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: None ... although, my guess is that there was originally an intention to use an "EYE" theme, seeing as the black squares look like an eye, and there is an "EYE" reference in at least one clue. But, no themes allowed on Friday nor Saturday!
COMPLETION TIME: 25m 29s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
12. Band pieces : BARITONE SAXES
The saxophone was invented by Belgian, Adolphe Sax. Strangely, he developed lip cancer at one point in his life, but recovered. I had the privilege of visiting his grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.
14. Jean Rhys opus : WIDE SARGASSO SEA
"Wide Sargasso Sea" was written by Jean Rhys and first published in 1966. It's a clever work, written as a sort of prequel to Charlotte Bronte's famous "Jane Eyre" which dates back to 1847.
The Sargasso Sea is the only "sea" that doesn't wash up against a shoreline. It resides completely within the North Atlantic Ocean, and is bounded by the Gulf Stream on the west, the North Atlantic Current on the north, the Canary Current on the east, and the North Atlantic Equatorial Current on the south. It is known for the massive amounts of seaweed (called "sargassum") that grows on the surface, which is central to the sea's unique ecosystem.
16. Psychoanalyst Fromm : ERICH
Erich Fromm was a German psychologist. He studied extensively the work of Sigmund Freud, and became very critical of his theories. He was also noted for his political views, and had a socialist leaning. He spent some time in the US and was active in the Socialist Party of America, in the fifties when McCarthyism was running rampant.
18. Coroner's subj. : ANAT
Coroners study anatomy.
21. Ones doing lab exams? : VETS
I do love clues that use language that is designed to deceive. Veterinarians often examine Labrador dogs.
22. Ain't right? : AREN'T
The slangy "ain't" is sometimes used in place of the more grammatically correct "aren't". "Ain't" used to be a perfectly acceptable contraction in English, but not of "is not" or "are not", rather of "am not". When Charles Dickens associated the term with Cockney English, it was "banned" in polite circles. Interestingly, we would contract "am not" to "amn't" when I was growing up in Dublin, another contraction frowned upon in the better schools.
24. Dixie rival : SOLO
Dixie Cup is a brand name. The first disposable paper cups were introduced to promote hygiene at shared water fountains, as prior to disposable cups, glasses or dippers were shared by people taking a drink. As such, the Dixie Cup was introduced in 1907 as the "Health Kup". The name was changed in 1919 to Dixie Cup, after a line of dolls (presumably as the cups were relatively small).
The Solo Cup was introduced in 1930, created by a former employee of the Dixie Company. The first Solo Cup was a paper cone that founder Leo Hulseman made at home, and sold to companies distributing bottled water.
28. Big inits. in photography : SLR
SLR: Single Lens Reflex. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.
29. Possible IV pusher : EMT
An Emergency Medical Technician on occasion has to push an intravenous needle into a patient's vein.
30. 1971 Tony-winning actress ___ Allen : RAE
Rae Allen is an actress who has appeared in stage and screen. She was nominated for Tony's in 1955 and 1967, and eventually won the award in 1971 for her role in the play "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little". Allen has made many small parts on TV shows, including two episodes of "Seinfeld".
31. Atlanta-based org. : CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. They worry about more than malaria these days ...
34. She quipped "I've been in more laps than a napkin" : MAE WEST
Mae West was always pushing the envelope when it came to the "sexy" side of show business, even in her early days in Vaudeville. Still quite young, she moved into legitimate theater, eventually writing her own risque plays. One Broadway play that she wrote and in which she starred was called "Sex". The show was a sell out, but city officials had it raided and West found herself spending ten days in jail after being convicted of "corrupting the morals of youth". She went into the movies in 1932, already 38 years old. West used her experience writing plays to rewrite much of the material she was given, and so really was totally responsible for her own success on-screen appeal.
36. Night that "Dynasty" aired for most of its run: Abbr. : WED
"Dynasty" was ABC's shot at CBS's incredibly successful soap opera "Dallas". Both were centered on wealthy oil families, with "Dynasty" starring John Forsythe and Linda Evans in the lead roles. The show didn't really make much impact on the viewing figures for "Dallas" until season two, when Joan Collins joined the cast, as the scheming ex-wife, Alexis. The show had a very successful run then, from 1981 to 1989.
39. Curse out : REAM
I must admit that I find the slang term "ream" meaning "scold harshly" quite distasteful. The usage as a reprimand dates back to about 1950.
41. ___ de Noyaux (almond-flavored liqueur) : CREME
Creme de Noyaux is an almond-flavored liqueur. It is actually pink in color, with the color perhaps coming from its signature ingredient, apricot kernels. The French word "noyau" means "kernel, pit". By the way, apricot kernels (along with a lot of brandy) are also used to make the more famous liqueur, amaretto.
42. Anathema : BANE
An anathema or bane is a source of persistent annoyance. Anathema is the Latin word for an excommunicated person.
46. Island off the coast of Tuscany : ELBA
I had a lovely two-week vacation in Tuscany once, including what was supposed to be a two-night stay on Elba. I had envisioned Elba as a place full of history, and maybe it is, but it is overrun with tourists who use it as a beach getaway. We left after one day, and we won't be going back.
50. Aid to researching 35-Downs by topic : GOOGLE DIRECTORY
35. Free cookie distributor : WEBSITE
Google was founded in 1998, and went public in 2004. It is a remarkable company, one that one seems to either love or hate. They have their fingers in so many pies now, but they get the bulk of their revenue from advertising. The stated mission of the company, at least in the early days, was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". They have done that, I'd say ...
52. Ganging up on, in basketball : TRIPLE TEAMING
Triple teaming is putting three defensive players on one, obviously troublesome, offensive player.
3. Knockout : DISH
The use of "dish" evolved over the past century. Originally of course associated only with food, in 1900 it started to mean "what one likes" around 1900, and that morphed into "an attractive woman" in the twenties (the 1920s, not the age of the woman!).
4. Hagen of stage and screen : UTA
Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. She married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, and towards a successful stage career in New York City.
5. Carl Icahn or T. Boone Pickens : CORPORATE RAIDER
The business strategy known as "corporate raiding" really is pretty ruthless and short sighted (excuse my being judgmental). The idea is to buy a large interest in a corporation, sometimes "stealthily", by buying up a significant number of voting shares. Then, the raider uses the power of the voting rights to convince other voters to change the way the company is run, purely to increase the share price in the relatively short term. The changes often involve replacement of the management team, downsizing and even liquidation of the company, all for short term, personal gain. Corporate raider, Gordon Gekko said in the 1987 movie "Wall Street", "greed is good", but I wonder is he right?
7. September happenings, often : SEASON PREMIERES
When a television show has been renewed by executives, the tradition in the US is for the new seasons to begin with premiere episodes in September or October. Apparently this time of year is chosen as the number of viewers is starting to rise after a fall off due to everyone taking vacation through the summer months.
8. Tip preceder, maybe : PSST
You can attract someone's attention by whispering "psst!", and then if that doesn't work, tip him on the elbow maybe.
9. Oil support : EASEL
The word "easel" comes from and old Dutch word meaning "donkey, ass" would you believe? The idea is that one loads up something to be carried on a donkey, and one does something similar with an oil painting when propping it on an easel.
10. Escapist reading? : EXODUS
The Book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible, and deals with Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. The name "exodus" comes from the Greek "exodos" meaning "departure".
11. Firedome and Fireflite : DESOTOS
The DeSoto brand of car was built by Chrysler from 1928 to 1961. The line was named after the Spanish explorer and conquistador, Hernando de Soto, widely reported as the first European to have crossed the Mississippi River (although Cabeza de Vaca had at least discovered one of the mouths of the Mississippi twenty years earlier).
12. David of "St. Elsewhere" : BIRNEY
American actor David Birney had a recurring role on television's "St. Elsewhere", as well as a starring role on the short-lived CBS sitcom "Bridget Loves Bernie". It turned out the Bridget did indeed love Bernie, and the two lead actors, David Birney and Meredith Baxter were married in real life soon after the show went off the air in 1973. They fell out of love though, and were divorced in 1989, but have three children together.
13. "Black Beauty" author : SEWELL
English novelist, Anna Sewell, only wrote one book in her life, the immensely popular "Black Beauty" first published in 1877. The book was written at the tail end of Sewell's life, over a period of six years while her health was declining. The book was an immediate success, and is supposedly the sixth best selling title in the English language. Sewell died just five months after the book was published, but she did get to see its immediate success.
19. Touchdown locale : TARMAC
Tarmac is of course short for "tarmacadam". In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a system for constructing roads that became very popular and that became known as macadam. Macadam was a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones, with the surface built with a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley, who introduced tar in the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage, and practically eliminating dust. The "tar-penetration macadam" is the basis of what we now call Tarmac.
26. Peach : GEM
"Peach" and "gem" are both words that can be used to describe a particularly good person.
27. Cannon, e.g.: Abbr. : DET
Someone helped me out with this one, and pointed out that the Cannon here refers to the TV detective "Cannon".
"Cannon" was a detective series that aired in the seventies, one of those famous "Quinn Martin Productions". The title role of Frank Cannon was played by the portly William Conrad. Another character in the show was one Barnaby Jones (played by Buddy Ebsen), who ended up as the center of a spin-off show with the name "Barnaby Jones". You might have recognized the fabulous, baritone voice of William Conrad. He was the narrator on another hit detective show, "The Fugitive".
31. First blond Bond : CRAIG
Daniel Craig, as the sixth reincarnation of James Bond, is really taking the franchise in a different direction. Many like it, but I'd rather see Pierce Brosnan back in the role myself.
32. Actor Mulroney of "The Wedding Date" : DERMOT
Dermot Mulroney has become well known for his lead roles in romantic comedies. He starred opposite Debra Messing in 2005's "The Wedding Date", and opposite Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz in "My Best Friend's Wedding" back in 1997. Mulroney is an excellent cello player, and is a member of the band Cranky George.
35. Free cookie distributor : WEBSITE
When you visit a website, often it will leave a little piece of text information called a "cookie" on your computer. As it is a text file, and not executable, it is relatively harmless. However, as browsers routinely read these cookies, they can be used as "spyware". Basically, the browser can read the cookie, and tell a lot about your browsing habits. This can be a good thing, so when you go back to your favorite websites you will be recognized and this can help you. For example, you may have shopped at a site, and you'll find that your shopping cart still has the items you were looking at, often because the items were stored in a cookie. However, they can be "bad" as some spyware uses the cookies to detect your browsing habits and can direct the browser to do things you may not want it to do. So, I accept cookies from sites I trust, as they enhance my browsing experience, but only from trusted sites.
36. They sometimes create a scene : WALK-ONS
A walk-on role in a performance is one in which the actor makes an appearance on stage or on set, but has no dialog. One line of dialog elevates the role to a "bit part".
37. Sportscaster Dick : ENBERG
Dick Enberg is a sportscaster famous for uttering the lines "Oh, my!" after particularly notable plays.
40. "My little" girl of early TV : MARGIE
"My Little Margie" is a sitcom that aired from 1952 to 1955, starting out as a summer replacement for "I Love Lucy" on CBS. Margie was played by actress Gale Storm.
48. Invader of Rome in 390 B.C. : CELT
Rome was founded, according to legend by Romulus, of Romulus and Remus fame, in 753 BC. The settlement expanded through conquest and assimilation of neighbors, with few setbacks. That was until 386 BC, when the Gauls briefly occupied the city, only to be ousted quite quickly. The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium.
49. Credits date for "Cinderella" or "All About Eve" : MCML
"Cinderella" was the first really big feature hit for Walt Disney after the incredible success of the 1937 film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". It took a long time for that second hit to come, as "Cinderella" was released in 1950.
I must confess that I have a problem with movies starring Bette Davis. I think I must have seen her play one of her more sinister roles when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares or something. So, I have never seen the 1950 classic "All About Eve", given that Bette Davis gets top billing. But, the title role of Eve Harrington was played by Anne Baxter, and Ms Baxter's movies I do enjoy. Coincidentally, on the epic television series "Hotel", when Bette Davis became ill, it was Anne Baxter who was chosen to take on her role.
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