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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

0224-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Feb 14, Monday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Adam G. Perl
THEME: Little Women … today’s themed answers all start with the name of one of “Little Women” created by Louisa May Alcott:
17A. Isn't serious : JOKES AROUND (giving "Jo March")
24A. Computer memory unit : MEGABYTE (giving "Meg March")
49A. Maryland home of the Walter Reed medical center : BETHESDA (giving "Beth March")
61A. Chemical compound in "poppers" : AMYL NITRITE (giving "Amy March")

39A. Author who created the characters named by the starts of 17-, 24-, 49- and 61-Across : LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

11. German auto known by its manufacturer's initials : BMW
The acronym BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and then moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

15. Maine university town : ORONO
The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine, founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers. The town of Orono is named after Joseph Orono, a chief of the Penobscot Nation.

19. Hosp. areas for lifesaving operations : ERS
Emergency rooms (ERs)

22. News item of passing concern? : OBIT
"Obituary" comes from the Latin "obituaris", originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is "pertaining to death".

24. Computer memory unit : MEGABYTE
A megabyte varies in number depending on the context. A megabyte of computer memory is 1,048,576 bytes (1,024 x 1,024). A megabyte of computer storage (usually) is 1,000,000 bytes (1,000 x 1,000).

27. Weapons depot : ARSENAL
Our word "arsenal" comes from the Italian "arzenale", a work adapted from the Arabic for "workshop". There was a large wharf in Venice called the Arzenale that became associated with the storage of weapons and ammunition, and this led to our contemporary usage of "arsenal".

32. Cheech's partner in 1970s-'80s movies : CHONG
The comedy duo Cheech & Chong are made up of Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong. Cheech and Chong worked together from 1971 to 1985, and have been back working together again since 2002. A lot of the duos comedy was based on their being stoned, on cannabis.

33. Writer ___ Rogers St. Johns : ADELA
Adela Rogers St. Johns was a journalist, novelist and screenwriter from Los Angeles. St. Johns’ father was a good friend of William Randolph Hearst, and she secured her first job working for Hearst as a reporter on the “San Francisco Examiner”. St. Johns’ was most famous as what was then called a “girl reporter”, in the twenties and thirties. Much later in her life, she was a regular guest on the “Tonight Show” hosted by Jack Paar.

36. Lucy of "Charlie's Angels," 2000 : LIU
Lucy Liu is an Asian-American actress from Queens, New York. Liu's big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in "Ally McBeal". I liked her in the 2000 film "Charlie's Angels" but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie "Kill Bill". I am having fun watching one of Liu’s more recent projects, in which she plays one of the two leads in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

39. Author who created the characters named by the starts of 17-, 24-, 49- and 61-Across : LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
"Little Women" is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.

42. Ensign's org. : USN
Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

43. Spittin' ___ : IMAGE
“Spitting image” is used to describe someone who looks very much like another. The phrase used to be written as “spit and image”, and makes use of the concept that a person is made up the the stuff of one’s parents (i.e. the spit) and has the look of one’s parents (i.e. the image). The expression “you are the very spit of your mother/father” used the same ideas.

44. Actor MacLeod of old TV : GAVIN
The actor Gavin MacLeod is noted for his television roles as Happy Haines on “McHale’s Navy”, Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat”.

47. Having sides of different lengths, as a triangle : SCALENE
A scalene triangle is one in which all sides are of unequal length.

49. Maryland home of the Walter Reed medical center : BETHESDA
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is located in Bethesda, Maryland on a site that was selected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. The facility is named for US Army physician Walter Reed who discovered in 1901 that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes rather than by direct contact.

53. Mrs., in Marseille : MME
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.

54. Newswoman Logan : LARA
Lara Logan is a South African newswoman, and is currently the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News. CBS placed Logan on a forced leave of absence at the end of 2013 for comments that she made about the US Government's culpability in the Bengazi attack and for inaccuracies in her reporting of the story.

55. Three-time A.L. batting champion Tony : OLIVA
Tony Oliva is a former Major League baseball player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins.

61. Chemical compound in "poppers" : AMYL NITRITE
Amyl nitrite is intended for use as a vasodilator, but it is also psychoactive when inhaled, so it has been abused as a recreational drug.

“Poppers” are alkyl nitrites that are inhaled as recreational drugs, the most common being amyl nitrite.

64. Nov. follower : DEC
December is the twelfth month in our calendar but was the tenth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the name “Dec-ember”. Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

67. Antlered animal : ELK
The elk (also known as the wapiti) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the "huge" wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely "elk". The more correct name for the beast is "wapiti", which means "white rump" in Shawnee. It's all very confusing ...

68. Justice Kagan : ELENA
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the fourth female US Supreme Court justice (there have been 108 men!). I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread "Pride and Prejudice" once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I'd say ...

Down
1. ___ vu : DEJA
“Déjà vu” is French for “already seen”.

2. Sport shirt brand : IZOD
Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the Royal Family. As Izod was about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.

3. It holds back the water in Holland : DIKE
A dike is an embankment usually made of earth and rock that is used to prevent floods.

Some Dutch people can get a little annoyed if one refers to their country as “Holland”, as the correct name is “the Netherlands”. North and South Holland are two of the country’s twelve provinces. The use of “Holland” instead of “the Netherlands” is analogous to the former Soviet Union being referred to as “Russia” and the United Kingdom being called “England”. That said, sometimes even the Dutch people themselves refer to the country as Holland, especially at a soccer match!

11. 1957 Everly Brothers hit with the repeated lyric "Hello loneliness" : BYE BYE LOVE
"Bye Bye Love" was published back in 1957, and was first recorded by the Everly Brothers, helping catapult them to stardom.

The Everly Brothers are noted for their steel guitar sound, and their great use of harmony. Their harmony onstage wasn’t reflected off the stage though. In 1973 the brothers decided to pursue separate careers and scheduled a farewell performance attended by many fans, family and stalwarts from the music industry. Don Everly came on stage too drunk to perform, and eventually brother Phil just stormed off into the wings, smashing his guitar as he left. The boys didn’t talk to each other for ten years after that incident. Phil Everly passed away in January 2014.

18. Kind of rug or code : AREA
Area codes were introduced in the 1940s. Back then the “clicks” one heard when dialling a number led to mechanical wear on various pieces of equipment. In order to minimize overall mechanical wear, areas with high call volumes were given the most efficient area codes (lowest number of clicks). That led to New York getting the area code 212, Los Angeles 213 and Chicago 313.

22. Geisha's sash : OBI
The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot.

The Japanese term “geisha” best translates as “artist” or “performing artist”.

23. "___, vidi, vici" : VENI
The oft-quoted statement "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered") is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BC and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

27. Rights org. : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors.

28. Greek R's : RHOS
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter "p".

30. Dalai ___ : LAMA
The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.

34. ___ Hammarskjöld, former U.N. secretary general : DAG
Dag Hammarskjold was the second secretary-general of the United Nations, right up until his death in a plane crash in Rhodesia in 1961. The crash was considered suspicious at the time as the bodyguards were found to have bullet wounds when they died, but this was put down to bullets exploding in the fire after the crash.

38. ___ Reader (alternative magazine) : UTNE
The publication called the "Utne Reader" is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The "Utne Reader" was founded in 1984, with "Utne" being the family name of the couple that started the publication.

40. Iowa State's home : AMES
Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable events, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

41. Racer Yarborough : CALE
Cale Yarborough is a former NASCAR driver and owner. Yarborough was the first NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”.

50. Artist's stand : EASEL
The word "easel" comes from an old Dutch word meaning "donkey" would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would carry its load.

51. Holmes's creator : DOYLE
The Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is most closely associated with his wonderful character Sherlock Holmes. Doyle also wrote a series of science fiction stories featuring the character Professor Challenger. The first book in which Challenger appears is the famous "The Lost World", a story about prehistoric creatures that are found living in the modern age on an isolated plateau in South America.

56. Ancient Peruvian : INCA
The Inca Empire was known as the Tawantinsuyu, which translates as “land of the four quarters”. The Inca Empire was a federal organization having a central government that sat above four “suyu” or “quarters”, four administrative regions.

62. Singer Tormé : MEL
Mel Tormé was a jazz singer, with a quality of voice that earned him the nickname “The Velvet Fog”. Tormé also wrote a few books, and did a lot of acting. He was the co-author of the Christmas classic known as “The Christmas Song”, which starts out with the line "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …"

63. "Norma ___" : RAE
"Norma Rae" is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called "Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Knocked off : DID IN
6. Parsley bit : SPRIG
11. German auto known by its manufacturer's initials : BMW
14. Online publication : EZINE
15. Maine university town : ORONO
16. Vote for : YEA
17. Isn't serious : JOKES AROUND
19. Hosp. areas for lifesaving operations : ERS
20. Suffix with lemon or orange : -ADE
21. Pick up the tab for someone : TREAT
22. News item of passing concern? : OBIT
23. Compete : VIE
24. Computer memory unit : MEGABYTE
27. Weapons depot : ARSENAL
31. French girlfriend : AMIE
32. Cheech's partner in 1970s-'80s movies : CHONG
33. Writer ___ Rogers St. Johns : ADELA
36. Lucy of "Charlie's Angels," 2000 : LIU
39. Author who created the characters named by the starts of 17-, 24-, 49- and 61-Across : LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
42. Ensign's org. : USN
43. Spittin' ___ : IMAGE
44. Actor MacLeod of old TV : GAVIN
45. Romantic outing : DATE
47. Having sides of different lengths, as a triangle : SCALENE
49. Maryland home of the Walter Reed medical center : BETHESDA
53. Mrs., in Marseille : MME
54. Newswoman Logan : LARA
55. Three-time A.L. batting champion Tony : OLIVA
57. Not bright : DIM
60. Smart ___ whip : AS A
61. Chemical compound in "poppers" : AMYL NITRITE
64. Nov. follower : DEC
65. Centuries-old object : RELIC
66. Roof overhangs : EAVES
67. Antlered animal : ELK
68. Justice Kagan : ELENA
69. Considers : DEEMS

Down
1. ___ vu : DEJA
2. Sport shirt brand : IZOD
3. It holds back the water in Holland : DIKE
4. Suffix with serpent : -INE
5. Place to lay an egg : NESTING SITE
6. Peeved : SORE
7. Like some televised tourneys : PRO-AM
8. What a travel planner plans : ROUTE
9. Quaint lodging : INN
10. The Almighty : GOD
11. 1957 Everly Brothers hit with the repeated lyric "Hello loneliness" : BYE BYE LOVE
12. Deserve : MERIT
13. Trash : WASTE
18. Kind of rug or code : AREA
22. Geisha's sash : OBI
23. "___, vidi, vici" : VENI
25. Black-tie party : GALA
26. United, as corporations or labor unions : AMALGAMATED
27. Rights org. : ACLU
28. Greek R's : RHOS
29. Film score : SOUNDTRACK
30. Dalai ___ : LAMA
34. ___ Hammarskjöld, former U.N. secretary general : DAG
35. Hurricane centers : EYES
37. "Put ___ writing!" : IT IN
38. ___ Reader (alternative magazine) : UTNE
40. Iowa State's home : AMES
41. Racer Yarborough : CALE
46. "I've got it!" : AHA!
48. The year 906 : CMVI
49. Bit of grass : BLADE
50. Artist's stand : EASEL
51. Holmes's creator : DOYLE
52. Tuckered out : ALL IN
56. Ancient Peruvian : INCA
57. Action from a springboard : DIVE
58. Thing : ITEM
59. Pigsty : MESS
61. "What ___ the chances?" : ARE
62. Singer Tormé : MEL
63. "Norma ___" : RAE


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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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