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: 15m 15s
THEME: The CARPATHIA answered the SOS signal in MORSE CODE (DIT DIT DIT DAH DAH DAH DIT DIT DIT) sent out by the Titanic. What a clever crossword!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Stop on it : RED
The first traffic lights date back to 1868. They were installed in England, outside the Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled the signals already in use for trains, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for nighttime use. It was of course operated manually, by a policeman at the base. Sadly, one police officer was killed just one year after its installation, when the gas system exploded.
4. Caffè go-with : CREMA
In Spain one might have crema (cream) in one's caffe (coffee).
9. Like some 21-Acrosses : ASIAN
There are only three species of elephant living today, with all others being extinct. These are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant (or "Indian elephant"). As is well known, the African elephant is distinguished from the Asian/Indian elephant by the much larger ears.
14. Headbanger's instrument : AXE
Headbanging is a practice engaged in by many players and followers of hard rock and heavy metal music. It involves shaking and nodding of the head energetically in time to the music. It's a dangerous practice. Terry Balsamo is a guitarist with the band Evanescence, and in 2005 he suffered a stroke, apparently from a blood clot that formed in his neck due due headbanging during performances.
In the world of music, "axe" is slang term for a musical instrument, especially a guitar or horn.
16. Traveler who carries his own bag : SANTA
Our image of Santa Claus today, is of a plump and jolly bearded man in a red suit. Prior to the 19th century, the image was more of St. Nicholas, a tall, thin man dressed in Bishop's robes. We owe our version to the German-born American caricaturist Thomas Nash. He drew what we would now call a classic version of Santa Claus for an 1863 edition of "Harper's Weekly". That "friendly" image has been with us ever since.
17. See 38-Across : MORSE CODE
Dahs and dits are the sound equivalents of dashes and dots of Morse Code. Samuel Morse didn't invent Morse code, but it took his name because it was invented for use on the electric telegraph invented by him.
20. "___ to Kill" (Sandra Bullock movie) : A TIME
"A Time to Kill" is an excellent thriller written by John Grisham, adapted for the big screen using the same title, and starring Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughy. This was Grisham's first novel, and it was rejected by many publishers and in the end only given a print run of 5,000 copies by Wynwood Press. The Grisham made it big with a succession of great novels, namely "The Firm", "The Pelican Brief" and "The Client", so Doubleday republished "A Time to Kill" and is became a bestseller.
23. Agents' handfuls : DIVAS
"Diva" comes to us form Latin, via Italian. "Diva" is the feminine form of "divus" meaning "divine one". It is used in Italy to mean goddess, or fine lady, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.
24. Mid sixth-century year : DLIX
That would be 559.
25. Et ___ : ALII
Et alii is the equivalent of et cetera, with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names.
26. Starting pitcher : ACE
In baseball, the team's "ace" is the best starting pitcher. The term may originate with Asa Brainard, a star pitcher from the 19th century whose nickname was "Ace".
27. Ming of the N.B.A. : YAO
Yao Ming is from Shanghai, and plays for the Houston Rockets. At 7'6" he is the tallest man playing in the NBA.
31. Lab blowup: Abbr. : ENL
A photo lab might blow up a picture ... an enlargement.
32. Top 10 singer born in Nigeria : SADE
Sade's real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, she grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band.
38. 73-Across, in 17-Across : DIT DIT DIT DAH DAH DAH DIT DIT DIT
The combination of three dots, three dashes, three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress signal in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS, although there is no pause between the letters, so this is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases "Save Our Souls" and "Save Our Ship" are also only mnemonics, introduced after the Morse signal was adopted.
41. Vacation vehicle : JET SKI
Jet Ski is actually a brand name, owned by Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. The generic term, not often used, is "personal watercraft". Most people use the term "Jet Ski", although "WaveRunner" is also popular. That, however, is another brand name, owned by Yamaha.
44. ___ Christiansen, founder of the Lego company : OLE
Lego is manufactured by Lego Group, a privately held company headquartered in Billund, Denmark. The company was founded by a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen, who had been making wooden toys in his workshop since 1932. The Lego company was created in 1934, and the now-famous plastic interlocking blocks were introduced in 1949 and sold as "Automatic Binding Bricks". Lego is easier to remember! The company name comes from the Danish term "leg godt" meaning "play well".
49. Reply to Captain Kirk : AYE
According to the storyline in "Star Trek", Captain James Tiberius Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa. The town of Riverside displays a plaque, noting Riverside as the "future birthplace of James T. Kirk."
50. Quantum Computer Services, today : AOL
Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name to America Online in 1989. As the company went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake of the "America-centric" sound to the name. During heady days of AOL's success, the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That's when users called AOL "Always Off-Line".
52. Chemical suffix : IDE
The -ide suffix is used for anions e.g the chlorine anion is called chloride, sulfur is sulfide.
57. Cong. established it in 1958 : NASA
The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957, a development that shocked the establishment in the US. Within months, President Eisenhower had made his moves, creating the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
59. Well feature : STAIR
The term stairwell is used to describe the vertical shaft inside which a staircase is often built. A good example of a stairwell is the emergency stairs in multistory hotels for example.
63. ___ deux : PAS DE
The the world of ballet, a pas de deux is duet in which the dancers dance together. A classic pas de deux has a particular structure. It starts with a short entree, then an adagio followed by two variations, one for each dancer, and ends with a short coda. The term "pas de deux" is French for "step for two", or I suppose "dance for two".
64. Transmission conduits, of a sort : AXONS
A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron, and the long nerve fiber that forms part of the neuron is called the axon.
65. Responder to 38-Across on 4/15/1912 : CARPATHIA
The most famous action by the RMS Carpathia was the rescuing of the survivors from the RMS Titanic after it hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Once the Carpathia realized that the Titanic was sinking, Captain Rostron made all efforts to assist. He ordered maximum speed, even cutting off the ship's heating and hot water (this was a Cunard transatlantic passenger ship) in order to build up as much steam as possible. The ship raced through dangerous ice fields, and managed to take on 705 survivors. Later, Captain Rostron was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and was received at the White House by President Taft. Six years later, the Carpathia was torpedoed off the east coast of Ireland by a German U-boat.
68. Rightmost column in the periodic table : GASES
Those elements over on the extreme right of the Periodic Table are known as noble gases. Because of their "full" complement of electrons, noble gases are very nonreactive. The noble gases are Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton and Xenon.
69. Indo-___ : ARYAN
The Indo-Aryans are a collection of peoples that speak languages that share the same linguistic roots, traced back to the ancient Indo-Iranian peoples. Included inthe Indo-Aryan group of peoples are the Bengali people, the Gurkhas, the Kashmiri people and the Punjabi people.
70. The Yankees play on it during the summer: Abbr. : EDT
Eastern Daylight Time.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as "summer time". The idea is to move clocks forward an hour in spring and backwards in the fall, so that afternoons have more daylight.
71. What might do a foul tip? : EMERY
Emery is a very hard rock type that is crushed in order to be used as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are used for filing nails, primarily.
72. Talk show host Gibbons : LEEZA
Leeza Gibbons is a talk show host, and host of her radio show called "Hollywood Confidential". In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger of California appointed Gibbons to the board that oversees the state's stem cell research agency.
73. See 38-Across : SOS
1. Beach shelters : RAMADAS
A ramada is a shelter, with a rook and no walls, mainly found in the American southwest. Nowadays, the shelter can be temporary or permanent, but originally ramadas were makeshift shelters constructed by aboriginal Indians from branches or bushes.
2. Strange things : EXOTICA
The word "exotic" means "belonging to another country", and is derived from the Greek "exo-" meaning "outside". Exotica are things that are excitingly strange, often from foreign parts.
4. Rinky-dink : CHEESY
"Rinky-dink" can mean cheap or poor quality, and is an old carnival term dating back to the early 1900s. It may be imitative of the sound of banjo music.
"Cheesy" can mean "of poor quality". Its usage dates back to the late 1800s and is derived from the Urdu word "chiz" meaning "thing". "Chiz" was used to describe a big thing, something important, and our word "cheesy" is an ironic derivative from that sense.
5. Singer Ocasek of the Cars : RIC
Ric Ocasek is an American musician of Czech heritage, and was the lead vocalist of the rock band, the Cars.
6. Rock genre : EMO
Emo originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from "emotional hardcore". Not my cup of tea ...
7. Runway user : MODEL
A cleverly disguised meaning! Fashions models show off their clothes on a runway or catwalk.
8. Joni Mitchell song with the lyric "She was swallowed by the sky" : AMELIA
The Joni Mitchell song "Amelia" is a track on her 1976 album "Hejira". Mitchell wrote all the songs for the album on a car journey back to Los Angeles from Maine. She thought of Amelia Earhart making her solo flight across the Pacific, as Mitchell herself made the solo journey by car.
9. "On the double!" : ASAP
As Soon As Possible.
10. White House girl : SASHA
Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, born in 2001. She is the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha's Secret Service code name is "Rosebud", and her older sister, Malia, has the code name "Radiance".
12. Yom Kippur activity : ATONING
Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement.
13. One way to dress : NATTILY
A natty dress is one who dresses smartly and neatly.
18. Scot's "wee" : SMA'
The Scots dialect word sma', famously appears in the Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse". The lines read:
"A daimen icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!"
which "translates" to:
"An occasional ear of corn out of twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I'll be blest with the rest of the corn,
And never miss the ear you took!"
24. Part of the "De Camptown Races" refrain : DOODAH
"Camptown Races" is a comic song written in African American vernacular dialect. The song was written by Stephen Foster in 1850, and was originally title "Gwine to Run All Night".
35. Snake's place : IDAHO
The Snake is a tributary of the Columbia River which crosses six states after rising in Wyoming. One of those states is Idaho.
37. Mrs. Woodrow Wilson : EDITH
Edith Wilson was the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson. There is little doubt that Mrs. Wilson acted as Chief of Staff for her husband, and some say actually ran the country, for some time after he suffered a stroke in 1919. She strongly opposed the notion that Vice President Riley Marshall should assume the powers of president, and so stepped in herself. Mrs Wilson retired with her husband in 1921 when he left office, and she nursed him until his death in 1924. Edith Wilson is sometimes referred to as the "first female president of the US". Since 1965, the issue no longer exists, as the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution was enacted, providing direction on procedure should the President become incapacitated.
39. Longtime Chicago Bears coach : DITKA
Mike Ditka is a retired NFL player, and retired coach of Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. Ditak and Tom Flores are the only people to have won Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach, and as a head coach.
40. Mexico's national flower : DAHLIA
The Dahlia is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America. It was named the national flower of Mexico relatively recently, in 1963.
41. "The Great Gatsby" setting : JAZZ AGE
"The Great Gatsby" of course, is the 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, that tells of the prosperous life of Jay Gatsby during the Roaring 20s, the Jazz Age. Gatsby develops an obsessive love for Daisy Fay Buchanan, a girl he met while serving during WWI, and meets again some years later after he has improved his social standing.
43. Flower named for its smell : TEA ROSE
The tear rose is so called because of its fragrance, supposedly reminiscent of Chines black tea.
51. Like some church matters : LAICAL
Something that is laic (or laical) is something relating to the laity, those members of the church who are not clergy. The term "laic" ultimately comes from the Greek "laikos" meaning "of the people".
53. Neighbor of Francia : ESPANA
Using Spanish names, Espana (Sapin) is a neighbor of France (Francia).
56. Typical Clint Eastwood role : LONER
As well pursuing his seemingly exhausting acting career, from 1986-1998 Clint Eastwood was mayor of the town where he lived, Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. When he was elected, the President Reagan called up Eastwood and asked him, "What's an actor who once appeared with a monkey in movie doing in politics?". Eastwood appeared with a monkey in the film "Every Which Way but Loose". Reagan appeared with a monkey in the film "Bedtime for Bonzo".
60. Many a gang symbol, for short : TAT
The word "tattoo" was first used in English, as far as can be told, in the writings of Captain Cook. He was describing the marks made on the skin of Polynesian natives, and anglicized the Tahitian word "tatau".
62. Swedish actress Persson : ESSY
Essy Persson is Swedish actress. Probably, the film best known in this country in which she appeared is the Swedish romance from 1971 called "Want So Much to Believe".
66. Catcher's place? : RYE
Clever clue ... as in "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salenger.
67. Goal of las Naciones Unidas : PAZ
Using Spanish terms, the goal of las Naciones Unidas (the United Nations) is paz (peace).
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