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: 37m 18s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Homo found in 1891 : JAVA MAN
The more correct name given to Java Man, fossils discovered in East Java in 1891, is Homo erectus erectus. At the time of discovery, these were the oldest human remains that had been found to date.
15. Noted password user : ALI BABA
In the Arabic tale "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", the magical cave entrance is opened with the words "Open, Simsim", but this mutated into "Open Sesame" in European translations.
17. Deceive : CROSS UP
"Cross up" is a new term for me. The definitions I could find tell me it means "ruin completely", which doesn't quite translate into "deceive". Maybe I am missing something ...
19. "Chéri" novelist, 1920 : COLETTE
The best known work of French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is "Gigi", the source material for the wonderful film starring Leslie Caron in the title role. The novel that brought her celebrity was published in 1920, called "Cheri". "Gigi" followed much later, in 1944. "Cheri" was adapted into a screen version starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
Colette led a very colorful life. She had three marriages, an affair with her stepson, and many affairs with other women.
21. One of its groups is rec.puzzles : USENET
Remember the good old days, when you'd read messages online in "newsgroups"? Well, that system of aggregating public messages is known as Usenet, and it's still around today. Usenet started operating in 1980, some ten years before the World Wide Web was introduced (the system that has taken over from Usenet in terms of popularity). Usenet definitely played a significant part in the history of the Internet. For instance, the terms "FAQ" and "spam" were born on Usenet.
23. Alternatives to Civics : SENTRAS
The Nissan Sentra is a viable alternative to the Honda Civic, I'd say (although I love my Honda Civic Hybrid).
26. Fangorn Forest race : ENTS
Ents are those treelike creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, in his series of books "The Lord of the Rings".
27. What may make you bats? : LATHE
Baseball bats, the wooden variety anyway, are formed on lathes.
29. Literary title character called "a pure woman" : TESS
The full name of Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel is "Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented". When it was originally published, "Tess" received very mixed reviews, largely because it addressed some difficult sexual themes including rape, and sexual double standards (attitudes towards men vs women). I suppose the most celebrated screen adaption is Roman Polanski's "Tess" released in 1979. Polanski apparently made "Tess" because his wife, Sharon Tate, gave him Hardy's novel as her last act before she was murdered by the Manson family. There is a dedication at the beginning of the movie that just says "To Sharon".
30. Ball-bearing article : TEE
A tee is used in a number of sports, to hold up a ball. Golfers use little wooden tees to elevate the ball before "teeing off".
35. Midpoint of morning watch : SIX AM
On board a seagoing vessel, there is a system of watches, when a specific compliment of the crew is on duty. Most of the watches last for four hours (the exception are the two dog watches, that last for two hours each). During each watch, the ship's bell is sounded every 30 minutes, starting with "one bell" thirty minutes into the watch, and finishing with eight bells that signals the end of the watch.
The morning watch runs from 04:00 to 08:00, so the middle of the watch (four bells) is at 06:00.
50. Meat curer : NITRITE
There are many different nitrites, but it is sodium nitrite that is used to cure meat. Nitrites help kill bacteria that can develop as the meat is left to cure. Also, the nitrite ion bonds with the iron in the meat, creating a reddish-brown color, which turns pink (like cooked ham) when the meat is cooked.
54. Like many seals : EARLESS
There are three families of seals. The first is the walrus family, the second the eared seals (like sea lions), and thirdly the earless seals.
1. 1898 Émile Zola letter : J'ACCUSE
The most famous work of French writer Emile Zola is his 1898 open letter "J'Accuse!" written to then French president Feliz Faure. It was published on the front page of a leading Paris newspaper, and accused the government of anti-semitism in its handling of the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus was a Jewish military officer in the French army, falsely accused and convicted of spying for Germany. Even after the error was discovered, the government refused to back down, choosing to let Dreyfus rot away on Devil's Island rather than admit to the mistake. It wasn't until 1906, 12 years after the wrongful conviction, that Dreyfus was freed and reinstated, largely due to the advocacy of Emile Zola.
2. 1953 A.L. M.V.P. who played for the Indians : AL ROSEN
Al Rosen is a former Major League baseball player, who played his whole career with the Cleveland Indians. As one of the best all-time players of the game with a Jewish heritage, his fans gave him the nickname "the Hebrew Hammer".
3. Wroth : VIOLENT
The adjective "wroth" means "wrathful" or "angry". "Violent" seems a tad strong as a definition ...
9. Was a joint tenant? : DID TIME
Cleverly worded clue! A convict did time, and was a "tenant" in the "joint".
10. 1939 Giraudoux play : ONDINE
"Ondine" was a drama written by French writer Hippolyte Jean Giradoux, who published his works between the two world wars.
12. Clerical clipping : TONSURE
Tonsure is the practice of shaving the head, or part of the head, before one can become a priest or a monk.
14. Combining workers : REAPERS
A combine harvester is a machine that "combines" the work that without would take three steps: reaping, binding and threshing.
28. Handle on a ranch : TEX
A handle, or nickname, on a ranch might be "Tex".
31. Entertainer with the gag reply "What elephant?" : DURANTE
Jimmy Durante was a very talented entertainer, with that wonderful, gravelly voice, as well as that large nose that he used in so much of his humor. Durante appeared in the Broadway stage musical "Jumbo" in 1935. In one scene, he leads a live elephant across the stage, and gets stopped by a police office who asks, "What are you doing with that elephant?" Durante replies "What elephant?" and brings the house down every night.
32. A pound of Turkey? : ONE LIRA
The name "lira" is used in a number of countries for currency. It comes from the Latin word for a pound, and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. The Turkish lira has been around since the mid 1870s.
37. Company whose logo is a lantern : COLEMAN
W. C. Coleman started his company in 1900, making and selling lamps in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
40. Castro's "enemy to whom we had become accustomed" : KENNEDY
When Fidel Castro heard the news that President Kennedy had been assassinated, he said the following:
"Everything is changed. Everything is going to change. The United States occupies such a position in world affairs that the death of a President of that country affects millions of people in every corner of the globe. The cold war, relations with Russia, Latin America, Cuba, the Negro question…all will have to be rethought. I'll tell you one thing: at least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, an extremely serious matter."
48. ABC newsman Potter and others : NEDS
Ned Potter covers science and technology for ABC News.
Movies and TV shows from today's crossword
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