I am test driving a new feature at the bottom of each post. There you will find a selection of clips/trailers from movies and TV shows mentioned in today's crossword. If folks find the feature useful/entertaining, I will continue to include it ... Bill.
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'm retired now, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world. I answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at email@example.com, or leave a comment below. If you are working on the New York Times crossword in any other publication, you are working on the syndicated puzzle. Here is a link to my answers to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword. To find any solution other than today's, enter the crossword number (e.g. 1225, 0107) in the "Search the Blog" box above.
This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 12m 19s
THEME: MONOCLES ... the theme answers are all fictional characters that wear monocles i.e. MR. PEANUT, WILKINS MICAWBER, CHARLIE MCCARTHY & LORD PETER WIMSEY
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
5. Mensa figs. : IQS
If you ever learned Latin, you'll know that "mensa" is one of the first words you come across, the word used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means "table". The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford in England, back in 1946. To become a member, you have to score to be in the top 2% of the population's IQ. The IQ score needed depends on the test you use. For the Stanford-Binet test, that's an IQ of 132 or better; for the Cattell test it is 148 or better.
8. F.B.I. operation involving a nonexistent sheik : ABSCAM
The FBI set up a sting operation in 1978, eventually targeting corruption within Congress. Central to the "scam" was a front company called "Abdul Enterprises, Ltd", so the whole operation earned the nickname "Abscam". At the end of the say, one senator and five House members were convicted of bribery and conspiracy. Kraim Abdul Rahman was the fictional sheik that gave "his" name to the front company.
14. Nattily dressed ad figure : MR PEANUT
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. A remarkable legacy, I'd say ...
16. Queen's Guard workplace : PALACE
The Queen's guard (the Queen being the sovereign of the UK) is the infantry unit responsible for guarding the royal residences in London. In theory, any infantry unit in the British commonwealth can perform the duty, but most often the service is provided by the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards or the Welsh Guards. The guard units are usually assigned for a month at a time, with as many as five units being "on call" in any one month. The particular guard unit on duty at Buckingham Palace is changed every day at 11 a.m. in a very colorful and public ceremony known as "the changing of the guard", a major tourist attraction in London.
19. Early second-century year : CVI
The year 106 AD, was an early, second-century year.
22. Suffix with bleacher : ITE
At a sports event, one often sits in the "bleachers". This is a particularly American term for the tiered stands that provide seating for spectators. These seats were originally wooden planks, and as they were uncovered, they would be "bleached" by the sun, giving the name we use today. Sometimes the fans using the bleachers might be referred to as "bleacherites".
23. Dickens character who says "Something will turn up" : WILKINS MICAWBER
John Dickens was the father of the famous Victorian author, Charles Dickens. John was not good with money and spent beyond his means. When young Charles was about 12 years old, his father was locked away in debtors prison, something that clearly had some impact on the author-to-be. Charles wrote "David Copperfield" some 25 years later, a novel that was based on experiences in his own life. Included in the story is the character Wilkins Micawber, modeled on his own father. Charles even sent Micawber to debtors' prison, the same fate that awaited John.
28. Lupino of "High Sierra" : IDA
"High Sierra" is a 1941 movie based on a novel by W.R. Burnett. It's a gangster piece, starring Humphrey Bogart as "Mad Dog" Roy Earle, a bad guy with a heart. Bogie's love interest is played by the very talented Ida Lupino.
29. Dogpatch diminutive : LI'L
The cartoonist Al Capp set his classic comic strip "Li'l Abner" in the fictional community of "Dogpatch". According to one of the "Li'l Abner" strips, Dogpatch was located somewhere in the state of Kentucky.
30. Philosopher Descartes : RENE
Rene Descartes made the famous statement, in Latin, "Cogito ergo sum" ... "I think, therefore I am". Anything pertaining the philosophy of the great Descartes can be given the adjective "Cartesian".
33. Toy with an axis : TOP
A top is a toy that when spinning about an axis (usually vertical, but not always) will balance on a point.
35. Jim Crow-fighting org. : NAACP
The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable I think, in that it actually still uses the old but offensive term "colored people". The NAACP was founded, in 1909, by three white people: suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz.
39. Wisecracking dummy of old radio : CHARLIE MCCARTHY
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen's most famous character was Charlie McCarthy.
43. Mandel of "Deal or No Deal" : HOWIE
Howie Mandel is a Canadian "funny guy". He's making a lot of money these days as host of "Deal or No Deal", and now as a judge on "America's Got Talent". But I remember him on "St. Elsewhere" in the eighties, the first American TV show that I started to watch regularly when I moved to the US.
49. Yahoo! competitor : AOL
Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company "Yahoo!" for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude, unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". Secondly, Yahoo stands for "Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle".
52. Dorothy L. Sayers's bon vivant sleuth : LORD PETER WIMSEY
Lord Peter Wimsey is delightful character created by Dorothy L. Sayers in a series detective novels. Wimsey is a gentleman sleuth living in Britain in the twenties and thirties, and a man who loves the good life. The Lord Peter Wimsey stories are favorites for adaptation by the BBC into radio and television series. An excellent TV version was aired by the BBC in the seventies, starring Ian Carmichael as the lead (available on DVD, and often shown in PBS).
57. Therapists' org. : APA
American Psychiatric Organization.
59. Bucolic setting : LEA
The word "bucolic", meaning rustic or rural, comes to us from the Greek word for a "cowherd", "boukolos".
60. Colbert or Stewart specialty : SATIRE
Jon Stewart is a political satirist, the current host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Stewart started out as a stand-up comic, and took over "The Daily Show" from Craig Kilborn in 1999. Stewart is a great fan of the New York Times Crossword, and appears in the fabulous movie about the New York Times Crossword "Wordplay" (if you love this crossword, you will love this fantastic film!). Stewart actually proposed to his wife using a personalized crossword that he created with the help of Will Shortz!
Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosts his own show on Comedy Central, "The Colbert Report". Colbert's first love was the theater, as he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and landed up on the "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart". He left "The Daily Show" in 2005 to set up his own spin-off, "The Colbert Report".
67. Moon of Neptune : TRITON
Triton is the largest moon of Neptune, and is named after the Greek sea god (Neptune is the Roman sea god). Triton is unique in our solar system in that it has a "retrograde orbit", meaning that it orbits Neptune in the opposite direction to the plant's rotation.
68. Items worn by 14-, 23-, 39- and 52-Across : MONOCLES
69. Any of a comedic trio : STOOGE
If you've seen many of the films starring "The Three Stooges" you'll have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe Howard, Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as "Moe, Larry and Shemp". Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous line up of "Moe, Larry And Curly". Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then "Curly-Joe" DeRita. When Larry had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.
71. One of a Roman septet : HILL
Supposedly, there were seven separate settlements on the top of seven hills east of the River Tiber, prior to the founding of the city of Rome. Tradition dictates that Romulus founded Rome on one of these hills, Palatine Hill, and the city came to encompass all seven existing settlements. The most famous hill in modern-day Rome is probably Vatican Hill, but it lies outside of walled ancient city.
1. First daughter of 1977-81 : AMY
Amy Carter is the only daughter of President Jimmy Carter. She is the youngest child, and has three older brothers. After growing up in the White House, Amy Carter turned to political activism and was very vocal on US policy towards South African apartheid and Central America. She was arrested at a 1987 demonstration, but was later acquitted. Today she has a close relationship with her father, and is on the board of counselors of the Carter Center. In 1995 she provided the illustrations for her father's book for children, "The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer".
2. Charlemagne's realm: Abbr. : HRE
Pepin the Short was the Duke of the Franks from 751 to 768. He expanded the Frankish Empire, and then had to divide it up by law between his two sons, Carloman I and Charlemagne. Carloman I was given lands that were centered around the Paris, and Charlemagne was given lands that completely surrounded his brothers territory. So, it fell to Charlemagne to defend, and extend, the borders of the empire, and it is Charlemagne that we read about today, not Carloman I. And it was Charlemagne who in effect founded the Holy Roman Empire.
3. DDT-banning org. : EPA
DDT is DicholoroDiphenylTricholoroethane (don't forget now!). It was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book "Silent Spring", suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of DDT in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.
4. Maker of Zocor and Fosamax : MERCK
Zocor is a drug used to reduce cholesterol levels. Fosamax is a drug used to fight osteoporosis, primarily in women.
Merck & Co., Inc. is a US company, once a subsidiary of the German company known today as Merck KGaA. The US subsidiary of the German firm was confiscated in 1917 during WWI, and set up as a an independent company that grew into the giant it is today.
5. G37 automaker : INFINITI
Infiniti is the luxury brand of the Japanese automaker, Nissan.
6. Status ___ : QUO
"Status quo" translates from Latin as "state in which", and means the existing condition or state of affairs.
9. Part of many a bank robber's outfit : BANDANNA
The word "bandanna" doesn't have Spanish origins, as one might think, but rather comes from the Hindi word "bandhana" meaning "to tie".
10. 1974 kidnap org. : SLA
The Symbionese Liberation Army was founded by an escapee of the prison system, Donald DeFreeze, in 1973. The group's manifesto promoted the rights of African Americans, although in the 2-3 year life of the group, DeFreeze was the only black member. Famously, they kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974.
11. Native encountered by Columbus : CARIB
The Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies. The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Carib people.
13. It's fed at curbside : METER
"Curb" is another of those words that I had to learn when I came to the US. We call it "kerb" on the other side of the Atlantic. Oh, and we walk on the "pavement", that's what we call the "footpath". It's very confusing when you arrive in this country from Ireland, and a little dangerous when one has been taught to "walk on the pavement" ...
21. Title for Mick Jagger : SIR
Sir Mick Jagger met up with Keith Richards at school when Jagger was only 7-years-old. They were to become one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time, rivaling Lennon and McCartney (some say!).
23. Broom-Hilda, for one : WITCH
"Broom-Hilda" is a comic strip created by Russell Myers that has been running since 1970. The idea for Broom-Hilda came from Myers's business manager, Elliott Caplin (brother of Al Capp, the creator of "Li'l Abner").
24. Home to part of Yellowstone Park : IDAHO
Yellowstone National Park was of course the first national park in the world, designated as such in 1872. Within the bounds of the park is the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered to be active, and gives rise to the many amazing geothermal features (like "Old Faithful) that one can see in the park. The park takes its name for the Yellowstone River, the headwaters of which are also within the park's bounds.
25. Steven Bochco TV drama : LA LAW
"L.A. Law" ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of their most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful "Hill Street Blues" in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot, until it was itself replaced after a six-year run by yet another respected drama, "E.R." The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.
Steven Bochco is a television producer and writer. He created such shows as "Hill Street Blues", "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue".
26. Plumlike fruit : SLOE
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and is the flavoring that gives gin its distinctive taste.
34. Meir and Rabin, briefly : PMS
Golda Meir was known as the "Iron Lady" when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before the term came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (nowadays in Ukraine), and when she was a young girl, she moved with her family to the United States, and lived in Milwaukee. As a teenager, she moved to Denver, where she met married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, at that time in her twenties. She had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, she had already retired citing exhaustion and ill health. She led the country during turbulent times (the massacre at the Munich Olympics, the Yom Kippur War), and eventually resigned in 1974 saying that was what the people wanted.
Yitzhak Rabin was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, and the first Prime Minister to have been born in the relatively young state of Israel. Rabin was a signatory of the Oslo Accords in 1993, along with PLO Chairman Yasser, and US President Bill Clinton. Sadly, this led to his death as he was assassinated two years later by right-wing radical who opposed the Accords.
36. Big name in tires : ATLAS
Atlas Tire Centers sell, you guessed it ... tires.
38. Tiny tribesman : PYGMY
Anthropologists define an ethnic group as being "pygmy" if the average height of the males in the population grow to less than 4 feet 11 inches (150 cm). As size is the only criteria, there are many pygmy populations all over the world.
42. Mess queue : CHOW LINE
"Chow" is an American slang term for food, that originated in California in the mid-1800s. It comes from Chinese pidgin English "chow-chow", meaning "food".
47. Greek moon goddess : SELENE
Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon, the equivalent of the Roman deity, Luna. Selene gave her name to the word "selenology", the study of the geology of the moon, and also gave her name to the chemical element "selenium". According to mythology, Selene fell in love with the handsome hunter/shepherd Endymion, a mere mortal.
48. Saison on the Seine : ETE
On the River Seine in Paris, one might spend the season (saison) of summer (ete).
53. Some eyeball benders : OP ART
Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.
55. Wonderland cake words : EAT ME
In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", she follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labelled "DRINK ME". when she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. she also sees a cake with the words "EAT ME" on it, which she does and she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she says the famous words, "Curiouser and curiouser".
56. Success on TV's "Concentration" : MATCH
"Concentration" was a TV show based on the children's memory game of the same name. Proving that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, the show (on and off) from 1958 to 1991.
64. New Haven student : ELI
Yale is the private, Ivy League school located in New Haven, Connecticut.
Eli is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.
65. Fam. member : REL
A relative is member of the family.
66. Fashion monogram : YSL
Yves Saint-Laurent was French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. He started off as a young man working as an assistant to Christian Dior, at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950, Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army, and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life together again, and started his own fashion house. Remarkable ...
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