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
COMPLETION TIME: 36m 32s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 ... AZARIA (AZAREA), OLIO (OLEO)
9. What can be a turnoff? : SPIGOT
Back in the 15th century, a spigot was specifically a plug to stop the hole of a cask. Somewhere along the way, a spigot had a valve added for variable control of flow.
19. Sire : BEGETTER
Despite the fact that "beget" appears in the English translation of the Bible, the use of "beget" in the sense of procreation only dates back to about 1200 AD. Prior to that, "beget" meant to acquire or seize something.
20. Ricky ___, frontman for bluegrass's Kentucky Thunder : SKAGGS
Ricky Skaggs is a bluegrass and country musician who is primarily associated with the mandolin, which he has been playing since he was a toddler.
21. Fassbinder film "___: Fear Eats the Soul" : ALI
"Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" is a German film written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and released in 1974. Apparently it is a remarkable movie, dealing with the xenophobia encountered by a young Moroccan (Ali) who is a guest worker in Germany.
22. "Hip Hop Is Dead" rapper : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by the stage name Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. He released "Hip Hop is Dead" in 2006. The song as recorded was highly censored, removing a lot of profanity and gun references. Not my cup of tea, I would say ...
24. What any of the Four Horsemen symbolizes : WOE
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are introduced in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Each of the four represents woe for man, in the form of pestilence, war, famine and death.
25. Jeremiad : RANT
A jeremiad is a work of literature, sometime poetic but mainly prose. The tone of the piece is always that of a bitter lament, as the author derides the state of society and predicts it's downfall. The name "jeremiad" is imitative of the prophet Jeremiah who wrote the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations in which he prophesies the fall of the Kingdom of Judah due to the wayward practices of its leaders.
27. It drops on the way home : SINKER BALL
A pitch called a sinker ball, drops as it leaves the pitcher's hand and heads for home plate.
34. Auto marque of the 1980s-'90s : GEO
Geos were small vehicles manufactured by General Motors, designed to complete head-to-head with the small imports that were gaining market share in the US. Some Geo models that you might remember are the Metro, the Prizm and the Storm. The cars were actually built as joint-ventures with Japanese manufacturers. The Prizm was a GM/Toyota project, and the Metro was GM/Suzuki.
35. Total: Abbr. : AMT
The amount at the bottom of the page is the total.
40. Fault finders? : UMPIRES
In tennis, the umpire's job is to spot faults, like foot faults, say.
44. Far-off discoveries in astronomy : EXOPLANETS
An exoplanet is simply a planet that exists outside of our own solar system. So far, astronomers have detected about 500 exoplanets, most of which are quite large (the size of Jupiter), no doubt because bigger planets are easier to find.
46. "Perpetual Peace" thinker : KANT
Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century, German philosopher. He published "Perpetual Peace" in 1795, laying out what he believed were conditions for ending all wars and creating a lasting peace. The good news is that one of these conditions was to have a world full of constitutional republics, so at least we are on the right road!
48. Co-producer of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" : ONO
Yoko Ono was born into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the Emperors of Japan. Her father moved around the world for work, so she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, then moved onto New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII. Yoko was living in Tokyo at the time of the great fire-bombing of 1945. Immediately after the war, the family was far from prosperous. While her father was being held in a concentration camp in Vietnam, Yoko's mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. But, when her father returned, life started to return to normal. Yoko got to attend university, the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin Univeristy.
49. "... but no more like my father / Than ___ Hercules": Hamlet : I TO
In this line, Hamlet is pointing out the great difference between a mere mortal like himself, and the god-like figure of Hercules. He uses this comparison as a simile for the difference between his uncle Claudius (the villain of the piece) and his own deceased father, whom Hamlet much revered.
50. Russets, often : IDAHOS
Potatoes were planted in Idaho as early as 1838. Thank goodness ... what we do without potatoes?
54. Secured the rights to : OPTIONED
In the world of commerce, an option is an exclusive right to purchase something within a specified time at a specified price. One often hears about stock options, that employees can have. Such employees have the right to purchase company stock at a certain pre-determined price, within a certain time frame.
58. Paris's partner on "The Simple Life" : NICOLE
"The Simple Life" is a reality TV show that ran from 2003 to 2007. It showed little rich girls Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie trying to do manual labor and working "real" jobs. I wonder how they'd do writing a crossword blog?
Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Nicole Richie is the adopted daughter of soul singer Lionel Richie.
59. Fragrant white wine : RIESLING
The Riesling grape variety originated in the Rhine region of Germany, and is used to make wines that are often described as fruity and aromatic. The wine generally has a high level of acidity which makes it ideal for aging, with some examples being proclaimed as excellent at over a hundred-years-old.
60. Voice of Moe and Apu on "The Simpsons" : AZARIA
I can't stand "The Simpsons" but I so love to watch Hank Azaria perform. If you want to see the acting range of this guy, take a look at "The Bird Cage" in which he plays a flamboyant, gay houseboy, and "Shattered Glass" in which he plays a mentoring, magazine editor. Both are excellent films.
61. Legendary Spanish bullfighter : MANOLETE
Manolete (real name Manuel Sanchez) was a famous bullfighter in Spain. A bull got his own back one day in 1947, when Manolete was just 30-years-old. After the bullfighter killed four bulls one day, the fifth managed to defend himself and fatally gored his tormentor.
1. High and low indicators : ISOBARS
Isobars are lines of equal atmospheric pressure on a meteorology map. As such, one can use such a map to tell the locations of areas of high pressure and low pressure.
2. Part of England in the time of Alfred the Great : DANELAW
The "Danes" were a North Germanic tribe that mounted a successful assault on Great Britain and Ireland from about 800 AD. Danish settlers soon followed, bringing with them their own laws. The part of England where Danish Law predominated was called Danelaw, and was located in the northeast of the country. The English king, Alfred the Great, signed treaties with the Danish warlord Guthrum, creating a period of peace, with the country divided between the English and the Danes.
4. Cut : DELE
Dele is the editorial instruction to delete something from a document, and is often written in red.
5. Pique : WHET
The words "whet" and "pique" can both be used in the sense of sharpening or awaking one's interest or desire.
7. Hall with a posse : ARSENIO
Arsenio Hall got his big break with his role in "Coming to America" with Eddie Murphy in 1988. The following year he started hosting "The Arsenio Hall Show", which ran until 1994. He had a loyal group of fans that had the habit of almost "barking" while pumping their fists in the air. The move became so popular it extended far beyond the influences of Arsenio, and to this day can be seen performed as a mark of appreciation. Not by me, mind you ...
8. Capital that was the scene of 2009 mass demonstrations : TEHRAN
After the 2009 presidential election in Iran, there were many allegations of fraud against the incumbent president and winner of the election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Initial protests in the street were peaceful, but soon the demonstrations became very heated, rivaling the famous 1999 student protests. Ahmadinejad's main rival, Mir-Hossein Mousavi held rallies with reportedly millions of people turning out to support him. After many deaths and hundreds of arrests a partial recount was held, and the result was deemed to stand, with external overseers agreeing.
10. Annual journalism award, informally : POLK
The George Polk Awards are highly coveted prizes in the world of broadcast journalism in the US. The awards are named for George Polk, and CBS correspondent who was killed covering the Greek Civil War, in 1948. Polk disappeared in Greece, and was found dead a few days later having been shot execution-style with his hands and feet bound.
11. Mother of Romulus and Remus : ILIA
The mythical figure Ilea is better known as Rhea Silvia. Rhea Silvia was one of the Vestal Virgins, a priestess of the goddess Vesta. As such, she was sworn to celibacy, but she conceived anyway and gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus. Rhea Silvia claimed that she was seduced in the forest by the god Mars. The twins were ordered to be killed, but the servant given the task felt pity for the boys and instead set them adrift on the River Tiber. The twins were discovered on the river's bank by a wolf who had lost her own cubs, and she raised them as her own.
13. Cigarette brand that once used the slogan "Not a cough in a carload" : OLD GOLD
Old Gold is produced by the Lorillard Tobacco Company, the oldest tobacco company in the country, founded in 1760. In the forties and fifties, tobacco advertising was a little different. Lorillard produced a cartoon strip that claimed that there wasn't "a cough in a carload" of smokers. They also said in ads that Old Gold was made by tobacco men, not medicine men. The idea was to debunk the claims by the medical community that cigarettes were bad for one's health.
14. Part of some strippers' attire : TASSELS
I assume the reference is to tassels worn along the hemline of a gown ...
27. Tiny opening in a leaf : STOMA
Stomata (plural of stoma) are pores found under almost every leaf, clearly visible under a simple microscope. The pores take in air rich in carbon dioxide, in through the stomata. Through the process of photosynthesis, the plants generate oxygen, which is released back into the air though the same stomata.
28. Some cheeses : EDAMS
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.
29. Its uniform includes a red serge tunic and a Stetson: Abbr. : RCMP
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the Mounties; RCMP) is an unusual police force in that it provides all policing for the whole country. It works on the national level, right down to the municipal level. The distinctive RCMP uniform of red serge tunic, blue pants with a yellow stripe, stetson hat etc. is known internally as "Review Order". The red uniform dates back to the days of the North-West Mounted Police, one of the forerunners to the mounties that were formed in 1920 through the merger of existing forces.
30. Dyeing art : BATIK
Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in solvent that dissolves the wax.
32. Spinner : REEL
A reel is a device that spins on an axis, a spinner.
36. Formative : SEMINAL
Something that is seminal is creative and has the power to originate, it is formative. It comes from the Latin word "semen" meaning "seed".
37. Get rusty : OXIDIZE
Rust is an oxide of iron.
38. Pop-top spot : SODA CAN
I think that pop-top refers to a whole family of designs for opening the top of a soda can. The oldest method is the pull-tab, or ring pull, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived, but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull-tabs that littered the streets.
39. 1970s Bowie collaborator : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, his most oft played composition (by far!) is Microsoft's "start-up jingle", the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system starts up.
Brian Eno worked with David Bowie on his Berlin Trilogy series of albums released in the seventies. The name reflects the fact that Bowie was living in West Berlin at the time that the albums were produced. The three albums are "Low", "Heroes" and "Lodger".
40. Idealist : UTOPIAN
The word Utopia was invented by Sir Thomas More for his book "Utopia" published in 1516, describing an idyllic, fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More's use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek "ou" meaning "not" and "topos" meaning "place". By calling his perfect island "Not Place", More was making the point that he didn't think that the ideal could actually exist.
41. Volcano in a national park : RAINIER
Mount Rainier is an active volcano in the state of Washington in the Cascade Mountain Range. Native Americans first called the peak "Tacoma" meaning "mother of waters". When Captain George Vancouver discovered Puget Sound in 1792, he named the peak in honor of his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. There have been movements to change the name back to Tacoma, but these seem to have petered out (pun intended!).
42. Understanding : ENTENTE
Entente is a French word meaning "understanding".
43. Fuddy-duddies : STODGES
A fuddy-duddy is an old-fashioned person, a stodge perhaps.
45. It's big in Bordeaux : ENORME
"Enorme" is the French word for "big" or "enormous".
51. Crescent moon feature : HORN
Either ends of a crescent moon are called the "horn", for obvious reasons.
52. Scramble : OLIO
Olio is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew, in turn, takes its name from the Spanish "olla", the name of the clay pot used to make the stew.
53. With 62-Across, subject of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" : SEAN
62. See 53-Down : LENNON
"Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" is a John Lennon song, which was released on the 1980 album "Double Fantasy", produced with Yoko Ono, the last album released before Lennon was murdered. The "beautiful boy" in the song is Sean, the only child that Lennon and Ono had together. The song contains the famous line "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".
55. Till compartment : TENS
What we usually call a cash register here, we mostly call a "till" in Ireland and the UK. I haven't heard the word used much here.
57. Bit of pottery : OLLA
An olla is a ceramic jar, usually used for cooking stews.
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