "Lolita".

10. Justice Dept. division : ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice. The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. "Explosives" was added to the ATF's name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

11. Italian actress Cardinale : CLAUDIA
Claudia Cardinale is an actress from Italy (although born in Tunisia). who appeared mainly in European films in the sixties and seventies. Cardinale’s best known performances to North American audiences are probably in “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) and “The Pink Panther” (1963).

12. Nickname for Michael Jordan, with "His" : AIRNESS
Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Not only is he a talented sportsman, but he is also very successful in the business world. His is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team.

15. 1963 movie with the tagline "Everybody who's ever been funny is in it!" : IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD
“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” is a 1963 comedy film with quite the cast. The list of great comedic actors appearing seems to be endless and includes: Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hackett, Jonathan Winters, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Spencer Tracy, Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Jim Backus, Jimmy Durante and Peter Falk. In addition, there were cameo appearances by Jack Benny, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, the Shirelles and the Three Stooges. I can’t remember any other movie with such a cast …

20. The Jetson boy : ELROY
On the cartoon show “The Jetsons”, young Elroy wore a cap with an antenna sticking out of it.

“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it was debuted in 1963 by ABC, "The Jetsons" was the network’s first ever color broadcast.

28. Nine-digit ID : SSN
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.

35. Titian subject with Bacchus : ARIADNE
“Bacchus and Ariadne” is an oil painting by Italian Renaissance painter Titian that can be seen in the National Gallery in London.

36. Witticisms : BON MOTS
“Bon mot” translates from French as "good word". We use "bon mot" (and sometimes just "mot") to mean a quip, a witticism.

41. George Eliot and George Sand : ALIASES
George Eliot was the pen name of English novelist Mary Anne Evans. As one might think, Evans chose a male pen name in order that her work might be best appreciated in the Victorian era. Eliot wrote seven novels including “Adam Bede” (1859), “The Mill on the Floss” (1860), “Silas Marner” (1861) and “Middlemarch” (1871-72).

George Sand was the pseudonym of the very colorful French novelist Baroness Dudevant. Along with the renown that she garnered for her novels, Sand was also known for celebrated affairs with the likes of Frédéric Chopin.

45. Musical middle name : AMADEUS
The composer Mozart’s full name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The name “Wolfgang” translates literally as “wolf journey”. Amadeus translates as “love god”!

50. Marseille mates : AMIS
Marseille (often written “Marseilles” in English) is the second largest city in France, after Paris. Marseille is also the largest commercial port in the country. I used to live nearby, and it’s a lovely, lovely place.

51. "Glee" girl : TINA
The TV show called "Glee" has proven to be very popular. The storyline focuses on a high school glee club in Lima, Ohio called New Directions.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. One way to stand : AKIMBO
7. Sources of wool : ALPACAS
14. Come up again, as a web page : RELOAD
15. Statement preceding a blunt truth : I CAN’T LIE
16. Title girl in a children's book series set in Paris : MADELINE
17. Meter reading : TAXI FARE
18. Like the first two "Brandenburg" Concertos : IN F
19. City known as "Florence on the Elbe" : DRESDEN
21. Prefix with -form : UNI-
22. Trim : LEAN
24. Plotter's place : LAIR
25. Sportscaster who lent his name to a popular video game series : MADDEN
26. Unconvincing : LAME
27. Fleet : ARMADA
28. Cinco follower : SEIS
29. Wash. neighbor : OREG
30. One on the move : NOMAD
31. ___ the custom (traditionally) : AS WAS
32. 1968 Beatles hit : LADY MADONNA
35. Backs, as a front : ABETS
37. Member of the familia : MADRE
38. Big name in plastic : VISA
42. Almond ___ (candy brand) : ROCA
43. Big hit : SWAT
44. Earth sci. : ECOL
45. What shouldn't follow you? : AIN’T
46. Macbeth or Macduff : SCOT
47. Golfer ___ Pak : SE-RI
48. Woman : MADAM
49. Ogle : STARE AT
52. Justice Dept. division : DEA
53. "Modern Family" actor : ED O'NEILL
55. Boxster competitors : MIATAS
57. In situ, as stones : UNTURNED
58. "Psst!" follower, perhaps : IN HERE!
59. Sonnet enders : SESTETS
60. Corona alternative : SAM ADAMS

Down
1. Carrier of plates? : ARMADILLO
2. Asset for a mimic : KEEN EAR
3. Notoriety : ILL FAME
4. Cry of mock incredulity : MOI?!
5. Wedding staple : BAND
6. River through Pomerania : ODER
7. "Evangeline" locale : ACADIA
8. More easygoing : LAXER
9. Nabokov novel after "Lolita" : PNIN
10. Justice Dept. division : ATF
11. Italian actress Cardinale : CLAUDIA
12. Nickname for Michael Jordan, with "His" : AIRNESS
13. Welcome to one's home : SEE IN
15. 1963 movie with the tagline "Everybody who's ever been funny is in it!" : IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
20. The Jetson boy : ELROY
23. Disregard : NEGLECT
25. Caused a stir : MADE WAVES
27. Added stipulations : ANDS
28. Nine-digit ID : SSN
31. Flying without ___ : A NET
33. ___ loss : AT A
34. Hold forth : ORATE
35. Titian subject with Bacchus : ARIADNE
36. Witticisms : BON MOTS
39. Summer drink : ICED TEA
40. Pitcher's woe : SORE ARM
41. George Eliot and George Sand : ALIASES
43. Balance : SCALES
45. Musical middle name : AMADEUS
46. Time spent doing time, say : STINT
49. Dry : SERE
50. Marseille mates : AMIS
51. "Glee" girl : TINA
54. Weirdo : NUT
56. Arabic name meaning "highly praised" : AHMAD


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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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