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: BE QUIET ... all the theme answers cleverly use words that have a silent B, so that when said out loud they sound like other, well known terms i.e. PLUMB TREE (plum tree), SAM IAMB (Sam I am), DUMB DUMB BULLETS (dumdum bullets), PAPER JAMB (paper jam)
COMPLETION TIME: 9m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Org. known for drilling? : ROTC
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when, as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be a part of the new school's curriculum.
9. Soap operas, essentially : SAGAS
As almost everyone knows, the original "soap operas" were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at housewives working in the home. For some reason, the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers, like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that's how the soap opera got its nickname.
17. Where lead weights grow? : PLUMB TREE
PLUMB TREE (plum tree)
"Plumbum" is the Latin for lead, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is "Pb". It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a "plumb line". And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a plumber if one of them was leaking.
19. Horatio who wrote about down-and-out boys : ALGER
Horatio Alger was an American writer of the late nineteenth century. He was a prolific writer of novels for young people, telling tales of poor children making it good in the world, achieving the American dream as it were.
21. Bit of a Coleridge poetry line? : SAM IAMB
SAM IAMB (Sam I am )
What a great clue! Samuel Taylor Coleridge ("Sam") might write a bit of poetry (an "iamb"), giving us a Sam iamb, which is pronounced as "Sam I am", the last words in the Dr. Seuss book "Green Eggs and Ham".
26. Nine-digit ID : SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although to me it is looking more and more like an "identity number" these days. The system was introduced in 1936. Before 1986, a SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. There was concern that a lot of people were claiming children as dependents on their tax forms who did not exist, so from 1986 onwards it was a requirement to get a SSN for any dependents over the ago of 5. Sure enough, in the following year's tax returns, seven million dependents "disappeared".
27. Harvard degree earned by J.F.K. in 1956 : LLD
John F. Kennedy actually earned a degree in International Affairs in 1940, graduating cum laude from Harvard University. As a senator, in 1956 he was was awarded an honorary law degree (LLD) by his alma mater.
30. 10 of them make a thou : C-NOTES
10 one hundreds (C-notes) make up a thousand (a thou).
32. "Take a Chance on Me" group : ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA's music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group that topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.
36. Little battery : AAA
Because batteries have been around for so long now, there were many different standards set for sizes and configurations by different countries. There is now an international standard which tries to bring as many of the old disparate standards together as possible. A AAA cell battery is a cylindrical, single-cell type, with a length of 45.5 mm and a diameter of 10.5 mm.
38. S O S's, essentially : PLEAS
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 (three dots, pause, three dashes, pause, three dots). But, in the emergency singal there is no pause between the letters, so SOS 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.
39. Ammo for idiots? : DUMB DUMB BULLETS
DUMB DUMB BULLETS (dumdum bullets)
An expanding bullet is one that is designed to expand on impact, creating a a larger diameter wound. The bullet expands outward in a mushroom shape when it hits the target. A captain developed such a bullet in British Army arsenal near Calcutta, near the town of Dum Dum, giving us the name "dumdum bullet".
42. Bert's "Sesame Street" buddy : ERNIE
I've always believed that the "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life". In the movie, the policeman's name is Bert, and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the "Sesame Street" folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence.
43. Actress Stewart : ALANA
Alana Stewart is a former model and actress. She had two famous husbands, but both marriages ended in divorce. Her first husband was actor George Hamilton, and her second was rock star Rod Stewart.
44. ___ mater (brain cover) : PIA
"Pia mater" is Latin, of course, and means "tender mother". It is the name given to the mesh-like envelope that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The pia mater brings blood to some of the exterior parts of the brain, and provides physical support for larger blood vessels passing over the brain's surface.
46. Surgical inserts : STENTS
In the world of medicine and surgery, a stent is an artificial tube inserted inside a vessel in the body, say a blood vessel, so that it reduces the effects of a local restriction in the body's conduit.
48. Gulager of "The Virginian" : CLU
Clu Gulager is a television and film actor. He is most remembered for playing Billy the Kid in the TV show "The Tall Man" in the early sixties, and then as Emmet Ryker in "The Virginian" in the late sixties.
50. "Saturday Night Live" segments : SKITS
NBC first aired a form of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975, under the title "NBC's Saturday night". The show was created originally to give Johnny Carson some time off from "The Tonight Show". In those days, "The Tonight Show" had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday episodes and hold them for weeknights in which Carson was taking a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to pull together a variety show to fill the vacant slot.
52. "Shut up!" ... or a phonetic hint to this puzzle's theme : BE QUIET
61. Toy house door support? : PAPER JAMB
PAPER JAMB (paper jam)
A door jamb is the vertical portion of a door frame. The term "jamb" comes from the French word "jambe" meaning "leg".
64. Verdi aria : ERI TU
The aria "Eri tu" is from Verdi's opera "Un ballo in maschera" (A Masked Ball). It tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, during a masked ball.
65. German port : KIEL
Kiel is a port city way north in Germany, lying even further north than Hamburg. The city is well known for hosting the annual Kiel Week sailing regatta, and it was twice host to the Olympic sailing events, in 1936 (the Berlin games) and 1972 (the Munich games).
66. ___ Minor : ASIA
Asia Minor is also known as Anatolia, and is the geographic part of Asia that protrudes out into the west, towards Europe. It is roughly equivalent to modern-day Turkey.
67. "Marat/Sade" playwright Peter : WEISS
The name "Marat/Sade" is a useful abbreviation for the real name of Peter Weiss's most famous play. It is actually called "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade". Don't forget now ...
69. Singer Perry with the 2010 #1 hit "California Gurls" : KATY
Katy Perry is an American singer who grew up listening to and singing gospel music, as she was the daughter of two Christian pastors. In fact, her first musical release was a gospel album in 2001. She has branched out since then. Her first successful single was "Ur so Gay", followed by "I Kissed A Girl". She is engaged to the hilarious British comedian Russell Brand.
2. Munch Museum's locale : OSLO
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian expressionist, most famous for his painting "The Scream", painted in 1893. What a wonderful work that is, a true representation of expressionism. The Munch Museum in Oslo is dedicated to his work and life. In 2004, two of Munch's paintings, "The Scream" and "Madonna", were stolen from the Munch Museum by armed robbers who subdued the museum guards. The paintings were missing for two years, but recovered in 2006.
3. German: Abbr. : TEUT
The Germanic peoples of Northern Europe are often called Teutonic, a term which originated with the Teutons, one of the Germanic tribes that lived in the region in the days of Ancient Greece and Rome.
4. Certain cigarette : CAMEL
The advertising mascot for Camel cigarettes was officially known as "Old Joe", but was popularly known as "Joe Camel". Joe originated in the seventies, in an advertising campaign that ran only in Europe, where he sometimes was depicted wearing a French Foreign Legion cap. He was imported to the US in 1988 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Camel brand. The big controversy surrounding the use of the camel character was that a 1991 study found that 5-6 year old children could recognize Joe Camel more readily than either Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. Also, soon after Old Joe was introduced in the US, the Camel brand's share of the illegal market to underage smokers went up from 1% to just under 33%.
5. Capital of Nepal : KATMANDU
Although Katmandu is the capital city of the lofty nation of Nepal, it sits in a bowl-shaped valley so is only at an elevation of 4,600 ft. Air pollution is a huge problem in the city. Industry and residents launch a lot of smog into the air, and given the surrounding geography and climate, any pollution blown away during the day tends to fall back into the valley at night.
6. Big name in A.T.M.'s : NCR
NCR is an American company that has been in business since 1884, originally called the National Cash Register Company. The company has done well in a market where new technologies seem to be constantly disrupting the status quo.
9. Sends cyberjunk : SPAMS
I think it may be true that the term SPAM for unwanted email is taken from a "Monty Python" sketch. In the sketch, the dialog is taken over by the word SPAM, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets in Britain after WWII. So SPAM is a term for emails that take over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types adopting something from a "Monty Python" sketch to describe an online phenomenon.
11. Lady ___ : GAGA
I've seen Lady Gaga interviewed on television a few times, and she sure is "unique". Her music is of course out of my league, but she does know how to put on a show.
13. Balkan native : SERB
Serbs are an ethnic group native to the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Although the Serbs exist as minority groups in many countries in the region, they are the majority ethnic group in Serbia, in Montenegro and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18. Wedding gown fabric : BROCADE
Brocade is a very decorative fabric usually made from silk and often incorporating gold and silver thread. The name "brocade" comes from the Italian word "broccato" meaning "embossed cloth".
27. Works as a stevedore : LADES
A stevedore, or longshoreman, is someone employed in the loading and unloading of ships at a port. The word "stevedore" comes from the Spanish "estibador", meaning "one who loads cargo".
28. Object of Petrarch's passion : LAURA
Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) was an Italian scholar and poet who lived during the Renaissance. Petrarch gave up his vocation as a priest, and soon after spotted a woman named Laura in his church in Avignon in France. He was so taken by Laura that he wrote many poems dedicated to her. He later clarified that he could not approach Laura with his feelings, as she was a married woman.
31. Only coach to win both N.F.L. and A.F.L. championships : EWBANK
Weeb Ewbank was a football coach mostly known for coaching the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets in the fifties, sixties and seventies. He won two NFL championships with the Colts (1958, 1959), and one AFL championship with the Jets (1968).
34. Hand-dyed fabric : 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 a solvent that dissolves the wax.
38. Bandage, across the pond : PLASTER
Well, a plaster is what we would call a Band-Aid across the pond, in the British Isles. So, the term eally only applies to an adhesive bandage.
49. "Peanuts" boy with a blanket : LINUS
In Charles Schulz's fabulous comic strip "Peanuts", Charlie Brown is friends with at least three members of the van Pelt family. Most famously there is Lucy van Pelt, who bosses everyone around, particularly Charlie. Then there is Linus, Lucy's younger brother, the character who always has his security blanket at hand. Lastly there is an even younger brother, Rerun van Pelt. Rerun is constantly hiding under his bed, trying to avoid going to school.
51. Pat of "Wheel of Fortune" : SAJAK
Pat Sajak took over the hosting of "Wheel of Fortune" back in 1983, and has been doing the job ever since. He had a short run as a talk show host in 1989/1990, and has subbed quite often for Larry King and Regis Philbin.
53. Homeland of Joyce and Yeats : EIRE
The Latin word for Ireland is Hibernia. "Erin" is an anglicized version of "Eire", the Irish word for Ireland (actually it corresponds to Eirinn, the dative case of Eire).
54. Helen Mirren's crowning role, informally? : QE II
I watched the 2006 movie "The Queen" again a few weeks ago. What a great film it is, and what a superb performance from Helen Mirren in the title role of Queen Elizabeth II. It must have been a difficult film for Queen Elizabeth to watch, as it rehashes the PR disaster that surrounded her following the death of Princess Diana. But, she was gracious enough to invite Helen Mirren around to the Palace for dinner after the film was released. Mirren declined however, citing filming commitments in the US.
55. It takes a toll: Abbr. : TPKE
You've got to pay a toll to drive on the turnpike.
57. Astronaut's letters : 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. Web site with a "Buy It Now" option : EBAY
eBay is an auction site with a twist. If you don't want to enter into an auction to purchase an item, there's a "Buy It Now" price. Agree to pay it, and the item is yours!
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