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0611-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Jun 17, Sunday





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CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: Charles M. Deber
THEME: Think Twice
We have two types of themed answers today. One type defines other themed answers, and the second type are examples of the first type. The trick is that each example suits two different defining answers. I explained that badly, I know, so hopefully the full list will help:
22A. 7- and 112-Across : BASEBALL TERMS
7A. Example of 22- and of 65-Across : HOMER
112A. Example of 83- and 22-Across : DIAMOND

47A. 116-Across and 96-Down : HAND TOOLS
116A. Example of 108- and 47-Across : PLANE
96D. Example of 47- and of 83-Across : SPADE

65A. 7- and 31-Across : FAMOUS POETS
7A. Example of 22- and of 65-Across : HOMER
31A. Example of 65-Across and 39-Down : FROST

83A. 112-Across and 96-Down : CARD SUITS
112A. Example of 83- and 22-Across : DIAMOND
96D. Example of 47- and of 83-Across : SPADE

108A. 93- and 116-Across : MEANS OF TRAVEL
93A. Example of 34-Down and 108-Across : TRAIN
116A. Example of 108- and 47-Across : PLANE

34D. 93-Across and 15-Down : BRIDAL THINGS
93A. Example of 34-Down and 108-Across : TRAIN
15D. Example of 39- and 34-Down : SHOWER

39D. 31-Across and 15-Down : WEATHER WORDS
31A. Example of 65-Across and 39-Down : FROST
15D. Example of 39- and 34-Down : SHOWER

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 21m 03s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2

  • DRI (Dry!)
  • CARIOU (Caryou)


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

19. Opposites of alphas : OMEGAS
The Greek alphabet starts with the letter “alpha”, and ends with the letter “omega”.

24. Flashing lights : STROBES
A strobe light is a device that produces regular flashes, like the light on top of a police car. The term derives from the Greek “strobos” meaning “twisting, whirling”.

29. Naval engineer : SEABEE
The Seabees are members of the Construction Battalions (CB) of the US Navy, from which the name "Seabee" originates. There's a great 1944 movie called "The Fighting Seabees" starring John Wayne that tells the story of the birth of the Seabees during WWII. The Seabees’ official motto is “Construimus. Batuimus”, Latin for “We build. We fight.” The group’s unofficial motto is “Can Do!”

37. Org. for ex-G.I.s : VFW
The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization (VFW) is the largest association in the country of US combat veterans.

40. Diddley and Derek : BOS
“Bo Diddley” was the stage name of Ellas Otha Bates, the celebrated R&B artist.

Bo Derek’s most famous role was in the comedy film from 1979 titled “10”, in which she starred opposite Dudley Moore. Born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, California, she started a romantic relationship when she was 16 with actor and director John Derek, who was thirty years her senior. The couple moved to Germany in order to avoid the statutory rape laws in California, eventually returning to the US to marry in 1976, when Cathleen was 20. Around the same time, she changed her name to Bo Derek.

41. Farewells in Florence : CIAOS
“Ciao” is the Italian for "'bye". "Arrivederci" is more formal, and translates as "goodbye".

Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region in Italy. Something from or related to Florence is described as “Florentine”. The city is known as “Firenze” in Italian.

44. First lady before Bess : ELEANOR
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the daughter of Elliot, brother to President Theodore Roosevelt. “Eleanor” met Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was her father’s fifth cousin, in 1902. The two started “walking out together” the following year after they both attended a White House dinner with President Roosevelt.

Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

49. Levin who wrote "A Kiss Before Dying" : IRA
As well as writing novels, Ira Levin was a dramatist and a songwriter. Levin’s first novel was “A Kiss Before Dying”, and his most famous work was “Rosemary’s Baby” which became a Hollywood hit. His best known play is “Deathtrap”, a production that is often seen in local theater (I’ve seen it a couple of times around here). “Deathtrap” was also was a successful movie, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. My favorite of Levin’s novels though are “The Boys from Brazil” and “The Stepford Wives”.

50. Silver, for example, in the opening to TV's "The Lone Ranger" : REARER
Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was called Silver and Tonto’s mount was named Scout. In the earlier shows, Tonto rode a horse called White Feller.

51. Torah receptacles : ARKS
The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which are stored the Torah scrolls. The word "Torah" best translates as "teaching", I am told.

52. A professional may need one to practice: Abbr. : LIC
License (lic.)

56. Caribbean land whose capital is St. George's : GRENADA
Grenada is an island nation in the British Commonwealth (or Commonwealth Realm, as it now called). When President Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada in 1983, after a pro-communist coup, the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II and her government were not amused …

59. It'll knock you out : ETHER
Ethers are a whole class of organic compounds, but in the vernacular “ether” is specifically diethyl ether. Diethyl ether was once very popular as a general anesthetic.

60. Ricochet : CAROM
A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

67. "So long," for short : TTYL
Talk to you later (TTYL)

71. Like Odin or Thor : NORSE
In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin's wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term "Friday" (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin's son was Thor, and his name gave us the term "Thursday". Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday”, from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

74. "Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" is the German for "Do you speak German?"

75. Lowest points : NADIRS
The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

76. Car for which you "Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her whine," in a 1964 hit : GTO
The 1964 song “G.T.O” was the debut recording for the surf rock group from the sixties known as Ronny & the Daytonas.

78. Land in the Seine : ILE
There are two famous “îles” (islands) in the middle of the River Seine in Paris, one being the Île de la Cité, and the other Île Saint-Louis. Île de la Cité is the most renowned of the two, as it is home to the cathedral of Notre Dame.

79. "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 …

89. Not esos or estos : OTROS
In Spanish, if it’s not “esto” (this) or “eso” (that) then it’s the “otro” (other).

90. Coiled killer : BOA
Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

91. Nikon product, for short : SLR
SLR stands for "single lens reflex". Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

Nikon was founded in 1917 with the merger of three companies making various optical devices. After the merger, the company’s main output was lenses (including the first lenses for Canon cameras, before Canon made its own). During the war, Nikon sales grew rapidly as the company focused on (pun!) equipment for the military including periscopes and bomb sights.

92. "___ Rebel" (1962 #1 hit) : HE'S A
Gene Pitney wrote the sixties hit song “He’s a Rebel”, and he intended it to be recorded by the Shirelles. The Shirelles passed on the song, and so producer Phil Spector gave the song to the Crystals. At the time the song’s recording was scheduled, the Crystals were on tour so Spector had Darlene Love perform the song in the studio, backed by the Blossoms. But when the recording was released, the song was credited to the Crystals and they had to add it to their concert repertoire. So, the Crystals had a number one hit that they didn’t even record!

94. Dimes, essentially : TENTHS
The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

100. "Othello" traitor : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare's “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello's wife.

101. Milky gems : OPALS
An opal is often described as having a milky iridescence, known as "opalescence".

113. "Little Women" author : 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.

115. Dead Sea Scrolls sect : ESSENES
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered over a period of years, between 1947 and 1956, in eleven caves on the shores of the Dead Sea. The scrolls are believed to have been written by an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, although this has been called into question recently. Many of the texts are copies of writings from the Hebrew Bible.

Down
1. Desert crossed by the Silk Road : GOBI
The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.

The Silk Road was a network of trading routes that crossed North Africa and Asia, connecting Europe to West Asia. The routes get the name from the lucrative trade in silk from China.

2. Gulf state : OMAN
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

4. Writer/critic James and family : AGEES
James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

5. Animal with luxurious fur : SABLE
Sables are small mammals about two feet long that are found right across northern Europe and northern Asia. The sable’s pelt is highly prized in the fur trade. Sable is unique among furs in that it feels smooth no matter which direction it is stroked.

6. Org. with a "3-1-1" rule : TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.

7. Twenty-one words : HIT ME
The game of “twenty-one” was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “ventiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

10. Blight victim : ELM
Dutch elm disease is a fungus devastating to all species of elm trees that is transmitted by the elm bark beetle. The disease is thought to have originated in Asia and is now rampant in Europe and North America. Even though there is a hybrid of elm known as the Dutch elm, the disease isn't named after the tree. Rather, the disease is called "Dutch" as it was identified in 1921 by a phytopathologist (plant pathologist) in the Netherlands.

14. Razor brand : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

16. Lang. heard in Haifa : HEB
Hebrew (Heb.)

Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel and the largest city in the north of the country. Haifa is built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, and is a Mediterranean seaport.

18. ___ Moines : DES
The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others do contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

28. Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

Petro-Canada started out life as a government-owned corporation in 1976. Petro-Canada is now a brand name of Suncor Energy.

31. Squealer : FINK
A “fink” is an informer, someone who rats out his or her cohorts.

32. They may be high in a fallout zone : RADS
A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels that is largely obsolete now. The “rad” has been superseded by the “rem”.

35. When repeated, a Polynesian getaway : BORA
Bora Bora is one of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The name “Bora Bora” is imitative of the Tahitian name for the island and should really be pronounced “pora pora”. “Bora bora” translates as “first born”.

41. Len of stage and screen : CARIOU
Len Cariou is a Canadian actor who is famous for his Broadway portrayal of “Sweeney Todd”. I most recognize him from supporting roles in “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Thirteen Days”, two great movies.

43. 13 1/2" gold-plated figure : OSCAR
Legend has it that actor Emilio Fernández was the model for the Oscar statuette. Cedric Gibbons, art director at MGM, created the design and supposedly convinced a reluctant Fernández to pose nude for “Oscar”.

45. Hall of fame : ARSENIO
Arsenio Hall got his big break with his role in the movie “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy in 1988. The following year he started hosting “The Arsenio Hall Show”, which ran until 1994. He had a loyal group of fans in the audience that had the habit of almost “barking” while pumping their fists in the air. The raucous move became so popular it extended far beyond the influences of Arsenio, and to this day it is still used as a mark of appreciation in some arenas. Not by me, mind you …

47. Upscale London retailer : HARRODS
The famed Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London is very large and very upscale operation. It is in fact the biggest department store in the whole of Europe. The store was founded in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod as a wholesale grocery in Stepney, and opened in the current site in 1851. Harrods was owned for decades by Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, who died with Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

57. Witherspoon of "Legally Blonde" : REESE
Reese is not actually actress Witherspoon’s given name. She started out life as Laura Jeanne Witherspoon. Reese is her mother’s maiden name.

“LEGALLY blonde” is a 2001 comedy film starring Reese Witherspoon as a girlish sorority president who heads to Harvard to earn a law degree. “LEGALLY blonde” was successful enough to warrant two sequels as well as a spin-off musical that played most successfully in London’s West End (for 974 performances).

61. AOL alternative : MSN
The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a web portal.

68. Holt of NBC News : LESTER
Lester Holt is a television journalist. Holt is anchor for the weekend editions of the shows “Today” and “Nightly News” on NBC, as well as the show “Dateline NBC”.

80. Den denizen : LION
Nowadays we use “denizen” to mean simply a resident, but historically a denizen was an immigrant to whom certain rights had been granted, somewhat like today’s “resident alien”.

84. ___ the Explorer : DORA
“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases.

88. Richard Strauss opera : SALOME
Richard Strauss’s opera “Salome” was based on the play of the same name by Oscar Wilde. The opera created quite a fuss in its early performances due to its erotic “Dance of the Seven Veils”.

99. Highest score in baccarat : NINE
Baccarat, in all of its three variants, is a relatively simple casino card game. Baccarat is the favored game of chance for James Bond 007, and it looks so cool when he plays it! Banco!

102. ___ Barksdale, drug dealer on "The Wire" : AVON
I didn't watch the HBO series called "The Wire" when it first aired. We ending up buying all five series on DVD and we watched the whole thing a few years ago. It's is a great drama series, and I thoroughly recommend it. Personally, I think that HBO produces some of the best dramas on American television.

103. Jay who preceded Jimmy : 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.

106. Fleur-de-___ : LIS
“Lys” (also “lis”) is the French word for “lily”, as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

107. ___ Palmas, Spain : LAS
The Spanish province of Las Palmas comprises about half of the islands of Gran Canaria, and several other small islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa. Gran Canaria is perhaps better known as the “Canary Islands” in English.

110. Obama health law, for short : ACA
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Zip along : GO FAST
7. Example of 22- and of 65-Across : HOMER
12. Conscience-stricken : ABASHED
19. Opposites of alphas : OMEGAS
20. It may be grand : FINALE
21. "Hah!" : SO THERE!
22. 7- and 112-Across : BASEBALL TERMS
24. Flashing lights : STROBES
25. What scouts gather : INTEL
26. Intentions : AIMS
27. Donkey's call : HEE-HAW!
29. Naval engineer : SEABEE
31. Example of 65-Across and 39-Down : FROST
33. Subsides slowly : EBBS
37. Org. for ex-G.I.s : VFW
40. Diddley and Derek : BOS
41. Farewells in Florence : CIAOS
42. Take temporarily : BORROW
44. First lady before Bess : ELEANOR
47. 116-Across and 96-Down : HAND TOOLS
49. Levin who wrote "A Kiss Before Dying" : IRA
50. Silver, for example, in the opening to TV's "The Lone Ranger" : REARER
51. Torah receptacles : ARKS
52. A professional may need one to practice: Abbr. : LIC
53. Work unit : DAY
54. Intimates : GETS AT
55. Wash'n ___ (towelette brand) : DRI
56. Caribbean land whose capital is St. George's : GRENADA
59. It'll knock you out : ETHER
60. Ricochet : CAROM
62. Ambition for an actor : LEAD ROLE
64. In view : SEEN
65. 7- and 31-Across : FAMOUS POETS
67. "So long," for short : TTYL
69. Part of a machine assembly : DRIVE ROD
71. Like Odin or Thor : NORSE
72. Titter : TEHEE
73. Some scratchy attire : WOOLENS
74. "Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
75. Lowest points : NADIRS
76. Car for which you "Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her whine," in a 1964 hit : GTO
78. Land in the Seine : ILE
79. "I cannot tell ___" : AvLIE
81. "Nuh-uh!" : I DO NOT!
82. Film critic Christopher : ORR
83. 112-Across and 96-Down : CARD SUITS
86. Dress adornment : SPANGLE
87. Lathers (up) : SUDSES
89. Not esos or estos : OTROS
90. Coiled killer : BOA
91. Nikon product, for short : SLR
92. "___ Rebel" (1962 #1 hit) : HE'S A
93. Example of 34-Down and 108-Across : TRAIN
94. Dimes, essentially : TENTHS
97. Straight : LINEAR
100. "Othello" traitor : IAGO
101. Milky gems : OPALS
105. Admit : ALLOW IN
108. 93- and 116-Across : MEANS OF TRAVEL
112. Example of 83- and 22-Across : DIAMOND
113. "Little Women" author : ALCOTT
114. Ruined : UNDONE
115. Dead Sea Scrolls sect : ESSENES
116. Example of 108- and 47-Across : PLANE
117. "See ya!" : BYE NOW!

Down
1. Desert crossed by the Silk Road : GOBI
2. Gulf state : OMAN
3. Celebration : FEST
4. Writer/critic James and family : AGEES
5. Animal with luxurious fur : SABLE
6. Org. with a "3-1-1" rule : TSA
7. Twenty-one words : HIT ME
8. Give ___ all : ONE’S
9. Damage : MAR
10. Blight victim : ELM
11. Film again : RESHOOT
12. Money in the bank, e.g. : ASSET
13. This and that : BOTH
14. Razor brand : ATRA
15. Example of 39- and 34-Down : SHOWER
16. Lang. heard in Haifa : HEB
17. Before, to a bard : ERE
18. ___ Moines : DES
20. Bugs about the trash : FLIES
23. Toil : LABOR
28. Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO
30. Scrub, as a mission : ABORT
31. Squealer : FINK
32. They may be high in a fallout zone : RADS
34. 93-Across and 15-Down : BRIDAL THINGS
35. When repeated, a Polynesian getaway : BORA
36. What trees do in fierce storms : SWAY
37. Is on the brink : VERGES
38. Passed quickly : FLEETED
39. 31-Across and 15-Down : WEATHER WORDS
41. Len of stage and screen : CARIOU
42. They're often pulled at night : BLINDS
43. 13 1/2" gold-plated figure : OSCAR
45. Hall of fame : ARSENIO
46. A mere stone's throw from : NEAR
47. Upscale London retailer : HARRODS
48. Fatty acid compound : OLEATE
55. One of a pair of best friends in Greek legend : DAMON
56. Heights of achievement : GLORIES
57. Witherspoon of "Legally Blonde" : REESE
58. Fussed over, as a grandchild : DOTED ON
60. Like some diplomats : CAREER
61. AOL alternative : MSN
63. Skeptical response : EYE ROLL
65. Dudes : FELLAS
66. Puts forward : POSITS
68. Holt of NBC News : LESTER
70. Part in an animated film : VOICE
72. "Well, look what I did!" : TADA!
75. Lightly bite : NIP AT
76. Word of wonder : GOSH
77. "Really!" : TRUE!
79. Ear: Prefix : AURI-
80. Den denizen : LION
84. ___ the Explorer : DORA
85. Guide to studying the night sky : STAR MAP
86. What "Mc-" means in a name : SON OF
88. Richard Strauss opera : SALOME
90. Sired, biblically : BEGOT
93. Is disposed : TENDS
94. Need for a professional designer : TASTE
95. "Me So ___" (1989 rap chart-topper) : HORNY
96. Example of 47- and of 83-Across : SPADE
98. Excited cry in a casino : I WON!
99. Highest score in baccarat : NINE
100. Privy to : IN ON
102. ___ Barksdale, drug dealer on "The Wire" : AVON
103. Jay who preceded Jimmy : LENO
104. Big bunch : SLEW
105. Juice drink : ADE
106. Fleur-de-___ : LIS
107. ___ Palmas, Spain : LAS
109. 90° bend : ELL
110. Obama health law, for short : ACA
111. Old, clumsy ship : TUB


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11 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

22:49, no errors. A mercifully easy one ...

Jeff said...

40 minutes or so for this one. I think my official time was 45, but I spent 5 minutes looking for any errors that was keeping the clock running. I never found it. Turns out it was DAMeN rather than DAMON.

Overall a pretty easy one. This is a puzzle that is definitely easier doing online with the relevant squares highlighted on the theme answers. If I had to go back and look through the clues every time like I would have on paper, I think I would have gone nuts.

I'll second the recommendation of The Wire. I saw it very recently on HBO On Demand, and it was great.

Best -

Anonymous said...

I did the puzzle directly out of the NY Times Magazine with pencil. Drove me absolutely bonkers trying to follow all the cross references. Probably spent a little over an hour with about of a third of the time following the references.

Chuck in Sequim

Chrissy said...

1:00:55 with puzzle checking, which was pretty fast for me. Took me a while to get a foothold on the theme, but things went relatively smoothly once I did, and I also enjoyed the theme since I was solving online. I had trouble with the "THINGS" part of BRIDAL THINGS, since I thought that was too general of a word haha. Didn't know SUDSES, NADIRS, VFW, and ESSENES among others, and definitely noticed some clues that were "crosswordese".

Anonymous said...

35:55, no errors. An absolute *slog*, and not enjoyable at all.

Not a big fan of references to other fills, especially when they're not yet even seen, let alone filled in. But to base the whole theme on this kind of gimmick.... not for me.

BruceB said...

33:49, no errors. I agree with previous posters about the challenge in going back and forth between theme clues; but that is part of the challenge of these type puzzles. Enough of the clues were in my wheelhouse, so the puzzle wasn't too terribly challenging today.

55D originally entered DAMON, but erased it, because I, erroneously, suspected the story to be Roman rather than Greek.

As an avid watcher of the Lone Ranger as a child, the opening sequence is burned into my memory. just wasn't sure REARER was a real word.

76A, I was familiar with the song GTO; but, after listening to sixties music for over 50 years now, the expression 'tach it up' finally makes sense to me.

Tom M. said...

Easy but a slog and very annoying. Trashed it without finishing or caring.

Dale Stewart said...

No errors. I think this is the first time I ever got every entry correct while Bill missed a couple of them. The theme helped quite a bit but this is the type of puzzle where one must get a lot of the easy crosses before the theme starts to make sense.

Glenn said...

65 minutes, no errors. I think maybe 10 or 15 minutes making myself loopy trying to keep the cross-references straight. Regardless though, much smoother than the equivalent LAT.

Anonymous said...

I've always questioned whether the solve times people claim are even doable. For instance, Bill, who's been doing this every day for years, and who I'm inclined to believe, says he completed it in 21 minutes and 3 seconds (1,263 seconds). I didn't count twice, but I came up with 140 questions. 1,263 divided by 140 leaves him roughly 9 seconds per clue. That's 9 seconds to read, solve, and write down each clue. Like, seriously, no hesitation at all? Methinks there's something rotten in Denmark...

Glenn said...

@Anonymous
You don't have to read and answer *every* clue in order to do a crossword puzzle. I know when I do these I often read through Bill's write-ups and come across things that make me think "Wait, that was in the grid?" I've found for doing this every day the last 2 or 3 years that much of what dictates times tends to be how much you know right out of the gate, and then how well you manage bouncing around to the different things to pick off things you might get enough clues from other answers to get. Of course, writing/typing speed is a concern too (Bill does all his blog grids online, from what I understand). It takes me about 60-90 minutes on average with these when I'm successful with them, but I'm not anywhere near skilled at doing these.

Then the obvious: If you think Bill's times are rotten, he participates at something the last few years called the ACPT, where he's done puzzles with people looking over his shoulder. If something was rotten, others would know very quickly. Besides, if you think his times are ridiculous, look into some of the times that the people in the top 20 of that thing claim.

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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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