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This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 35m 58s
THEME: WHATS-IT ... the theme answers are all well known phrases including the word "IT". The "IT" can be replaced the words in the clue to make another well known phrase e.g. BITE IT (bite your tongue), SAY IT (say uncle), COME TO THINK OF IT (come to think of an idea)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. *Your tongue : BITE IT
7. Trip preparation : LSD
LSD is short for Lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. But it wasn't until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that the psychedelic properties of the drug were discovered. Trippy, man ...
14. *Uncle : SAY IT
22. Gland: Prefix : ADENO
Adeno- is a prefix referring to a gland, so for example "adenitis" is inflammation of a gland. "Adeno-" comes from the Greek word for an acorn, presumably descriptive of the shape of some glands.
23. *An idea : COME TO THINK OF IT
25. *The picture : GET IT
27. 1986 parody of a Sylvester Stallone film series : ROCKY VI
"Rocky VI" is a parody of the Rocky films, bit is only a nine-minute long short made in black and white, by Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. The parody was directed specifically at Rocky IV (the US vs USSR one, Rocky vs. Igor), which came out the prior year. Subsequent to the parody, along came Rocky V, and then in 2006, a sixth film in the series, called "Rocky Balboa". I wonder if the producers dropped the Roman numerals to avoid confusion with the parody?
28. First name among the Axis powers : BENITO
Benito Mussolini was deposed in 1943 just a few weeks after the Allies invaded Sicily and started to bomb Rome. The Fascist politicians voted to oust him, and Italian King Victor Emmanuel had him arrested. Hitler selected Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny to lead a group of German commandos in a daring rescue of his longtime ally. The rescuers were towed into Italian airspace in gliders, which the commandos flew into a mountainside close to where Mussolini was being held captive. The element of surprise was so significant, that the rescue was effected without a shot being fired. A small plane was flown in to transport Mussolini and Skorzeny to take him to Vienna. Mussolini returned to Italy and fought on in parts of the country not yet taken by the Allies. As the end drew near, he made a run for Switzerland but was captured by Italian partisans. They executed him and took his body to Milan, where it was put on display hanging upside down for all to see.
38. Dragon roll ingredient : EEL
A dragon roll is a sushi dish made from eel, cucumber, seaweed, rice and avocado. Without the eel, I am sure it's delicious!
42. Greek high spot : MT OSSA
Mt. Ossa is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.
44. Gambler's hangout, for short : OTB
Off-Track Betting is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.
45. Retro upholstery material : BARKCLOTH
The original barkcloth was made by soaking the inner bark of some trees and then beating the bark into sheets. However, there is also a soft, textured fabric made from cotton that is also called barkcloth. This cotton barkcloth was commonly used as an upholstery material.
54. TV "Miss" : ELLIE
Miss Ellie was the matriarch of the famed Ewing family, around which the TV series "Dallas" was written. For most of the series, Miss Ellie was played by Barbara Bel Geddes, and once in a TV movie of Dallas by Molly Hagan. Barbara Bel Geddes left the show in 1984, and was replaced by the much more famous Donna Reed. When Bel Geddes decided to return to the show the following year, Donna Reed was fired, much to her chagrin, and a law suit ensued.
56. Story accompanier : ART
Some stories when published are illustrated with art, I guess ...
57. "A Beautiful Mind" star : CROWE
The movie "A Beautiful Mind" is of course based on a true story, but it is also a screenplay adapted from a very successful book of the same name written by Sylvia Nasar. Great film!
59. Tool for making eyelets : STILETTO
I tend to think of a stiletto as the knife used for stabbing as opposed to slashing or cutting. I suppose this could be used to make an eyelet. However, there is also a Stiletto tool company that makes the likes of hammers and prying tools. I suppose one of their tools could be used to make an eyelet too!
63. Org. with an oath : BSA
As every little boy knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.
64. California's ___ Valley : NAPA
Apparently the name "Napa" comes from the Native American Patwin word "napo" meaning house. You can get an idea of what life was like in the Napa Valley in the late 1800s by reading Robert Louis Stevenson's book "The Silverado Squatters". Stevenson had an extended honeymoon in Napa with his new bride and adopted son in 1880, staying near Mount Saint Helena.
67. Old buffalo hunter : OTOE
The Otoe were the first Native American tribe encountered in the West by the Lewis and Clark. The explorers met with the Otoe (and Missouria) tribes in 1804 at a spot that became known as Council Bluff. The site is now a National Historic Landmark known as Fort Atkinson, Nebraska, as a fort was built there on the recommendation of Lewis.
73. Surgeon's tool : HEMOSTAT
A hemostat is that scissors-like clamp that is used in surgery to close off blood vessels temporarily until more permanent repairs can be made.
79. Rube of bygone funnies : ABNER
"Li'l Abner" was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he want so far as to apologize to his long standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt like the quality of his work had gone down in those recent years.
80. Common cricket score : NIL
I never really played much cricket, but I have never heard the word "nil" used in the sport. You might use the term "nought", "no runs" or "a duck", but not "nil".
84. Curly pasta : ROTINI
Rotini is the corkscrew-shaped pasta that is often used in pasta salads.
86. Writer Anaïs : NIN
Anais Nin was a French writer, famous for her journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. She also wrote highly regarded erotica, and cited D. H. Lawrence as one author from whom she drew inspiration.
89. Weapon carried in a speakeasy : GAT
A gat is a slang word used by "hoods" for a gun. It of course comes from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the machine gun. It was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent the Gatling gun, so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure ...
94. Math operations that yield remainders : MODULOS
Modulos are operators commonly used in computing to determine the remainder of a particular division calculation. For example, 11 module 4 returns the number 3 (11 divided by 4 = 2 remainder 3).
97. Shaker ___, Oh. : HTS
Shaker Heights is city very close to the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. The city takes its name from the United Society of Believers (more commonly known as "Shakers"), as the church formerly owned the land on which the city was founded.
102. "In the Bedroom" actress, 2001 : SPACEK
"In the Bedroom" is a thought-provoking film released in 2001, set in a small community on the coast of Maine. The "bedroom" in the title refers to the inner compartment of a lobster trap (in Ireland we call them lobster pots). The outer chamber of the trap is baited and the lobster lured in. When the lobster enters the small "bedroom" at the rear of the trap is cannot escape.
111. *Crow : EAT IT
112. *A message : TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
116. Prince Valiant's wife : ALETA
There she is again, Aleta, the wife of Prince Valiant. Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called the "Prince Valiant" comic strip the "greatest contribution to English Literature in the past one hundred years". I'm not so sure ...
118. Name associated with fire : ST ELMO
St. Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo's fire. The "fire" is actually a plasma discharge caused by the air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), often observed during electrical storms.
119. *The light : SEE IT
121. Sot's woe : DTS
The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called Delirium Tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is "trembling madness".
122. *Face : LOSE IT
1. Inexpensive pen : BIC
Societe Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced more than fifty years ago was the Bic Crystal, what we now call the Bic pen.
3. Author Janowitz : TAMA
Tama Janowitz is an American writer, born in San Francisco, but who has lived much of her life in New York City. In New York she hung around with the likes of Andy Warhol and became well known in literary circles. Her most famous work is a collection of short stories called "Slaves of New York", which was made into a film of the same name in 1989.
6. Eastern path : TAO
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.
7. Home of Shalimar Gardens : LAHORE
Lahore is a large city in Pakistan, second in size only to Karachi. It is known as the Garden of the Mughals (or in English, Moguls) because of its association with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals ruled much of India from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The Shalamar Gardens are a whole group of formal gardens built by the Mughals using the Islamic style of architecture. The Shalamar Gardens in Lahore date back to 1641 AD, and by all accounts are incredibly beautiful.
8. *The point : STICK TO IT
11. Scorsese subject : MAFIA
Martin Scorcese obviously has a great interest in his Italian-American heritage, and has made lots of films that feature the Italian-American culture, including the darker side, the Mafia. He has collaborated on nine films with box office star Robert de Niro (e.g. "Raging Bull", "Taxi Driver") and lately seems to be working a lot with Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom he has made four films (e.g. "The Aviator", "Shutter Island").
12. ___ Kamoze of reggae : INI
Ini Kamoze is the stage name of Jamaican reggae singer Cecil Campbell. His best known song (though not by me!) is "Here Comes the Hotstepper" released in 1994.
13. Big corp. in defense contracts : ITT
ITT is into more than just defense. It also has a big name in water and fluids management, as well motion and flow control. The company was formed in 1920 from the Puerto Rico Telephone Company and was known as International Telephone & Telegraph.
14. Bob ___, narrator on TV's "How I Met Your Mother" : SAGET
Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.
15. Present-day site of the ancient port city Eudaemon : ADEN
Eudaemon was in its heyday as a shipping port in the first century BCE, but soon after the port was bypassed by traders who made their own crossings across the Arabian Sea, between Arabia and the Indian coast.
17. J. Edgar Hoover used one: Abbr. : INIT
And that initial J stands for John Edgar Hoover ...
18. Fictional terrier : TOTO
In "The Wizard of Oz" Toto is played by a terrier, but in the books by L. Frank Baum, Toto was just described as "a little black dog, with long, silky hair and small black eyes that twinkled merrily on either side of his funny, wee nose".
21. 1973 NASA launch : SKYLAB
Skylab was sent into orbit by NASA in 1973, and stayed up there until 1979. Although it was in orbit for many years, it was only occupied by astronauts for 171 days, in three missions in 1973-1974. Skylab burned up in the Earth's atmosphere a lot earlier than expected, showering some mighty chunks of debris on our friends in Australia.
24. Gillette's ___ II : TRAC
Gillette introduced the Trac II in 1971, the world's first twin-blade razor.
30. Former Chinese Communist military leader Lin ___ : PIAO
General Lin Piao rose to the rank of number two to Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution. However, it is felt that Mao began to distrust him and was concerned about the amount of power that he had amasses. In 1971 he disappeared, accused of participating in an attempted coup. He then died under suspicious circumstances, apparently trying to escape to the Soviet Union when his plane crashed.
32. *A deck of cards : DEAL WITH IT
33. Olympic discus great Al : OERTER
Discus thrower Al Oerter is one of only three competitors to have won a gold medal in four consecutive Olympic Games in the same individual event (along with Carl Lewis in the long jump, Paul Elvstrom in sailing).
35. *The aisles : ROLLING IN IT
40. *Sure loser : DON'T BET ON IT
42. ___ Southwest Grill (restaurant chain) : MOE'S
Moe's Southwest Grill was founded in Atlanta Georgia in 2000, and now has over 300 locations across the US.
43. *A pillow : SLEEP ON IT
46. *An abacus : COUNT ON IT
50. Angkor ___ (Cambodian temple) : WAT
Angkor Wat is a temple in Cambodia built in the 12th century. The beautiful building is iconic in Cambodia, and is featured at the center of the country's national flag.
51. *Lunch : BROWN BAG IT
52. Actress Sonia : BRAGA
Sonia Braga achieved fame in here native Brazil playing the title role in the movie "Gabriela". There followed roles in American films such as "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "The Milagro Beanfield War". She has also played in the Portuguese version of "Desperate Housewives".
55. Wharf workers' org. : ILA
The International Longshoremen's Association.
61. Course calls : FORES
No one seems to know for sure where the term "fore!" comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and has always been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might beheading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry "Faugh a Ballach!" (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling, a game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to do reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!
69. Theater mogul Marcus : LOEW
Marcus Loew was a New Yorker, born into a poor Jewish family. He started out in a penny arcade business and used its profits to buy into a nickelodeon. He built a whole chain of movie theaters, and then moved into the production of films so that he could guarantee supply of films that he could show in his theaters. Eventually he pulled together the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film production company, sadly passing away just three years after he inked the deal.
70. Kournikova and others : ANNAS
Not only is Anna Kournikova a world class tennis player, but she is also a model. She apparently has a lot of fans because her name is one of the most commonly searched for terms on Google's search engine ...
74. 2010 Denzel Washington title role : ELI
"The Book of Eli" is one of those "end of the world" type movies, with Denzel Washington playing a tough guy traveling across what is left of the United States after some apocryphal event.
75. Athletic shoe brand : ASICS
ASICS is a Japanese company that produces athletic gear, including running shoes. The name comes from the Latin phrase ""anima sana in corpore sano" which translates to "a healthy soul in a healthy body".
76. Second place? : TENS
In a number (in our base ten system), the first number to the right is the "ones", the second number to the left of the ones is the "tens", and the third number left of that is the "hundreds".
78. River of York : OUSE
York is the biggest city on the River Ouse in Yorkshire. The name "Ouse" comes from the Celtic word "usa" meaning water (part of the derivation of "whiskey", meaning water of life).
80. *Snuff : NOT UP TO IT
85. G.O.P. elephant originator : NAST
Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. Not only did he create the Republican Party elephant, but also the Democratic Party's donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today.
96. City SSW of Moscow : OREL
Orel is also spelled Oryol. Orel was one of the cities occupied by Germany during WWII. It was liberated in 1943, but had been almost completely destroyed.
101. Classical sister : ERATO
In Greek mythology, Clio is the muse of history. Her sister, Erato is the muse of lyric poetry.
105. Field opening? : CITI
Citi Field is the new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets, and sits right next door to Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the name of course comes from sponsor Citigroup.
109. Soccer immortal : PELE
Pele is the nickname of Edison de Nascimento, who has gone by the name Pele for most of his life. He is now retired, but for my money was the world's great ever soccer player. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads. Pele is a national treasure in his native Brazil.
110. California's ___ Valley : SIMI
Nowadays Simi Valley is perhaps best known as being home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. If you ever get the chance to do so, it is a great place to visit, especially now that you can tour one of the retired Air Force One planes.
112. Nursery rhyme boy who "stole a pig, and away he run" : TOM
Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
Stole a pig, and away did run;
114. Night sch. class : ESL
English as a Second Language.