Apologies for the late post of yesterday's puzzle. I was at a wedding, and one thing led to another ...
This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 34m 12s
THEME: UP STARTS ... each of the theme answers is a well-known phrase, but with the "start" letter moved "up" one place in the alphabet e.g. FAST OF EDEN (East of Eden), TENT PACKING (sent packing)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 ILENE (ELENE), NGAIO (NGAEO)
1. "Silas Marner" foundling : EPPIE
"Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe" was written by George Eliot and published in 1861. There's an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role. Eppie is a young, orphaned child that he takes under his wing, and in the BBC dramatization she is played by Patsy Kensit.
6. They're schlepped on tours : AMPS
An electric guitar needs an amplifier to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a powerful enough signal for a loudspeaker.
10. Bruce who played Watson in Sherlock Holmes films : NIGEL
Nigel Bruce was a British actor, best known for playing Dr. Watson in the series of "Sherlock Homes" films starring Basil Rathbone in the title role. Bruce also played an excellent supporting role in the Hitchcock film "Suspicion". Nigel Bruce lived in Los Angeles, and for years was the captain of the Hollywood Cricket Club. Other members of the club (that still exists today) were, Ronald Coleman, Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, David Niven and Sherlock himself, Basil Rathbone.
19. PBS figure from 1968 to 2001 : FRED ROGERS
The TV show starring Fred Rogers is the second longest running series on PBS television, after that other iconic children's show, "Sesame Street".
21. Eyes : OCULI
Oculus is the Latin word for "eye".
23. Cause for Adam to refuse the apple? : FAST OF EDEN
East of Eden ...
John Steinbeck considered "East of Eden" his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.
25. Weapon in Clue : ROPE
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland, as outside the US Clue is marketed as "Cluedo". Cluedo was introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer, Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), the weapons are a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it's a fabulous game, a must during the holidays.
26. Feature of some Greek buildings : STOA
A stoa was a covered walkway in Ancient Greek architecture. They usually consisted of columns lining the side of a building or buildings, with another row of columns defining the other side of the walkway. The columns supported a roof. Often stoae would surround marketplaces in large cities.
27. Feudal holding : FIEF
In the days of feudalism, a "fief" was basically a "fee" (the words "fee" and "fief" have the same origins) paid by a Lord in exchange for some benefit to him, perhaps loyalty, or military service. The fief itself was often land granted by the Lord.
28. Precamping preparation? : TENT PACKING
Sent packing ...
30. Tests for srs. : GRES
Passing the Graduate Record Examination is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.
32. One-time connection : AT A
One (at a) time ...
34. BMI rival : ASCAP
ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) collects licence fees for musicians and distributes royalties to composers whose works have been performed. So does BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated).
35. Christmas, for Christians? : SEASON TO BELIEVE
Reason to Believe ...
"Reason to Believe" was written and recorded by American folk singer Tim Hardin in 1965. More famously, Rod Stewart's cover version made it to the top of the charts in 1971, released as a double A-side with "Maggie May".
41. Alibi, e.g. : CLAIM
"Alibi" is the Latin word for "elsewhere", as in I "claim" that I was "elsewhere" when the crime was committed ... I have an "alibi".
45. Antique restorer's need, for short : TLC
Tender Loving Care.
46. Locale in a 1968 Beatles song : USSR
By the time the Beatles recorded "Back in the U.S.S.R", they were having a lot of problems working with each other. The song was recorded in 1968, with band formally dissolving in 1970. Tensions were so great during the recording of "Back in the U.S.S.R" that Ringo Starr actually stormed out saying that he had quit. The remaining three Beatles made the recording without Ringo, with drums being played mainly by Paul McCartney, but there are also drum tracks on the final cut by both George Harrison and John Lennon.
47. Beaks : NIBS
"Nib" is a Scottish variant of the Old English word "neb", with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of "nib" dates back to the 14th century, with the usage of "nib" meaning the tip of a pin or quill coming a little later in the early 1600s.
49. British P.M. during the creation of Israel : ATTLEE
Clement Attlee served was leader of Britain's Labour Party and served as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government during the war years under the leadership of Winston Churchill, a Conservative. Attlee swept into power right after WWII in a landslide victory over Churchill, and was responsible for major changes not only Britain but around the waning British Empire. It was under Attlee that former British colonies like India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Jordan became independent. Also, the Palestine Mandate was terminated in 1948, and the state of Israel was formally created the very next day.
51. Bountiful harvest? : DREAM OF THE CROP
Cream of the crop ...
55. Good source of protein : TOFU
Tofu is another word for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that: bean "curdled". It is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally, I like tofu ...
56. Saudi Arabian province : 'ASIR
'Asir is a province found in the south west of Saudi Arabia.
57. ___ gin fizz : SLOE
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and is the flavoring that gives gin its distinctive taste.
The ingredients of a Sloe Gin Fizz are sloe gin, lemon juice, sugar, egg white and carbonated water.
58. Article in Die Zeit : EINE
"Die Zeit" is the most widely read, weekly newspaper in Germany. It was first published soon after after in the end of WWII, in February of 1946. "Zeit" is the German word for "time".
59. Robert Downey Jr. title role : IRON MAN
Iron Man is another one of those comic book superheroes, created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. The character has become very famous in the last couple of years, since the appearance of the 2008 action movie "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. "Iron Man 2" was released fairly recently, in May 2010. I'll be skipping both ...
65. Place to pray : APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half dome as a roof, and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for important relics.
67. Independence Day barbecue serving? : CORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
"Born on the Fourth of July" ...
"Born on the Fourth of July" is an autobiography of a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran who became an anti-war figure on returned to the US. The author is Ron Kovic, who is played by Tom Cruise in a 1989 screen adaptation directed by Oliver Stone (for which Stone won an Academy Award). The book title is a play on the lyrics of the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy".
74. Auel heroine : AYLA
Ayla is a little Cro-Magnon girl that is orphaned and then adopted by a Neanderthal tribe, as told in "The Clan of the Cave Bear", the first of a series of novels written by Jean Auel, set in prehistoric times. I haven't read any myself, but they are on my reading to-do list as my wife recommends them. Sounds interesting ...
75. Prefix with plasm : ECTO
In the real world, ectoplasm is part of the cytoplasm of a cell. In the paranormal world, ectoplasm is that spiritual energy that some people claim to be able to see, that emanates from ghostly characters. It's that ethereal shape that is sometimes seen in photographic images that can be interpreted as the energy of some spirit from "the other side". spooky stuff ...
76. Girl in a Willa Cather title : ANTONIA
American novelist Willa Cather wrote what's called the "prairie trilogy", books that tell the story of Swedish immigrants living in Nebraska. The titles in the trilogy are "O, Pioneers!", "The Song of the Lark" and "My Antonia".
77. Shelter grp. : SPCA
In the US there is no "umbrella" society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Rather, there are independent organizations set up all over the country using the name SPCA. You probably have one in your town. There is an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was intended to operate across the country, but it really is focused in New York City.
83. Serving with gâteau, maybe : LAIT
In French speaking countries one might serve milk (lait) with cake (gateau).
85. P.T.A. member?: Abbr. : ASSN
One member of the three word phrase abbreviated by PTA is Association (as in Parent-Teacher Association).
86. Unnecessary part of a jacket? : HOOD FOR NOTHING
Good for nothing.
92. Refuse : ESCHEW
"Eschew" comes from the Old French word "eschiver", meaning to avoid or shun.
93. The Road Runner, for one : TOON
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two, much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best ...
94. Freezer brand : EGGO
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogs. Eggo waffles were introduced in the 1930s, and were remarkable in that a waffle iron was not needed to prepare them. The name "Eggo" was used to promote the "egginess" of the batter, and the name replaced the original "Froffles", a name created from melding "frozen" and "waffles".
98. Ultimatum from a spouse who wants nicer digs? : MOVE ME OR LEAVE ME
Love me or leave me ...
102. Single-celled organism : MONAD
A monad is a single-celled organism, especially on of the genus Monas, a flagellate protozoan.
104. PC key : ESC
The Escape key was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that programmers turned to allowing the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (like printing, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.
105. Some chorus members : ALTI
In a choral music, alto is the second highest voice in a four-part chorus: soprano, contr(alto), tenor, bass. The word "alto" describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing voice. The term "contralto" describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre, among other things. A male (not a boy) voice with the same range as an alto is called a "countertenor".
106. Refusing to watch football on New Year's Day? : NIXING BOWLS
Mixing bowls ...
113. Genesis victim : ABEL
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Bible. It also features in the Qur'an, where the brothers are named Kabil and Habil.
117. 1970s-'80s horror film franchise, with "The" : OMEN
Gregory Peck is a favorite of mine, but "The Omen" is not, a 1976 horror movie in which he starred, and which launched a whole series of movies that I won't be watching ...
119. Nathan's annual hot-dog contest, e.g.? : EATING GAME
Dating Game ...
Nathan's Famous has held a Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4th since 1916, and always at the same location on Coney Island.
122. ___ Chaiken, creator and writer of "The L Word" : ILENE
Ilene Chaiken was the executive producer for the Showtime drama series "The L Word". The show deals with lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living in West Hollywood. The title refers to "the L word": lesbian.
127. Magnetic induction unit : GAUSS
Carl Freidrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist, by all accounts a child prodigy and one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He did a lot of work in the field of magnetism in his latter years, and for this the metric system's unit of magnetic induction was given the name "gauss".
1. Pair of ruffians? : EFFS
The letter F appears twice (as a pair) in the word "ruffians". Nice clue ...
2. Rear end : PRAT
"Prat" is a new word for me, a slang term for the buttocks apparently ...
3. Coin with a profile of José María Morelos : PESO
José María Morelos was a Roman Catholic priest who led the Mexican War of Independence after the execution of the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Morelos met the same fate as his predecessor when he was captured by the Spanish colonial authorities; he was executed in 1815.
5. Suffix with ranch : ERO
A ranchero is a ranch owner.
7. One subjugated by Cyrus the Great : MEDE
The Medes were an ancient people that lived in what is now northwestern Iran. The Medes held sway in the region only for about 60 years, until Cyrus the Great came along and defeated Astyages, the king of Media (not to be confused with Howard Stern, the self-claimed "king of all media"!).
9. 1040 datum: Abbr. : SSN
Form 1040 was originally created just for tax returns for the years 1913, 1914 and 1915, but it just would not go away ...
12. Composer Mahler : GUSTAV
I'm still trying to keep an open mind when it comes to the music of Gustav Mahler, but I find it hard to appreciate. Mahler was an Austrian composer, active in the late-Romantic period. During his own lifetime he was most notable as a conductor, and his music gained in popularity only after his death in 1911, and it is still very popular today ... just not with me ...
15. Property that costs $350 : PARK PLACE
The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of a game called "The Landlord's Game" created in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Lizzie Phillips who created it as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord's Game was actually produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, making him a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.
Park Place is an expensive property on the board that features the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
16. Patron saint of goldsmiths : ELOI
Eloi is the French name for Elegius, the patron saint of goldsmiths (as well as other metalworkers and coin collectors, would you believe?). Elegius worked for twenty years to covert the pagan population of Flanders to Christianity in the 7th century AD.
17. Where to find "Baseball Tonight" : ESPN
ESPN is the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, a cable network that broadcasts sports programming 24 hours a day. It was launched back in 1979.
18. Nicolas who directed "The Man Who Fell to Earth" : ROEG
The 1976 British film "The Man Who Fell to Earth" is perhaps most famous for starring David Bowie in the title role. The movie was directed by Nicolas Roeg, and is based on a 1963 novel of the same name written by Walter Tevis.
28. Shire in Hollywood : TALIA
You'll remember Rocky Balboa calling for Adrian in the original "Rocky" movie. Adrian was played by the lovely Talia Shire, the sister of director Frances Ford Coppola.
31. See 110-Down : ROUE
110. Look from a 31-Down : LEER
"Roue" is a lovely word, I think, describing a less then lovely man. He could otherwise be described as a cad, someone of loose morals. It comes from the French word "rouer" meaning "to break on a wheel". This describes the ancient form of capital punishment where a poor soul was lashed to a wheel and then beaten to death with cudgels and bars. I guess the suggestion is that a ROUE with his loose morals deserves such a punishment.
33. It's WNW of Grand Canary Island : TENERIFE
Gran Canaria, or Grand Canary Island, may be grand, but it isn't quite as big, or populous as Tenerife, the largest island of the group, and the most populated.
36. Figure at una corrida : EL TORO
Spanish bullfighting is corrida de toros literally "race of bulls".
38. Municipal laws: Abbr. : ORDS
39. Maker of the trivia-playing computer program Watson : IBM
Watson is a program still in development at IBM. It is designed to answer questions that are posed in natural language, so that it should be able to interpret questions just as you and I would, no matter how the question is phrased. The program is named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J, Watson. The plan is for Watson to compete on the television quiz show "Jeopardy". I can't wait!
40. Those, in Toledo : ESOS
Toledo is a city in central Spain.
42. Longfellow's bell town : ATRI
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "The Sicilian's Tale; The Bell of Atri", a narrative poem set in the small town of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
43. "The heat ___" : IS ON
"The Heat is On" is a great song, written especially for the soundtrack of the 1984 film "Beverly Hills Cop". I was recorded by Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of the Eagles.
48. Trinity component : THE SON
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost.
50. Sally ___ (teacake) : LUNN
A Sally Lunn bun is something that I have enjoyed in Bath in England, the town in which it originated. You can eat Sally Lunn buns at Sally Lunn's House in Bath, a bakery in the town that has a dining room. The name supposedly comes from Sillie Luyon, a Huguenot immigrant that ended up in Bath in 1680, bringing her recipe for with her.
54. Mr. Peanut prop : TOP HAT
Planters is the company with the Mr. Peanut icon. Mr. Peanut was the invention of a first grader called Antonion Gentile, a young man who won a design contest in 1916. Remarkable legacy, I'd say ...
60. Bird that is no more : MOA
Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand, and are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which in turn caused the extinction of the Haast's Eagle, the Moa's only predator prior to the arrival of man.
63. Casual slip-on, casually : MOC
Presumably moc is short for a moccasin shoe.
66. Young newt : EFT
Newts wouldn't be my favorite animals in the world. They are found all over the world, living on land or in the water depending on the species, but always associated with water, even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start of as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants, unlike the eggs of frogs and toads which float freely. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.
68. "Cactus Flower" Oscar winner : HAWN
I remember watching the ditsy Goldie Hawn character on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In". What a great role she played, convincing everyone that she was the stereotypical dumb blonde. Well, what a career she carved out for herself!
"Cactus Flower" is a farce written for the stage that played on Broadway for many years before being adapted for the silver screen and released in 1969. The play by Abe Burrows was itself based on a French play with the same name, just in French: "Fleur de cactus". The movie has a great cast, led by Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn. Goldie won an Oscar for her performance.
69. Alternative to chestnut : ROAN
A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body, with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.
70. 1940 Fonda role : JOAD
Tom Joad is a character in the John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath". The role of Joad was played by Henry Fonda in the 1940 film adaptation directed by John Ford. Ford's movie has a place in history, as it was won of the first 25 movies selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
72. Willowy: Var. : LISSOM
Lissom (what a lovely word!) is a variant of "lithesome", meaning supple, limber and able to move with ease.
73. Ruth, once : YANKEE
Jack Dunn was the owner/manager of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1913, when he signed on George Herman Ruth as a pitcher. The other players called Ruth "Jack's newest babe", and the name stuck. Ruth played in the Majors for the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Braves.
77. Does, say : SHES
Does are "she" deer. Nicely worded ...
78. Blog comment : POST
Well, I would say that a blog post is one thing, and a comment is usually made below the post, a comment about or initiated by that post. But that's just me perhaps ...
79. First name in fashion : COCO
Coco Chanel was a French designer. Perhaps because I am a man, clothes design is not my forte, however, if I had to pick a designer whose clothes I really liked, it would be Chanel. She had a way of creating simpler designs that looked so elegant on a woman.
80. Personal : AD HOMINEM
Ad hominem arguments appeal to personal beliefs and/or emotions rather than to logic or reason. The phrase "ad hominem" is Latin meaning "to the man", indicating that the appeal is to the person with whom one is debating or whom one is trying to influence.
84. Media exec Robert : IGER
Robert Iger is currently the president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, the successor to Michael Eisner. Iger worked for ABC when it was taken over by Disney in 1996, and in 1999 he was named president of Walt Disney International. He is doing okay for himself. He earned more that $29 million in 2009.
89. Great Lakes mnemonic : HOMES
Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior.
91. Perfectly : TO A T
The phrase "to a T" can also be written as "to a tee", and has been around at least since 1693.
95. There's a national park named for one : GLACIER
The beautiful Glacier National Park has been a park since 1910, and covers over one million acres of Montana.
98. Old phone company nickname : MA BELL
The term "Ma Bell" was of course used to describe the monopoly led by the American Bell Telephone Company and AT&T, that controlled telephone service right across the country. The name "Bell" is after Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the first practical telephone.
100. Station identification? : OCTANE
The difference between a a premium and regular gasoline rating is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance to the gasoline to auto-igniting, it's resistance to igniting just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable, as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. When ignition occurs before the spark is created, the phenomenon created is called "knocking".
101. Alternative to Cialis : VIAGRA
Cialis and Viagra are not just brands competing against each other, they also have differing active ingredients. Viagra is a trade name for Sildenafil citrate, and Cialis is tadalafil. Both drugs are used to treat erectile dysfunction, and more recently for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension.
103. Marsh of mysteries : NGAIO
Dame Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand crime writer. She is known as one of the four original "Queens of Crime", namely: Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, and Marsh. All her novels features her hero, a British CID detective, Roderick Alleyn.
107. Big picture? : IMAX
The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo 67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.
108. Lawless role : XENA
Lucy Lawless is a New Zealand actress (and singer), famous for playing the title role in TV;s "Xena: Warrior Princess". Lawless first played the Xena character in a made-for-TV movie called Hercules and the Amazon Women, and later played the character again in a series called "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys". Xena became so popular that a series was built around the character, with Lawless retained for the role.
109. Shiraz, for one : WINE
Shiraz is another name for the grape better known as Syrah. The Shiraz name is most widely used in Australia, and also in South Africa and Canada.
The Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, and sold as the Contour in some markets, and its derivative products are still around today.
114. "On&On" singer Erykah : BADU
Erykah Badu is the stage name of Erica Wright, an American "neo-soul" singer. She gained some notoriety in March of 2010 when she shot a scene for a music video in Dallas. In the scene, she walks to the spot where President Kennedy was assassinated, removing her clothes until she is nude, and then falls to the ground as if she has been shot in the head. For that stunt she was charged with disorderly conduct.
115. CPR experts : EMTS
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation used to involve the simultaneous compression of the chest to pump blood using the heart, and artificial respiration by blowing air into the lungs. Nowadays emergency services are placing more emphasis on the heart compressions, and less on the artificial respiration (I just discovered).
119. Winter hazard in Munich : EIS
Eis: the German word for "ice".