The full solution to today's crossword that appears in the New York Times
The full solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword that appears in all other publications
THEME: ADD A PINCH OF SALT ... all the theme answers are common terms with the chemical formula for table salt (NaCl) added i.e. BAR(NACL)E-CHESTED, SCOTCH PIN(NACL)E, FANNIE MA(NACL)ES
COMPLETION TIME: 10M 52S
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Lost-and-found containers : BINS
I guess one often puts lost and found items in "bins", unless I am missing something here ...
5. It has ringers on its team : AVON
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell, was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers, he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City, and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous "Avon Calling" marketing campaign started in 1954.
9. Brown shade : UMBER
Umber is an earthy, brown shade, and originally described a pigment made from earth found in Umbria, the region in central Italy. Similarly, the shade of "sienna" was originally a pigment made from earth found around Siena in Tuscany.
15. Sauce brand : RAGU
The Ragu brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name "Ragu" is the word for an Italian sauce used to dress pasta, however, the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is "Ragù" with a grave accent over the "u", but if you look at a jar of the sauce, it is spelled "Ragú" on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don't try ...
17. Like a sunken treasure? : BARNACLE-CHESTED
BARE-CHESTED + NaCl = BAR(NACL)E-CHESTED.
20. Third of December? : SOFT C
The third letter of the word "December" is a soft-c.
21. Grp. with the platinum record "A New World Record" : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. Their manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy Osbourne), and celebrity panelist on "America's Got Talent".
26. Secretary on "The Office" : ERIN
When Pam gave up her spot at the reception desk in the US version of the hit sitcom "The Office", it was taken over by Kelly Erin Hannon. Erin, as she is known, is played by Ellie Kemper. Kemper had auditioned for the sitcom "Parks and Recreation" but didn't get the part. However, she did get a call back to play on "The Office". I think it's a great show, and the addition of the character called Erin adds a lot ...
28. High place near Aberdeen? : SCOTCH PINNACLE
SCOTCH PINE + NaCl = SCOTCH PIN(NACL)E.
34. One in custody : WARD
A ward is someone placed in the custody of another, usually by a court of law. For example, in the "Batman" stories, Bruce Wayne (Batman) had a ward, Dick Grayson (Robin). Coincidentally, on the original TV series, Dick Grayson was played by Burt Ward.
37. Spanish bear : OSO
In Spanish, "osa" is a female bear, and "oso" is a male.
38. "The Wizard of Oz" weather event : TORNADO
In the 1939 movie version of "The Wizard of Oz", the tornado scene ended up costing more money than any other special effect in the whole film. The tornado itself was a 35' tall muslin sock suspended from a gantry that could move the "twister" during the shoot. The bottom of the sock could also be moved, as it was attached to a rod below the sound-stage. Fuller's earth was poured into the sock and was blown around by compressed air creating the dust storm effect, and hiding the muslin sock.
41. Eastern V.I.P. : AGA
An aga, or agha, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.
44. One fawning : DOE
I am not sure that the verb "to fawn" can be used to mean "give birth to a fawn", but I guess the idea here is that a doe (female deer) can have fawns (young deer).
46. Restraints for writer Flagg? : FANNIE MANACLES
FANNIE MAES + NaCl = FANNIE MA(NACL)ES
The Federal National Mortgage Association is commonly called Fannie Mae, a play on the acronym FNMA.
Fannie Flagg is the stage name of American actress Patricia Neil. Neil had to change her name to avoid confusion with the famous Oscar-winning actress of the same name. As well as acting, Flagg is a celebrated author, her most famous work being the 1987 novel, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe". She also wrote the screenplay for the screen adaptation "Fried Green Tomatoes" which was released in 1991.
50. James who sang "A Sunday Kind of Love" : ETTA
Etta James is best known for her beautiful rendition of the song "At Last". Sadly, as she discloses in her autobiography, Etta James has lived a life that has been ravaged by drug addiction, leading to numerous legal and health problems.
51. Like some textbooks : ELHI
"Elhi" is an informal word used to describe things related to schooling from grade 1 through 12, i.e. elementary and high school.
61. Cooking instruction hinting at this puzzle's theme? : ADD A PINCH OF SALT
Sodium chloride (NaCl) is an ionic compound, a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na) ions in between the chlorides.
65. Thingy : GIZMO
The word "gizmo" was originally slang used by both the US Navy and the Marine Corps, but the exact origin seems unknown. Nowadays, a gizmo is a general term used for a device or a part when the correct name escapes us (so I use it a lot ...).
67. ___-a-brac : BRIC
Bric-a-brac was a French phrase that was used as far back as the 16th century, but is now obsolete. It was a nonsense term meaning "at random" or "any old way". Since Victorian times we have used the phrase in English to mean a collection of curios, statues and the like. Unlike back then, in modern usage bric-a-brac tends to be a selection of cheaper items.
69. Cry from Charlie Brown : RATS
The characters in the cartoon series "Peanuts" were largely drawn from Charles Schultz's own life, with shy and withdrawn Charlie Brown representing Schultz himself.
70. When sung three times, part of a Beatles refrain : YEAH
The Beatles song "She Loves You" was released in 1963. It was one of five songs that together achieved an amazing feat in the US charts. At one point that year, the Beatles had those five songs in the top five positions of the American charts.
2. Golfer Aoki : ISAO
Isao Aoki is one of Japan's greatest golfers, now playing on the senior circuit. His best finish in a major tournament was runner up to Jack Nicklaus, in the 1980 US Open.
3. Hasbro product : NERF
Nerf is the name given to a series of toys made out of a soft material, designed for "safe" play indoors. The Nerf material is used as ammunition, darts, and balls for example. The acronym NERF stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.
4. Not yet paid for, as a mailed package : SENT COD
Something sent Cash On Delivery, hasn't been paid for yet.
5. Shot put's path : ARC
Shot put, or events like shot put, have been around for millennia, but the first events that truly resemble today's track and field event had to come with the invention of the cannonball. Soldiers would "putt", or throw, cannonballs as far as possible in attempts to outperform each other. Shot put has been in the modern Olympic Games since day one, with an American winning the gold in the first game in 1896, on Robert Garrett.
6. Kilmer of "Real Genius" : VAL
"Real Genius" is a comedy movie released in 1985, starring Val Kilmer. It's one of those clever kid on a college campus films. The final scene in the film is perhaps notable. In the scene, the students destroy a professor's house using laser-popped popcorn. The cast of the TV show "Mythbusters" delved into the movie premise, and showed that even though popcorn could indeed be popped by lasers, the popped corn wasn't hard enough to break window-glass, never mind bring a house down.
7. Kind of arch : OGEE
An ogee is like an s-curve. Specifically it is a curve consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (not necessarily true for an S).
10. Tablets site : MT SINAI
According to the Bible, Mount Sinai is the mountain on which Moses was given the Ten Commandments.
11. Partner of pieces : BITS
As in the phrase "bits and pieces".
18. Number after sieben : ACHT
When counting in German, acht (eight) comes after sieben (seven).
25. Singer with a Best Actress Oscar : CHER
Cher's real name is Cherilyn Sarkasian, born in 1946. In her acting career she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in "Silkwood". She went all the way and won the Best Actress Oscar in 1988 for playing Loretta Castorini in "Moonstruck".
28. Olympic skater Cohen : SASHA
Sasha Cohen is an American figure skater. Her mother is a Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine, a former ballet dancer. Sasha (the nickname for Alexandra, her birth name) can herself understand Russian.
29. Bonk : CROWN
To bonk, and to crown, are slang terms meaning "to hit on the head".
30. 2008 Beijing Olympics mascot : PANDA
There were actually five mascots for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. They were called the Fuwa, a word for "good-luck dolls" in Chinese. One of the Fuwa was a panda, called Jingjing. Jingjing was assigned to the sports of strength, like weightlifting and judo.
31. Irish county north of Limerick : CLARE
One of my favorite counties in Ireland is Clare, home of the Burren, a beautiful, desolate landscape, as well as the world-famous Cliffs of Moher that greet the Atlantic Ocean.
32. Building set : LEGOS
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".
33. Mild cheese : EDAM
One cheese that is recognized by its coating is Edam. Edam cheese takes the name after the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. It is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps it travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. This means that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.
38. Dweeb : TWIT
"Twit" is a word not used very often here in America. It's a slang term that used to be quite common in England, meaning someone foolish and idiotic.
Dweeb is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd: they're all are not-nice terms that mean the same thing, someone excessively studious and socially inept.
43. What Shakira or 25-Down goes by : ONE NAME
Shakira is a hugely successful singer from Colombia. Her name has long been romantically linked with Antonia de la Rua, the son of the ex-President of Argentina.
47. French CD holder : ETUI
An etui is a small, ornamental case used to hold small items, in particular sewing needles. We imported the word from French. The French also have a modern usage of "etui", as a case for carrying CDs.
48. "Silas ___" : MARNER
"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.
49. Julia Child, for one : CHEF
Julia Child was of course the American chef who is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public. During WWII Julia Child joined the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services), the predecessor to the CIA. She worked for the OSS in Washington, DC, Ceylon and China. While in the OSS she met her husband, Paul Child, also an OSS employee. Paul joined the Foreign Service after the war, and it was his posting to France that created the opportunity for Julie to learn about French cuisine. If you haven't seen it, I highly, highly recommend the movie "Julie & Julia", one of the best films of 2009. Meryl Streep does a fabulous job playing the larger than life Julia Child.
52. High-performance wheels : MAGS
Mag wheels are often used on racing cars. They are made from a magnesium alloy, giving them their name. But beware, they are flammable, and have been banned in many motor-sports in the UK.
53. Thor's father : ODIN
In Norse mythology, Odin is the chief of the gods. His wife, Frigg, is the queen of Asgard, and the deity that gave us our English term Friday (via Anglo-Saxon). His son is Thor, and he gave us the name Thursday.
54. Wood shaper : ADZE
An adze, while similar to an axe, is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool's shaft, whereas in an axe the blade is set inline with the shaft.
56. Org. with Divisions I, II and III : NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association dates back to the Presidency of President Theodore Roosevelt. When President Roosevelt's son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States in 1906 with the remit of regulating college sports. The IAUSS evolved into the NCAA in 1910.
59. Pelvic bones : ILIA
The sacrum and the two ilia are three bones in the human pelvis. The sacroiliac joints are found between the sacrum and each of the two ilia.
62. ___ favor : POR
Por favor, Spanish for "please".
63. Pres. initials : HST
Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point, having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn't get in because of his poor eyesight. He didn't have the money to get into college anywhere else. He did, however, study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but never finished. So, Harry S. Truman was the only US President who did not have a college degree.
64. Periods of extra mins. : OTS
Over-Times are extra minutes played in many sports.
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