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: 35m 22s
THEME: Turning Back ... The theme are answers are well known phrases with the letters of the last word turned back (reversed) e.g. MEASURING SNOOPS (spoons), OUT OF THE POOL (loop), PRIZE SLIP-UP (pupils)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Math class, for short : CALC
Calculus ... everyone's favorite ...
5. Future doc's exam : MCAT
MCAT: The Medical College Admission Test.
9. Its slogan begins "15 minutes could save you ..." : GEICO
GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families. Hence the name, Government Employees Insurance Company. It has been a private company, despite the word "government" in its name. The founders' idea was focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays anyone can go with GEICO, which is 100% owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
14. How stocks may be sold : AT PAR
Stocks, and other financial vehicles, may be sold "at par", meaning at the original price, not discounted nor at a premium.
19. Snack with a floral design : OREO
If you look at the design on the faces of an Oreo cookie, it looks like something out of "The DaVinci Code". Ah, now there's an idea for a storyline for Dan Brown!
20. Ship written about by Apollonius of Rhodes : ARGO
Apollonius of Rhodes was a librarian at the famous Library of Alexandria (what a cool job!). However, he is best remembered as author of the epic poem "Argonautica" with told the story of Jason and the Argonauts who sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece.
21. International relief org. : OXFAM
Oxfam was founded in 1942 in Oxford, England, and was originally called Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. The original mission of Oxfam was to persuade the British government to allow food into Greece during WWII in the days the country was occupied by the Axis Powers. The name OXFAM was adopted in 1965, and it was quite simply the organization's telegraph address (remember them?).
23. Taking the dimensions of busybodies? : MEASURING SNOOPS
From ... measuring spoons.
27. Medicare add-on : PART B
Medicare is divided into four parts:
A: Hospital Insurance
B: Medical Insurance
C: Medicare Advantage Plans
D: Prescription Drug Plans
29. Short-billed rail : CRAKE
Rails are birds of the family Rallidae (hence their name). Outside of America, the name rail tends to be reserved for long-billed species, the term "crake" is used for short-billed species.
31. Starting material in coal formation : PEAT
When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because what can form then is peat. If the peat bogs get covered over with sedimentary matter, then over time, pressure and heat can dry it out the peat forming a soft brown material called lignite. Given further heat and pressure, and time, this lignite coverts to coal. So, lignite is a material with characteristics between peat and coal, and if often called "brown coal".
34. Image format : JPEG
An image file on a computer can be compressed so that it takes up less space. Some time the compression is "lossless" meaning even though the file is compressed, and data it is discarded, the image still looks the same. One example of data that can be discarded without loss of quality, is to not bother recording the color information of pixels that are the same color as others. Just saying "this pixel is the same is that one" takes up less space. One can compress files even more if one allows loss of quality. One well known compression algorithm that is "lossy" is the jpeg format. The person compressing the file can decide how much quality will suffer in jpeg format, with larger, compressed files being of higher quality than the smaller ones.
36. Her feast day is Jul. 11 : ST OLGA
St. Olga of Kiev was actually a ruler of the Medieval state of Rus (located in Eastern Europe) from 945 - 963 AD. By all accounts, she was a brutal woman in the early days of her reign. She came to power after her husband's assassination, and ruled as regent, acting for their son. she carried out terrible acts of vengeance on those responsible for her husband's death. Later in her rule, she converted to Christianity, and she was proclaimed a saint for her efforts to spread the Christian religion in Rus.
38. Eminem song that samples Dido's "Thank You" : STAN
Rap is beyond me, but I do like M&Ms ...
41. ___ germ : OAT
The germ of a cereal (like wheat and oat) is the reproductive part that germinates and grows into a new plant. A whole grain has three main parts:
- the germ, the source of the new plant
- the endosperm, the energy store of carbohydrate and protein for initial growth
- the bran, protective outer shell
42. Done swimming? : OUT OF THE POOL
From ... out of the loop.
45. Giving an award to the wrong person? : PRIZE SLIP-UP
From ... prize pupils.
48. Capital of Albania : TIRANE
Tirane is the capital city of Albania. Tirane was made the capital of the country in 1920. The city was seized by the Nazis in WWII, but was liberated in 1944, at which point the Communists seized power. The Communists were ousted in the elections of 1992 leaving a void that led to much bloodshed, and an eventual EU military mission, led by Italy, to stabilize the capital and the rest of the country. Today things have become so calm that Albania is now a member of NATO.
50. Lipstick hue : CORAL
Lipsticks have a remarkably long list of ingredients. Die-hard vegans have to be careful in their choice of lipstick, as most contain beeswax. and the "shimmering" types often contain fish scales. Yuk ...
52. Tofu base : CURD
Tofu is another word for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that: bean "curdled". It is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally, I like tofu ...
56. Indian guy in National Lampoon's "Van Wilder" movies : TAJ
In my mind, the "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" movies "let down" what is a great film tradition. The likes of "Animal House" and the "Vacation" series were really excellent entertainment, but then someone lost the plot, I guess ...
59. Sense : INTUIT
Intuit is a verb, formed from the noun "intuition", and means "to know intuitively".
61. Italian sculptor Nicola : PISANO
Nicola Pisano was an Italian sculptor working in the 13th century. There are many of works still on display and indeed in use all around Tuscany. He created domes on churches, and ornate altars and pulpits.
67. Wielder of the sword Tizona : EL CID
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as "The Champion" or perhaps "The Lord, Master of Military Arts". El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). After acting beyond his authorization in battle however, he was sent into exile by the king in 1080. El Cid then offered his services to the Moorish kings, and after a number of years of building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. However, at this stage El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, making it is headquarters and home. He died there, quite peacefully in 1099.
El Cid carried a sword called Tizona. It is a celebrated relic in Spain, and it can be viewed in Museo de Burgos in Burgos in Northern Spain. The name "Tizona" translates as "burning stick".
70. Slandering a Thanksgiving dish? : TURKEY TORT
From ... Turkey trot.
The Turkey trot was a dance step popular in the early 1900s, often performed to ragtime music. It gained popularity because it was denounced by the Vatican, as some of the positions assumed were deemed suggestive and offensive.
The word "tort" comes to us directly from the French word, meaning "mischief, injury or wrong". It's a fitting word, as tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another, in an action that is outside of the scope of criminal law.
74. Othello, before Act V, Scene II? : LIVING MOOR
From ... living room.
The word "Moor" describes various peoples of North Africa, usually of the Muslim faith. At the height of their geographic influence, the Moors occupied much of the Iberian peninsula, calling it Al Andalus (from which modern Andalusia gets its name). One of the most famous Moors in literature is Othello, the title character in William Shakespeare's tragedy "Othello, the Moor of Venice".
In Shakespeare's play, Othello commits suicide in Act V, Scene II, rather then be taken into custody.
76. "Enoch ___," Tennyson poem : ARDEN
Alfred, Lord Tennyson published his poem "Enoch Arden" in 1864. It tells the tale of Enoch Arden who went to see in order to support his wife and children. He gets shipwrecked, and is lost for ten years, presumed drowned. When he returns, he finds his wife now happily married to another man, his lifelong rival. Sad stuff ...
77. Plum relatives : SLOES
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and is the flavoring that gives gin its distinctive taste.
79. Palindromic preposition : ERE
The three most famous palindromes in English are:
- Able was I ere I saw Elba
- A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
- Madam, I'm Adam
80. Map abbr. before 1991 : SSR
The Soviet Socialist Republics were part of the USSR.
81. Many Maurice Sendak characters : BEASTS
Maurice Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children's books. His best known work is "Where the Wild Things Are", published in 1963. The "Wild Things" of the tale are beasts conjured up in the imagination of a young boy after he sent to bed with no supper.
83. Kazakh land feature : STEPPE
A steppe is a grassland, devoid of trees apart from those growing near rivers and lakes. We would likely call such a geographic feature a prairie in this country.
Kazakhstan is a country that straddles Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is huge country, the largest landlocked country in the world in fact.
88. Professional org. with a House of Delegates : AMA
The American Medical Association was founded in 1847. The governing body of the organization is called the House of Delegates.
93. Loy of "The Thin Man" : MYRNA
High on the list of my favorite movies of all time is "The Thin Man" series starring William Powell and the incredibly attractive Myrna Loy. And I like the films in which she stars opposite Cary Grant as well, namely "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" and "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House".
99. Comment in a women's mag? : COSMO REMARK
From ... Cosmo Kramer.
"Cosmopolitan" magazine was first published in 1886 would you believe? It started out life a family magazine, then a literary publication, and took it's present form as a women's magazine in the sixties.
Cosmo Kramer is the outrageous character played by Michael Richards on "Seinfeld". "Seinfeld" co-creator, Larry David, introduced Kramer into the story, basing the character on real-life comedian Kenny Kramer who used to live across the hall from him.
101. Summary of "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? : INDIANA RECAP
From ... Indiana Pacer.
The Indiana Pacers are the professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, who play in the NBA. The name was chosen when the team was formed in 1967. "Pacers" is a homage harness racing pacers (famed in Indiana) and the pace car used in the Indianapolis 500.
105. Like Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata : IN A
Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major is best known as the "Kreutzer Sonata". The sonata was originally dedicated to Beethoven's friend, violinist George Bridgetower who performed the piece at its premiere in 1803. After the performance, the two friends were drinking together and Bridgetower happened to insult the reputation of a female friend of the composer. As a result, Beethoven removed the dedication, changing to violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, so there is no "Bridgetower Sonata".
106. January 13, e.g. : IDES
There were three important days in each month of an old, Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon, but were eventually "fixed" by law. Kalendae were the first day of each month, originally the day of the new moon. Nonae were originally the day of the half moon. And idus (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, but was fixed as the 15th day of the month. Well, the Ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the Ides fell on the 13th. Go figure ...
108. Site of the oldest university in South America : LIMA
Lima is actually home to the oldest university in all of the Americas, as San Marco University was founded in 1551 during the days of Spanish colonial rule.
115. Character in "I, Claudius" : NERO
"I, Claudius" is a 1934 novel written by Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of Emperor Claudius of Rome. He wrote a sequel in 1935, "Claudius the God". Both books were adapted by the BBC into a fabulous series that went by the name "I, Claudius".
117. Carne ___ (roasted meat dish) : ASADA
Carne Asada translates from Spanish as "roasted meat", and is a roast beef dish.
121. Marion's "La Vie en Rose" character : EDITH
The literal translation of "La Vie en Rose" is "Life in pink", but a better translation would be "Life through rose-colored glasses". Edith Piaf wrote the words to the song herself, to the melody by Louis Gugliemi. Edith Piaf became so associated with the song, that it appeared on almost every album she released. A 2007 biopic about Piaf's life was also called "La Vie en rose".
Marion Cotillard is the French actress that played Edith Piaf in the 2007 movie "La Vie en Rose". She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance, the first time that an actress has won that award for a performance in a French language film.
123. Pious spouse's ultimatum? : LOVE ME LOVE MY GOD
From ... love me, love my dog.
126. Bank manager? : LEVEE
A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth running along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back the river water at a time of potential flooding. The word "levee" is the French word for "raised", and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.
127. Hyundai sedan : AZERA
Th Hyundai Azera was the name used worldwide for the model known as the Hyundai Grandeur in its homeland of South Korea. It was produced from 1986 to 1992.
129. Drink in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : OUZO
Not only was the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" she also wrote the screenplay. The movie never made it to number one at the box office, but still pulled in more money than any other movie not to make it to number one. That record I think reflects that the film wasn't a blockbuster, but rather a so-called "sleeper hit", that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came after the movie, when a spin-off TV show was launched, "My Big Fat Greek Life". It only ran for 7 episodes.
Ouzo is an aperitif from Greece that is colorless, and flavored with anise. It is similar to pastis from France, and has a flavor like sambuca from Italy.
131. Like Ymir : NORSE
132. Ymir, for one : OGRE
Ymir was the founder of the "frost giants" in Norse mythology. He is gruff, ogre-like figure.
133. One-eighties : UEYS
1. Give for free : COMP
Comp ... from complimentary.
3. The Duke of Albany's father-in-law : LEAR
In Shakespeare's "King Lear", the king's daughter Goneril is married to the Duke of Albany.
4. Surname of TV's George, Frank and Estelle : COSTANZA
In "Seinfeld", Jerry's friend George was the son of Frank and Estelle Costanza. George was of course played by Jason Alexander, and the character was loosely based on the show's co-creator Larry David. The name, however, came from Jerry Seinfeld's real-life friend Mike Costanza. George's parents were played by the great Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris.
6. Champagne often mentioned in hip-hop songs : CRISTAL
Cristal Champagne is a brand name produced by Louis Roederer. It is called "Cristal" as it is shipped in clear bottles. The champagne was first produced in 1876 at the request of Alexander II of Russia. As the tsar feared assassination, he ordered that wine be produced in clear bottles so that he could be assured there was no bomb inside. The first bottles were made of lead crystal, and gave the wine its name.
7. Undecided, in a way : AGNOSTIC
An agnostic is someone who thinks it is impossible to know if there is a God, or perhaps more loosely, someone who is skeptical about the existence of a God.
8. Getup : TOGS
The verb "tog" meaning to dress up, comes from the Latin "toga". A tog is an informal word for a coat or a cloak, and back in Ireland, togs are what we call swimming shorts.
9. Suffix for shapes : GON
The suffix -gon comes from the Greek word "gonia" meaning "angle" or "knee". So, a polygon has many "angles" and an octagon as eight, for example.
10. Antiship missile used in the Falklands War : EXOCET
The Exocet is an anti-ship missile built by the French, and often used in combat in the eighties. The name comes from "Exocoetidae", the flying fish. Exocets were famously used in the Falklands War to great effect by the Argentine forces. Air-launched Exocets irreparably damaged the British destroyer HMS Sheffield during the conflict.
12. Cloak, in Córdoba : CAPA
Córdoba is a city in Andalusia in southern Spain.
13. Siberian city : OMSK
We come across Omsk in Siberia every so often. It was the location of the labor camp where Dostoevsky was imprisoned.
14. "Mein Gott!" : ACH
Germans might say, "Ach! Mein Gott" (oh, my God).
15. Wearer of a famous ring : THE POPE
The Pope's famous ring is known as the Ring of the Fisherman. The ring is named after the first Pope, St. Peter, who was a fisherman. Each Pope gets a new ring specially created for him, with his name written in raised lettering on the ring. The ring was used as a signet, to seal official document up in 1842. After a Pope dies, the ring is ceremonially crushed, the idea being that no documents could be backdated and forged.
16. Fruit with a thick rind : POMELO
The pomelo is a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia. Apparently it tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit. I don't think I have ever had one ...
17. Crumbly cheese : ASIAGO
Asiago is a crumbly cheese, named after the region in northeastern Italy where it originates.
18. Netflix movie : RENTAL
Netflix ws founded in Los Gatos, California in 1997. The company delivered it's billionth DVD in 2007. I presume the renter wasn't charged for that movie ...
24. "___ Roi" (Alfred Jarry play) : UBU
The Alfred Jarry play called "Ubu Roi" premiered in 1896. The title translates as "King Ubu". You might have noticed Ubu Productions signage at the end of some television shows (the black Labrador and the voice-over "Sit, Ubu, sit!" Well, that company, and dog, is named after the Jarry play.
33. Bouquet of flowers : NOSEGAY
A nosegay is another name for a posy, a bouquet of flowers. As one might expect, a nosegay is designed to make the nose gay, joyous, with the aroma of fresh cut flowers.
35. Metamorphose, as a larva : PUPATE
A pupa is a stage in the life of some insects. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Pupae can look like little dolls, hence the name, as "pupa" is the Latin for "doll".
40. Sneaker with a Jumpman logo : AIR JORDAN
Air Jordan is Nike brand of shoe (and other apparel), endorsed by NBA great Michael Jordan. The silhouette of a basketball player that features on Air Jordans is known as the "jumpman" logo.
43. Made-up : FICTIVE
Something fictive is fictional.
44. Hit 1989 biographical play : TRU
"Tru" was written by Jay Presson Allen, a play about Truman Capote that premiered in 1989. There is an interesting anachronism in the piece. It is set in Capote's New York City apartment in Christmas 1975, and at one point the Capote character talks about suicide saying he has enough pills to stage his own Jonestown Massacre. The Jonestown Massacre didn't happen until three years later, in 1978.
46. Z follower : ETA
In the Greek alphabet, Z (zeta) is the sixth letter. H (eta) is the seventh.
47. Samoan dish : POI
I am a big fan of starch, and being an Irishman I love potatoes however they are prepared. That said, poi is horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant, by cooking the corm in water and mashing it with water until the desired consistency is achieved.
55. Unit of pressure : TORR
A torr is a unit of measure for pressure chosen to be equal to the fluid pressure of a millimeter of mercury. However, when one is talking specifically about blood pressure, we usually talk about "millimeters of mercury", and not torr.
60. "___ on parle français" : ICI
Here, one speaks French.
62. Family of games : SIMS
"SimCity" is a very clever computer game, in which players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. "SimCity" first came out in 1989, and to this day is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.
64. Classic Jags : XK-ES
In my part of the world growing up, we knew them as E-type Jags, but they were marketed over in the US as the Jaguar XK-E line, manufactured from 1961 to 1974.
Jaguar Cars started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles, back in 1922, when the company was known as Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the the letters "SS" at that time. Today, Jaguar is wholly owned by the Indian car manufacturer, Tata Motors.
66. Piece keeper? : HOLSTER
Put your piece (your gun) into your holster.
70. Brand advertised as "the forbidden fragrance" : TABU
Tabu was a whole line of cosmetics and perfumes produced by the House of Dana. The company's brand names were purchased by a Florida company called Dana Classic Fragrances in 1999.
78. Cuckold's purchase, perhaps : SPYCAM
A cuckold is a man married to an unfaithful wife. The name is derived from the bird, the cuckoo. The female cuckoo is noted for her behavior of laying her eggs in the nests of other birds, leaving the young hatchlings to be cared for by the nest's resident mother. When the word "cuckold" was developed, the assumption was that the female cuckoo was not only "loose" with her eggs, but unfaithful as a partner too.
84. Charcoal alternative : PROPANE
I rarely use charcoal grills, and stick to the more easily controlled propane models.
85. One-point Scrabble tiles : ENS
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Moshoer Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions ... in publications like the New York Times ...
87. "Me, ___ cheerful twinkle lights me": Robert Burns : NAE
The line "Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me" comes from the Robert Burns folk song, "Ae Fond Kiss, and Then We Sever". It is the most recorded song of Robbie Burns. Yes, yes, "Auld Lang Syne" has been recorded more, but that tune wasn't written by Burns, just the words.
89. Torah holders : ARKS
The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which are stored the Torah scrolls.
92. Agcy. that may order recalls : FDA
The Food and Drug Administration was in effect created by the Food and Drug Act signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
97. Egyptian coin : PIASTER
The main currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, divided into 100 piastres (also piasters). The piastre used to the Egyptian currency until is was replaced by Royal Decree with the Egyptian pound in 1834. The piaster continued in circulation, and was pegged at 1/100 of a pound.
100. Bogey : ONE OVER
The term Bogey originated at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England, in 1890, and was used to indicate a total round that was one over par. The name Bogey came from a music hall song of the time "Here Comes the Bogey Man". In the following years it became popular for players trying to stay at par to be "playing against Colonel Bogey". Then, during WWI, the marching tune "Colonel Bogey" was written, and named after the golfing term. If you don't recognize the name of the tune, it's the one that's whistled by the soldiers marching in the great movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai".
101. "... is fear ___" : ITSELF
When President Franklyn D. Roosevelt gave his first inaugural address, he used the famous lines "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear... is fear itself". These were the days of course of the Great Depression.
103. Certain PC storage area : D-DRIVE
The main hard drive on a PC is usually called the C-drive. When you add another hard drive, it is by default labeled as the D-drive.
104. Apple products : CIDERS
iCider? I like apples, but not cider for some reason ...
110. Roosevelt or Hoover : DAM
When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world's largest concrete structure. The dam is named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days ...
The Theodore Roosevelt Dam is on the Salt River, located just northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. When it was completed in 1911, it was the largest masonry dam in the world, and Roosevelt Lake behind it was the world's largest artificial reservoir. The dam was imaginatively names "Salt River Dam #1" back then. Theodore Roosevelt's name was officially added in 1959.
113. Mathematician Turing : ALAN
Alan Turing was an English mathematician. He is deservedly respected for his code-breaking work during WWII at Bletchley Park in England. However, despite his contributions to cracking the German Enigma code and other crucial work, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He agreed to chemical castration, treatment with female hormones. In 1954 he committed suicide by taking cyanide.
116. City in Nevada : ELKO
The city of Elko came into being in 1868 as a settlement built around the eastern end of a railway line built from California, heading for Utah. When the line was extended, the construction crews moved on, and Elko remained.
118. Flu symptom : AGUE
Ague .. fever.
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