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0726-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Jul 14, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Julian Lim
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 44m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … RICRAC (riclac), RENO (Leno!)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Cruise vehicle : MOVIE
Tom Cruise’s real name is Tom Cruise Mapother IV. Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, one of my favorite cities in the US.because that’s where I met my wife-to-be …

14. Airline relaunched in 2009 : ALITALIA
Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. The name “Alitalia” is a melding of the Italian words “ali” (wings) and “Italia” (Italy).

15. A Ryder : WINONA
The Hollywood actress Winona Ryder's real name is Winona Horowitz. Ryder was born near the town of Winona in Minnesota, from which she got her name. Her success on the screen has garnered as much media attention as her life off the screen. The papers had a field day when she was arrested in 2001 on a shoplifting charge followed by a very public court appearance. Her engagement with Johnny Depp in the early nineties was another media frenzy. Depp had "Winona Forever" tattooed on his arm, which he had changed after the breakup to "Wino Forever". A man with a sense of humor ...

16. Resort town near Piz Bernina : ST MORITZ
St. Moritz is a pricey resort town in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and a favorite destination of the rich and famous. “Moritz” is the German for “Maurice”.

Piz Bernina is the fifth-highest mountain in the Alps.

18. "Home Alone" actor : JOE PESCI
Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in "Raging Bull" starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely "Once Upon a Time in America", "Goodfellas" and "Casino". But I like Pesci's comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the "Home Alone" films, the "Lethal Weapon" series, and my personal favorite, "My Cousin Vinny". Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical "Jersey Boys", which isn't too surprising as he is one of the show's producers.

“Home Alone” is a 1990 film starring Macaulay Culkin that has become a Christmas classic. Culkin was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance, the youngest actor ever to be so honored.

19. Hot stuff : WASABI
Sometimes called Japanese horseradish, wasabi is a root used as a condiment in Japanese cooking. The taste of wasabi is more like mustard than a hot pepper in that the vapors that create the “hotness” stimulate the nasal passages rather than the tongue. Personally, I love the stuff …

20. Schubert's "The ___ King" : ERL
“Der Erlkönig” (“The Erl King”) is a poem by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem tells of the death of child attacked by the Erl King, a supernatural being. The Austrian composer Franz Schubert made a musical adaptation of Goethe’s poem, using the same title.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer, particularly noted for his large portfolio of lieder (songs). Schubert is also famous for his "Unfinished Symphony". Schubert's Symphony No. 7 was was left as a draft after he passed away, and as such was "unfinished". However, it was more complete than his Symphony No. 8 which is the one we know as "The Unfinished".

23. Star material, maybe : TIN
In the Old West a “tin star” was a sheriff's badge.

24. Highlander, e.g. : TOYOTA
The Highlander is an SUV made by Toyota that is built on the Toyota Camry platform.

31. Public face : POSTER CHILD
A “poster child” is a person who has become the face of a particular cause or movement. The original poster children were kids who had been afflicted by some disease or were in some unfortunate circumstances, and whose image was used on posters and other media as part of a campaign to raise funds.

34. Scylla in Homer's "Odyssey," e.g. : SEA CREATURE
Charybdis was a a beautiful naiad, a water nymph of Greek mythology. Zeus became enraged with Charybdis and turned her into a sea monster. In Greek myth, the monstrous form of Charybdis lay at one side of a narrow channel of water, with another sea monster, Scylla, lying at the other. Sailors found it impossible to navigate the channel as getting to a safe distance from one monster left them in the clutches of the other. From this tale arose the expression “between Scylla and Charybdis” meaning having two choices, neither of which is a good one.

35. Former hit TV show with the theme song "Get Crazy" : JERSEY SHORE
"Jersey Shore" is yet another reality TV series, one that ran on MTV from 2009 until 2012. The first season featured a group of eight friends sharing a house on the Jersey shore, and the second season had the same cadre warming themselves in a house down in Miami.

36. Eliza in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," e.g. : MULATTO
“Mulatto” is a derogatory term used historically for a person born to parents, one of whom is white and the other black. The usage was extended to refer to anyone of mixed ancestry.

37. "Raising Hell" rappers : RUN-DMC
Run-D.M.C. was a hip hop group from Queens, New York. The trio took its name from two of the group’s members: Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels.

41. ___ de la Réunion : ILE
Réunion is a French island in the Indian Ocean, located east of Madagascar. As the island is a department of France, and has the same status as French domestic departments, Réunion is actually part of the European Union.

42. Phila.'s Franklin ___ : INST
The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is a museum named after the statesman and polymath Benjamin Franklin. The institute is also home to the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, which is beautiful 20-foot tall sculpture of a seated Franklin that was completed in 1911.

45. Queenside castle indicator, in chess : O-O-O
In the notation used to record moves in games of chess, castling with the kingside rook can be recorded as O-O, and with the queenside rook as O-O-O.

46. Zigzag ribbon : RICRAC
Rickrack (also “ricrac”) is a braid woven with a zigzag pattern that is used to trim clothing and perhaps curtains.

54. Smashes to smithereens : ATOMIZES
"Smithereens" is such a lovely word and I am proud to say that it comes from Irish. The Irish word "smiodar" means fragment. We add the suffix "-in" (anglicized as "-een") to words to indicate the diminutive form. So, "little fragment" is "smidirin", anglicized as "smithereens".

57. Undesirable element in the home : RADON
Radon is a radioactive gas, a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

Down
2. Las Ventas combatant : EL TORO
The Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is a bullring in Madrid, Spain. The facility opened in 1931 and is the most famous bullfighting ring in the whole country. The building can seat 25,000 spectators, and was built as the existing bullring in Madrid could not hold the growing numbers who wanted to watch the bullfights.

6. Whiffenpoofs, e.g. : ELIS
The Yale Whiffenpoofs are an a cappella group based in Yale University. They are the oldest such university group in this country, established in 1909. “The Whiffenpoof Song” is the group’s traditional closing number. The song was first performed back in 1909, and has been recorded by many artists including Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby.

7. Common aspiration? : AITCH
“Aitch” is the letter “H”.

8. Region of Italy that includes Rome : LAZIO
Lazio is one 20 administrative regions that cover Italy. Lazio is in the center of the country on the west coast, and is home to the capital city of Rome.

9. Material also known as cat-gold or glimmer : MICA
Mica is a mineral, a sheet silicate. Thin sheets of mica are transparent and are used in place of glass in certain applications. This form of mica is called isinglass, and as it has a better thermal performance than glass it is a great choice for "peepholes' in boilers and lanterns. Mica is also used in the electronics industry, making use of its unique electrical and thermal insulating properties.

10. ___ probandi (legal term) : ONUS
“Onus probandi” is Latin for “burden of proof”.

22. Voice actress in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" : OPRAH
“The Princess and the Frog" is an animated feature released in 2009 by Walt Disney Studios. The film is set in New Orleans in the twenties. A waitress called Tiana kisses a prince who had been turned into a frog, and hen she herself turns into a frog.

25. Horse ___ : OPERA
"Horse opera" is a slang term for a western movie or show.

26. Feature of breakfast ... or dinner? : TOAST
The tradition of “toasting” someone probably dates back to the reign of Charles II, when the practice was to drink a glass of wine to the health of a beautiful or favored woman. In those days, spiced toast was added to beverages to add flavor, so the use of the word "toast" was an indicator that the lady's beauty would enhance the wine. Very charming, I must say ...

29. African political movement : UHURU
The Uhuru Movement is an organization that works for the cause of all native Africans and Africans and their descendants around the world. While focused mainly on the welfare and development of native Africans on the continent itself, another goal is the release of all African-American prisoners in US prisons. “Uhuru” is the Swahili word for “freedom”.

33. Some semiconductor experts: Abbr. : EES
Electrical engineer (EE)

35. Dutch queen until 1980 : JULIANA
Juliana was the Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 to 1980. Juliana lived in exile with her family in Ottawa, Canada during WWII, and became queen after her mother Queen Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948. She herself abdicated in 1980, leaving her eldest daughter Beatrix as the new queen. Juliana passed away in 2004 at the age of 94.

39. Some Renaissance music : MOTETS
A motet is a simple musical composition based on a sacred text, usually sung without an accompaniment. The term "motet" is a diminutive form of “mot”, the French for "word".

40. Baby : COSSET
“To cosset” is to pamper. The verb comes from the noun “cosset” which was used for a lamb that was brought up as a pet.

44. Siouan tongue : TETON
Teton Sioux is alternative name for the Lakota language.

47. Subject of a Will Ferrell "S.N.L." impersonation : RENO
Janet Reno was Attorney General of the US from 1993 to 2001. Reno was the person to hold the office second longest, and was our first female Attorney General. In 2002, Reno ran for Governor of Florida but failed to win the Democratic nomination. Thereafter she retired from public life.

Will Ferrell became famous for several impersonations that he performed on “Saturday Night Live” including President George W. Bush, singer Neil Diamond, Senator Ted Kennedy and Attorney General Janet Reno.

48. Court edge : AD IN
In tennis, if the score reaches "deuce" (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the "advantage". If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that's two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. If the one of the players is calling out the score then if he/she has the advantage then that player announces "ad in" or more formally "advantage in". If the score announcer's opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is "ad out" or "advantage out". Follow all of that ...?

50. Porto-___, Benin : NOVO
Porto-Novo is the capital city of Benin in West Africa. Porto-Novo may be the capital of the country but it isn’t the biggest city, and it isn’t even the most economically important. That honor goes to the city of Cotonou.

The Republic of Benin is a country in West Africa. Benin used to be a French colony, and was known as Dahomey. Dahomey gained independence in 1975, and took the name Benin after the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies.

51. Cousin of a goldeneye : SMEW
The smew is a beautiful-looking species of duck found right across northern Europe and Asia.

The goldeneye is a small, black and white seaduck. Before you ask, there's no connection between the duck and Ian Fleming's estate called Goldeneye, nor the James Bond book, nor the movie. I checked ...

52. Mr. ___ : PIBB
The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Faces facts : GETS REAL
9. Cruise vehicle : MOVIE
14. Airline relaunched in 2009 : ALITALIA
15. A Ryder : WINONA
16. Resort town near Piz Bernina : ST MORITZ
17. Like some migraines : OCULAR
18. "Home Alone" actor : JOE PESCI
19. Hot stuff : WASABI
20. Schubert's "The ___ King" : ERL
21. Place for a shoe : HOOF
23. Star material, maybe : TIN
24. Highlander, e.g. : TOYOTA
28. Taking five : PAUSING
31. Public face : POSTER CHILD
34. Scylla in Homer's "Odyssey," e.g. : SEA CREATURE
35. Former hit TV show with the theme song "Get Crazy" : JERSEY SHORE
36. Eliza in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," e.g. : MULATTO
37. "Raising Hell" rappers : RUN-DMC
41. ___ de la Réunion : ILE
42. Phila.'s Franklin ___ : INST
45. Queenside castle indicator, in chess : O-O-O
46. Zigzag ribbon : RICRAC
49. Change for a C-note, maybe : TEN-SPOTS
53. Tops : RATED-A
54. Smashes to smithereens : ATOMIZES
55. Narrow soccer victory : ONE-NIL
56. Mark of affection : LOVE BITE
57. Undesirable element in the home : RADON
58. Deserve to be listened to, say : KNOW BEST

Down
1. Fixture in a chemistry lab : GAS JET
2. Las Ventas combatant : EL TORO
3. Opportune : TIMELY
4. Cry to a tickler : STOP!
5. ___ bird : RARE
6. Whiffenpoofs, e.g. : ELIS
7. Common aspiration? : AITCH
8. Region of Italy that includes Rome : LAZIO
9. Material also known as cat-gold or glimmer : MICA
10. ___ probandi (legal term) : ONUS
11. Set off easily : VOLATILE
12. Caught : IN A BIND
13. Bringing forth fruit, as corn : EARING
15. Provider of "!!!" : WOW FACTOR
22. Voice actress in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" : OPRAH
25. Horse ___ : OPERA
26. Feature of breakfast ... or dinner? : TOAST
27. Like the lifestyle of many a monk : ASCETICAL
29. African political movement : UHURU
30. Fire sign? : SIREN
32. Check for size, say : TRY ON
33. Some semiconductor experts: Abbr. : EES
34. Set apart : SELECTED
35. Dutch queen until 1980 : JULIANA
36. Reflect : MIRROR
38. Beaut : DOOZIE
39. Some Renaissance music : MOTETS
40. Baby : COSSET
43. Follow too closely : STALK
44. Siouan tongue : TETON
47. Subject of a Will Ferrell "S.N.L." impersonation : RENO
48. Court edge : AD IN
50. Porto-___, Benin : NOVO
51. Cousin of a goldeneye : SMEW
52. Mr. ___ : PIBB


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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 try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

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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