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: Initially the Same ... all the theme answers are famous people whose name begins with two initials that are the same e.g. E. E. CUMMINGS, H. H. MUNRO, J. J. ABRAMS
COMPLETION TIME: 10m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Arias, e.g. : SOLI
"Soli" (the plural of "solo") are pieces of music performed by one artist, whereas "tutti" are pieces performed by all of the artists.
14. "Thirteen" actress ___ Rachel Wood : EVAN
Actress Evan Rachel Wood's most famous role to date is playing one of the leads in the 2003 movie "Thirteen". She is working on two new films which sound intriguing, namely "Bronte" in which she plays one of the author sisters, Anne, and "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll". Wood's private life draws a lot of attention, especially as she was romantically linked for some time with the "outrageous" musician Marilyn Manson.
15. Ob/gyn test : AMNIO
Amniocentesis is the prenatal test which involves the removal of a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus using a hypodermic needle. The fluid naturally contains some fetal cells, the DNA of which is then tested to determine the sex of the child and is examined for genetic abnormalities.
16. Eliot Ness and cohorts : T-MEN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury.
Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster, Al Capone. When he took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, on the take. Ness hand-picked 50 prohibition agents he thought he could rely on, later reducing that to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That 11 earned the nickname "The Untouchables".
17. "anyone lived in a pretty how town" poet : E. E. CUMMINGS
The American poet Edward Estlin Cummings was fond of ignoring accepted English syntax and punctuation in his poems. He also left some of his poems untitled so that they are known by just their first lines (e.g. "anyone lived in a pretty how town"). Because of the Cummings "style", he was quite often referred to as e.e. cummings, with all the letters of his name written in lower case.
19. Manassas fighters : REBS
Manassas, Virginia was the site of two major battles during the Civil War, the First and Second Battles of Bull Run (also known as the Battles of Manassas). In the first battle, one of the southern brigades was led by Brigadier General Thomas Jackson. His brigade was well-trained and disciplined, so much so that as the Union troops made advances, a fellow-general encouraged his retreating men to hold their positions yelling "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer". There are reports that the actual quote was less complimentary, but regardless, from that day on Jackson was known as "Stonewall".
21. Author better known as Saki : H. H. MUNRO
Hector Hugh Munro was a British writer, actually born in Burma. He was famous for his short stories, which he published using the pen name "Saki". His most well-known story is "The Open Window", which ends with the great line "Romance at short notice was her specialty".
26. Whopper topper : ONION
If you were in Japan at the end of 2009 you might have ordered a Windows 7 Whopper, a promotion for the Windows 7 Operating System. The sandwich was 5 inches in height, and contained seven beef patties!
27. "Star Trek" director, 2009 : J. J. ABRAMS
J. J. Abrams is a director and producer of both movies and television shows. He created "Alias", "Fringe" and co-created the highly successful show "Lost". He also directed "Mission: Impossible III" and the 2009 movie "Star Trek".
30. "The Thrill Is Gone" bluesman : B.B. King
B.B. King is the stage name of Riley B. King, the celebrated blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. He truly is a dedicated performer, as he has been doing gigs for 52 years, and has made over 15,000 appearances on stage.
31. "Bad, bad" Brown of song : LEROY
"Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" is a song written and first performed by Jim Croce, a number one hit for him in 1973.
34. Cameo gem : ONYX
Onyx is form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it's the black version that's used for jewelry. The name "onyx" comes from the Greek word for "fingernail", as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.
36. Big Indian : RAJA
"Raja" is an Indian word for "monarch".
40. Animals in a Western herd : BISON
There two species of bison left (four species are extinct). We are most familiar with the American bison, but there is a also a European bison, sometimes called a "wisent".
41. Neighbor of Chad : NIGER
The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies in the Sahara Desert.
42. Big name in mail order : L.L.Bean
L.L.Bean was founded back in 1912 as a company selling its own line of waterproof boots. The founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, gave his name to the enterprise. Right from the start, L.L.Bean focused on mail-order and sold from a circular he distributed and then from a catalog. Defects in the initial design led to 90% of the first boots sold being returned, and the company made good on it's guarantee to replace them or give back the money paid.
46. "The Monkey's Paw" author : W. W. Jacobs
W. W. Jacobs was an English author who mainly wrote humorous pieces, although his best known work is a collection of horror stories published under the name of "The Monkey's Paw".
48. Heroine in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" : LEILA
"The Pearl Fishers" is the second most famous opera composed by the Georges Bizet, the French composer from the Romantic era. His most famous work of course is his opera "Carmen".
50. Creator of Eeyore : A. A. Milne
Alan Alexander Milne was an English author, best known for his delightful "Winnie-the-Pooh" series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920, the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
56. Some med. scans : MRIS
A CT Scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional X-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT Scans is the fact that they use X-rays, and high doses of radiation cause cumulative tissue damage. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images, so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (like X-rays). We used MRI technology in our chemistry labs at school, back in the days when the technology was called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Apparently the marketing folks didn't like the term "nuclear" because of its association with ionizing radiation and bombs, so the "N" was dropped and it's now called just MRI.
57. 2007 A.L. Cy Young winner : CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia is a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees, although he won the 200 AL Cy Young Award while playing for the Cleveland Indians.
60. Years, in Rome : ANNI
"Annus" (plural "anni") is the Latin for year.
61. "___ dead!" (worried teen's words) : I AM SO
You can't imagine how often I heard this expression from my kids over the years, and usually for good reason ...
62. Srs.' lobby : AARP
AARP is the official name now for the interest group that used to go by the name "The American Association of Retired Persons". The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired. The AARP was founded by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus in 1958, and is a successor to the National Retired Teachers Association, also founded by Andrus over ten years earlier.
64. Grid play starters : SNAPS
The quarterback starts each play in football with a "snap". The quarterback announces to his teammates the exact moment of the snap by calling out signals, usually including the word "hut" one or more times in a prearranged sequence.
65. ___' Pea : SWEE
Originally Popeye used the term "swee'pea" to address his girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye's doorstep. Popeye adopts the little guy and raises him, calling him "Swee'Pea".
3. Eight minutes/mile in a marathon is a good one : PACE
The marathon is run over 26 miles and 385 yards, and of course commemorates the legendary messenger run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens. The distance run today was decided in 1921, and matches the route of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway.
5. Letter resembling an inverted "V" : LAMBDA
The letter L in our modern Latin alphabet is equivalent to the Greek letter lambda.
6. ___ Group ("big four" record co.) : EMI
EMI is a British music company, with the acronym originally standing for Electric and Musical Industries.
7. One of Heart's Wilson sisters : ANN
Heart is a rock band from Seattle, Washington, founded in the seventies and still going strong. The band has had a changing lineup, except for sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.
9. Brit's "Baloney!" : TOSH
"Tosh" is British slang for "foolish nonsense", and is likely a combination of "trash" and "bosh".
10. "The Elements of Style" co-author : STRUNK
William Strunk, Jr. was co-author of the first editions of "The Elements of Style" back in 1918 (usually referred to as "Strunk & White"). His fellow-author was Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White, the creator of the children's stories "Charlotte's Web" and "Stuart Little".
11. Subtitle of 1978's "Damien" : OMEN II
The original film "The Omen" was released in 1976. "Damien: Omen II" hit the screens in 1978. We were regaled with "Omen III: The Final Conflict" in 1981, and there was even a TV movie "Omen IV: The Awakening" in 1991. I haven't seen any of them, and have no interest in doing so (despite the excellent cast).
12. Former Cavalier James : LEBRON
James LeBron was just 18 years old when he was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, the number one pick in the NBA draft. Before he even made his first appearance as a professional player, the young man signed a $90 million dollar endorsement contract with Nike.
18. TV host Povich : MAURY
Maury Povich has his own daytime talk show called "Maury". He has famous family connections, namely his father who was Shirley Povich, a columnist and sports reporter for the Washington Post, and his wife Connie Chung, the news anchor.
24. Hurdles for M.B.A. hopefuls : GMATS
If you want to study for an M.B.A. then you might first have to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (which will cost you about $250, I believe).
25. Third-party accounts : ESCROWS
One type of escrow account is held by a trusted third party for two parties who have some contractual arrangement, an arrangement that is often in dispute. The third party only releases the funds when both parties have fulfilled their contractual obligations.
27. "Selena" star, familiarly : J.LO
Selena's Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as "Selena", was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club, at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena's life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role.
28. Aniston, in tabloids : JEN
Jennifer Aniston won a 2002 Emmy for playing Rachel on the great sitcom "Friends". Jennifer's parents are both actors, and her godfather is the actor, Telly Savalas.
30. "Incidentally," to texters : BTW
By The Way.
36. Ravioli fillings : RICOTTAS
Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from sheep or cow's milk. It is actually produced from the whey of the milk, the liquid left after the curds have been separated out (and used to make "traditional" cheese). The whey is heated again so that the remaining protein (above and beyond the curd already removed) precipitates out making ricotta cheese. The word "ricotta" literally means "recooked", which makes sense to me now ...
38. Brother of W. : JEB
I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph, but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara's son John Ellis Bush is called "Jeb".
39. "___ Poetica" : ARS
The full name of Horace's work is "Ars Poetica, Episula ad Pisones" (The Art of Poetry, Letters to Piso). The work describes the technical aspects of poetry in Ancient Rome, and the term "ars poetica" has come to mean the poetry of that period.
40. Jezebel's god : BA'AL
Ahab, the king of Israel, married Jezebel, a Phoenician princess. Jezebel's god was apparently Ba'al, so Ahab began to worship him.
41. Gymnast Comaneci : NADIA
Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics, and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of a ten in the Olympics. She published a book "Letters to a Young Gymnast" in 2003, and now lives in the United States.
42. Andean wool sources : LLAMAS
Llamas have been used by people of the Andes in South America for centuries as pack animals and sources of meat and wool.
43. Found out, British-style : LEARNT
Yep, and I still say it ...
44. Fountain of Youth site, it's said : BIMINI
The Fountain of Youth is supposedly a spring that restores the youth of anyone who drinks from it. There have been stories of such fountains all over the world, including the Caribbean where the magical waters were believed to be in the mythical land of Bimini (there is also a "real" Bimini in the Bahamas).
45. "L'___ d'Amore" (Donizetti opera) : ELISIR
"L'elisir d'amore" is an opera by Donizetti, the title of which translates as "The Elixir of Love". The opera is performed quite often today, as is the beautiful aria "Una furtiva lagrima".
47. 747 and Airbus A380, as jets go : JUMBOS
The first jet to be called a "Jumbo" was Boeing's 747, as it was the first wide-body airliner. This means that it was the first to have seating laid out with two aisles running the length of the plane. The plane also has three decks for part of its length, with the lower deck being used for cargo and galley space, and the upper deck for extra passenger seating. The Airbus A380 is called a "Superjumbo" as it has two full decks of passengers.
49. Praline nut : PECAN
A praline is a candy made made out of nuts and sugar syrup. The frist pralines were made in France in the 17th century for an industrialist named Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, who gave his name to the confection.
51. CBS military drama : NCIS
NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show "NCIS", a spin-off drama from "JAG" in which the main "NCIS" characters were first introduced. The big star in "NCIS" is Mark Harmon.
54. Limerick's land : EIRE
Erin is an anglicized version of "Eire", the Irish word for Ireland (actually it corresponds to Eirinn, the dative case of "Eire").
Limerick is a county (and a city) in the west of Ireland.
55. Target of a rabbit punch : NAPE
The rabbit punch, a blow to the nape of the neck, is illegal in boxing because it so dangerous. It can damage the vertebrae of the neck, and ultimately the spinal cord. The punch is named after the practice used by hunters to kill trapped rabbits, rendering a sharp strike to the back of the neck.
58. Wee, to Burns : SMA
The Scots dialect word sma', famously appears in the Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse". The lines read:
"A daimen icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!"
which "translates" to:
"An occasional ear of corn out of twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I'll be blest with the rest of the corn,
And never miss the ear you took!"
59. Cleopatra biter : ASP
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. The asp is so venomous that it was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When she opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.
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