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: TURN! TURN! TURN! ... all the theme answers are revealed by turning the grid either 90, 180 or 270 degrees. If you physically turn your newspaper by the specified number of degrees, you might be able to make out the "real" answer depending on how you write your letters! It works great for MOON MISSIONS, but not so well for the others.
COMPLETION TIME: 23m 10s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. French clerics : ABBES
Abbé is the French word for an abbot.
6. President after Tyler : POLK
James Knox Polk was the 11th US President. He is known as a president who made promises prior to being elected, and basically delivered on those promises. He left office after serving only one term, as he had sworn to the voters, and then contracted cholera on a goodwill tour of the South. He died at only 53 years of age, the youngest age for any president to die in retirement. He also enjoyed the shortest retirement of any president, at only 103 days. Guess that's why no one keep their promises these days ...
15. This and that : 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.
17. Game maker starting in 1972 : ATARI
The kids today probably don't realize that we had a video game console back in the seventies, but it wasn't a Nintendo nor a PlayStation. The Atari 2600 game system introduced the idea of separating out computing hardware (the console) from the game code (a cartridge). The same concept persists to this day, although cartridges have been displaced by discs.
18. Actress Carrie and others : NYES
Carrie Nye was primarily a stage actress. She was married to the TV talk show host Dick Cavett.
20. *Antimicrobial bit in mouthwashes [90 degrees] : ZINC ION
NHZU HON (turned 90-degrees and read top-to-bottom = ZINC ION)
Zinc salts (which yield zinc ions) are added to mouthwash as the ions are antimicrobial agents even at very low concentrations. Also, zinc lactate is added to toothpaste to prevent bad breath, and zinc pyrithione is commonly found in shampoos as an anti-dandruff agent.
22. *Like wizards' caps [90 degrees] : CONIC
UOZHU (turned 90-degrees and read top-to-bottom = CONIC)
24. ___ volente (God willing) : DEO
"Deo Valente" is Latin for "God willing". If you read letters or emails from Ireland, you might come across "D.V." in the text, as it is a common abbreviation the Irish use to mean "God willing" or "Please God".
27. Tornado : VORTEX
"Vortex" is a Latin word, a variant of "vertex" meaning "whirlpool". It is derived from the verb "vertere", Latin for "to turn". "Vertere" is also the root of "versus".
30. Judgment : ASSIZE
An "assize" is a session of court, or a decree or judgment handed down by such a court. "Assize" comes from Old French and evolved from the French word for "sit".
32. Food thickener : AGAR
Agar is a jelly extracted from seaweed, with many uses. It is found in Japanese desserts, can be used as a laxative, as a food thickener, and is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.
35. #1 hit by the Byrds ... or directions for reading the answers to this puzzle's starred clues (always clockwise as indicated) : TURN! TURN! TURN!
There aren't many pop hits that have lyrics taking almost entirely from the Bible. Pete Seeger took some words from the Book of Ecclesiastes, and set them to music in 1959. He recorded the song in 1962 for one of his albums. It wasn't until it was recorded by the Byrds as "Turn! Turn! Turn!" that the song climbed the charts. It's a nice, contemplative song, I always think ...
38. Mai ___ (drinks) : TAIS
The Mai Tai is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but it was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic's restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curacao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice, and then a float of 6 parts dark rum.
41. Wine: Prefix : OEN
In Greek mythology Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us "oen-" as a prefix meaning "wine". Oenology, for example, is the study of wine.
43. *Apollo 11 and 12 [180 degrees] : MOON MISSIONS
SNOISSIW NOOW (turned 180 degrees i.e. upside down = MOON MISSIONS)
Apollo 11 was the most memorable of all space missions, landing the first humans on the moon on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the moon's surface in their landing craft "Eagle", while Michael Collins orbited in the command module "Columbia". It was to be the first of five moon landings that would take place from 1969-1972.
Apollo 12 was the second moon landing, a landing that took place just four months after Neil Armstrong became the first man to step onto the moon's surface. The main mission for the crew of Apollo 12 was to make a more precise landing (unlike Apollo 11). The target for the landing was close to Surveyor 3 which had been on the moon for over two years. Amazingly, the Apollo 12 lander hit the spot, allowing the astronauts to visit Surveyor 3 and bring the unmanned lander's camera back to Earth.
49. Dance at a Jewish wedding : HORA
The hora is circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings.
54. Iranian city of 1.2+ million : SHIRAZ
The Iranian city of Shiraz has long been associated with wine, but there is no proven link between the city and the wine/grape we know today as "Shiraz" (also called "Syrah"). Having said that, some clay jars were found just outside of the city of Shiraz that contained wine; wine that was 7,000 years old!
56. Masculine side : YANG
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin, and the bright side is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine.
58. Insurance plan, for short : HMO
Health Maintenance Organization.
59. *Marriage, say [270 degrees] : UNION
ZOHZC (turned 90-degrees and read top-to-bottom = UNION)
61. *Specification in a burger order, maybe [270 degrees] : NO ONION
ZOHZO OZ (turned 270-degrees and read top-to-bottom = NO ONION)
63. Attorney General Holder : ERIC
Eric Holder is the Attorney General of the United States, and is the first African American to hold the position. Holder was close to President Obama during the presidential campaign. He was the campaign's legal advisor, and was also one of the three members on the Obama vice-presidential selection committee, which of course opted for Vice-President Joe Biden.
67. Dessert cake : TORTE
A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).
69. Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel is a holocaust survivor, best known for his book "Night" which tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
70. Dipsomaniac : TOPER
"To tope" is to drink alcohol excessively and habitually. "Dipsomania" is a craving for alcohol to the point of damaging one's health. "Dipsa" is the Greek for "thirst", hence a "manic thirst".
72. LP or 45 : DISC
Gramophone records are classified in a number of different ways. They can be sorted by size e.g (12-inch), by rotational speed e.g. 45 rpm, or by their playing time e.g. Long Playing (LP).
The first standard set for rotational speed of gramophone records was 78 rpm, but like so many things it seems, the US standard of 78 rpm was actually 78.26 rpm, whereas the standard in the rest of the world was 77.92 rpm. So, imported records played on American equipment didn't sound quite as they were intended.
73. Biblical dry measures : OMERS
The omer is a unit of dry volume that was used in Ancient Israel. It was about 3 1/2 liters.
1. "She's the Man" actress Bynes : AMANDA
Amanda Bynes is an actress that made it big as a teenager on TV shows like "All That" and "The Amanda Show". She then moved on to playing teen roles on the big screen, particularly in "She's the Man" and "Hairspray".
3. Longest river in Texas : BRAZOS
The Brazos Rover is the longest river in the state of Texas. It was originally called "Rio de los Brazos de Dios" by the Spanish, which translates as "the River of the Arms of God". So, the Brazos is literally "the arms" in English.
4. Off-white shade : ECRU
The shade of ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word "ecru" comes from French, and means "raw, unbleached", and has the same roots as our word "crude".
5. Tibetan dog : SHIH TZU
The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in China. They have long, hairy coats but, they don't shed.
6. Kind of scheme : PONZI
Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. He devised a scheme to buy what were known as "International reply coupons", through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an "illegal" transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it's what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme.
He couldn't redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape, so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. So many people wanted to get in on the scheme that Ponzi was able to take the new investor's a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn't double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.
7. West Coast brew, for short : OLY
The Olympia Brewing Company was founded in the town of Tumwater, Washington in 1896, by a German immigrant.
8. Place : LIEU
As you might imagine, "in lieu" comes into English from the Old French word "lieu" meaning "place", which in turn is derived from the Latin "locum", also meaning "place". So, "in lieu" means "in place of".
9. Dweller in Pristina : KOSOVAR
Kosovo is an adjectival form of the Serbian word "kos" meaning "blackbird". The name commemorates the "field of the blackbirds" the site of a 1389 battle between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. The dispute over Kosovo technically dates back to the implosion of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The capital of Kosovo is Pristina.
12. Candy that comes in more than a dozen flavors : PEZ
PEZ is an Austrian brand name for a particular candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of P-feff-E-rmin-z, the German word for "peppermint". Quite interesting ...
23. N.F.L. coach Jim : ZORN
Jim Zorn was an NFL quarterback (and a left-handed thrower of the ball), and is now the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
26. St. Louis's arch, symbolically : GATEWAY
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinenen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn't started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch, intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch alright, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment ...
28. "Just you wait, ___ 'iggins ..." : 'ENRY
Cockney Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins's speech student in George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion". Of course "Pygmalion" was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady". The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.
29. TV warrior princess : XENA
Lucy Lawless is a New Zealand actress (and singer), famous for playing the title role in TV's "Xena: Warrior Princess". Lawless first played the Xena character in a made-for-TV movie called "Hercules and the Amazon Women", and later played the character again in a series called "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys". Xena became so popular that a series was built around the character, with Lawless retained for the role.
31. Formal/informal response to "Who's there?" : IT'S I
Thanks to Sharon (below), I've had an important grammar lesson here. Even though "It's me" is heard so commonly, the grammatically correct statement is, "It's I".
33. Ben ___, "Treasure Island" pirate : GUNN
Robert Louis Stevenson's most celebrated work I'd say is "Treasure Island", originally written as a series for a children's magazine in 1881. I remember it as the first "real" novel I read as a youngster.
In "Treasure Island", Ben Gunn is a character who had been marooned on the island by his shipmates and who had lived there for three long years when Jim Hawkins comes across him. Author R. F. Delderfield wrote a "prequel" to "Treasure Island" called "The Adventures of Ben Gunn" telling the story of Gunn, a parson's son that turned pirate.
36. "The Big Sleep" film genre : NOIR
The term "film noir" has French origins, but only in that it was "created" by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning "black film" in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a private eye or detective at its center, with a melodramatic plot. Good examples would be "The Big Sleep" and "D.O.A".
37. Shooters : TAWS
In the game of marbles, the "taw" is the shooting marble, and is shot at the "ducks".
38. General ___ chicken : TSO'S
General Tso's chicken is an American invention for the menu of Chinese restaurants. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zontang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.
39. Egyptian cross : ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for "eternal life". The ankh wasn't just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world).
40. Treating, in a way, as table salt : IODIZING
Back in 1924, a professor of pediatrics in Michigan led a campaign in the US to have producers of salt add a small amount of sodium iodide to table salt, so that the population would have a readily available source of the iodine micronutrient. His goal was to reduce the incidence of goiter in the population.
44. Bygone sovereign : SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown by the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini 1979. The post-revolution government sought for the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran, and the resulting hostage crisis.
45. Three sheets to the wind : SOZZLED
A sheet is the rope that is used to control a sail on a sailing vessel. The expression "three sheets to the wind" meaning "drunk" dates back to the early 1800s. It likely derives from the notion that a sailboat with three sails, and with all three sheets slipped out of control, would behave like someone who was drunk, and vice versa.
51. Five-time Olympic gold-medal swimmer : THORPE
Ian Thorpe is a retired competitive swimmer from Australia. He won five gold medals , and earned himself the nickname "The Thorpedo".
57. Old pyramid builder : AZTEC
The Aztec people of Central America dominated the region to the 14th - 16th centuries. Two traits of the Aztec people are oft cited today. They built some magnificent pyramids, and they engaged in human sacrifice. The two were linked in a way, as for the consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, 84,400 prisoners were sacrificed over a period of four days.
60. District of Colombia? : CALI
Actually, in terms of population, Cali is the third largest city in Colombia. Santiago de Cali (the full name for the city) lies in western Columbia. Apparently, it is a destination for "medical tourists". Surgeons in Cali have a reputation as being expert in cosmetic surgery, and so folks looking for a "cheap" nose job are apparently heading there.
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