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: SHUTTLES ... all the theme answers are the name of Space Shuttles, and the circled letters (orbiting the planet in a middle square) spell out the word SHUTTLES
COMPLETION TIME: 14m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
7. Word with Orange or Peach : BOWL
The Orange Bowl is one of the three, second-oldest bowl games, first played in 1935 (the Rose Bowl is the oldest, played annually since 1916). In recent years, the game has been sponsored by Fed-Ex, but as of 2010 the official name of the game is the Discover Orange Bowl. Who would have thought it? A credit card company with money to throw at a football game ...
The Peach Bowl has been played since 1968. In 1998 the game picked up a local Atlanta sponsor, Chick-fil-A. So the official name of the game is the Chick-fil-A Bowl (yep, the Peach has been dropped). It just rolls off the tongue ...
11. Car that was the subject of a 1964 top 10 hit : G.T.O.
Ronny & the Daytonas were a surf rock group in the sixties. Their first recording was the single "G.T.O.", released in 1964. Unlike the Beach Boys, the Daytonas had a little trouble reaching the higher tenor notes in the recording studio, so the sound engineers helped them out by "speeding up" their voices.
14. Sesame seed-based sauce : TAHINI
"Tahini" is the Arabic name for the paste made from ground sesame seeds. Tahini is a major ingredient in hummus, one of my favorite dishes.
15. Eye area : UVEA
The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball.
18. #2 : COLUMBIA
The Space Shuttle Columbia was first launched in 1981. It was given its name after the sloop Columbia Rediviva, the first American vessel to circumnavigate the globe, in 1790. It was also named after the Command module that orbited the moon during the Apollo 11 landing. Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during reentry in 2003 killing all seven crew members.
21. Hosp. areas : ICUS
Intensive Care Units.
24. ___ Valley : SILICON
The Santa Clara Valley, just a few miles from me at the south of San Francisco Bay, is better known as "Silicon Valley". The term dates back to 1971, apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper "Electronic News" in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.
26. At the home of, to Henri : CHEZ
"Chez" is a French term meaning "at the house of", which comes from the Latin word "casa" meaning "cottage" or "hut".
29. Infomercial host Gibbons : LEEZA
Leeza Gibbons has her own radio show called "Hollywood Confidential", and used to have her own talk show on NBC television that aired from 1994 to 2000. She is the founder of a nonprofit group called Leeza's Place which supports people giving care to patients with memory disorders. Since 2007 she has been a board member of California's stem cell research agency, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
33. Co-star of Hanks in "Forrest Gump" : SINISE
Actor Gary Sinise was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the 1994 film "Forrest Gump". He has been playing the lead in television's "CSI: NY" since 2004. Sinise was awarded the Presidential citizen medal by President Bush for his work helping Iraqi school children and his work with the USO.
35. Puts away : ICES
"To ice" is slang, meaning "to murder, kill".
37. Cambodia's Lon ___ : NOL
Lon Nol was a soldier and politician in Cambodia, later serving twice as the country's president. When the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975, Nol escaped the country to Indonesia. He eventually found a home in Fullerton, California, where he died in 1985.
39. Singer Studdard who won the second season of "American Idol" : RUBEN
Ruben Studdard is an R&B singer who won the second season of "American Idol" in 2003. The first studio album he released after his win, "Soulful", went to the top of the US album charts.
41. Sunroof or moonroof alternative : T-TOP
A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the car, above the driver.
44. "___ Be Stupid" (1985 Weird Al Yankovic album) : DARE TO
Weird Al Yankovich is famous for his parodies of songs, like "Eat It", his parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It". The title song of his 1985 album "Dare to Be Stupid" is a musical pastiche, a style parody of the band Devo.
46. Performer dubbed "The Great Dane" : BORGE
Victor Borge was such a talented entertainer. He was nicknamed "The Great Dane" as well as "The Clown Prince of Denmark". Borge was a trained concert pianist, but soon discovered that the addition of a stand up comedy routine to his musical presentations brought him a lot of work. He toured Europe in the 1930s, and found himself in trouble for telling anti-Nazi jokes, so when Germany occupied Denmark during WWII Borge escaped to America.
52. Tool : CAT'S PAW
The cat's paw in my tool box is one of my favorite tools. It is a nail puller, a bar with a pointed, curved tip (like a claw) that can be driven under a nail head so that the nail can be pried out of the wood. The downside is that the cat's paw damages the wood during the extraction of the nail, but it is invaluable for demolition work.
55. W.W. II battle cry : BANZAI
During WWII the Japanese infantry when making mass assaults would often yell out "Banzai!", a shout of courage, and encouragement, as they ran into enemy fire. These mass assaults became known by the Allied soldiers as "banzai attacks". The term "banzai" is not limited to use in times of war, but is used like a toast wishing long life, as "banzai" translates into "ten thousand years".
58. Qxe5, e.g., in chess : MOVE
"Qxe5" means that the queen (Q) moves to square e5, and captures (x) the opposing piece occupying that square.
59. Way in Québec : RUE
"Rue" is the French word for "road".
60. #5 : ATLANTIS
The Space Shuttle Atlantis had its first launch in 1985, and is still operational today. The shuttle takes its name from the RV Atlantis, a two-masted sailboat that operated from the thirties through the sixties with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the largest independent marine research organization in the country. The "odometer" reading on the Space Shuttle Atlantis after her 32nd flight, was about the same as 505 one-way flights from the Earth to the Moon!
62. Kind of kick : ONSIDE
In American football, an onside kick is one in which the ball is kicked a short distance so that the kicking team is unlikely to give up possession.
64. Fish-fowl nexus : NOR
Something that is "neither fish nor fowl" is something that is not recognizable, is nothing familiar at all.
65. Old space-launched rocket : THOR
Thor was the name of the first ballistic missile to go into operation for the US military (actually operated by the US Air Force). Thor didn't qualify as an ICBM in that it's range was limited to 1,500 miles, and so was classified as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The Thor family of missiles was somewhat rushed into service as a stop-gap measure while ICBMs were being developed, for fear that the Soviets would get long range missile capability before the US. When ICBM missiles went into service, the Thor missiles were quickly retired, the last being withdrawn in 1963.
67. Envoy's bldg. : EMB
Many envoys can be found in embassies.
68. Gazpacho, e.g. : SOUP
Gazpacho is a cold soup, made with a tomato base. It originated in Andalusia in southern Spain.
69. Team with a big B on its helmets : RAVENS
The name "Baltimore Ravens", the city's football team, has a literary derivation. Baltimore was the home of the writer Edgar Allen Poe, and so the team took the name from his most famous poem, "The Raven". The name was selected in a fan contest.
2. Folk singer Griffith : NANCI
Nanci Griffith is a country singer/songwriter from Austin, Texas. Nancy had some tragic inspiration that she has used in a few of her songs, as an old boyfriend of hers was killed in a motorcycle accident right after taking her to the senior prom.
3. #3 : CHALLENGER
The Space Shuttle Challenger had its maiden flight in 1983. The shuttle was named after HMS Challenger, the vessel that undertook the first global marine research expedition, the Challenger expedition of 1872-76. The shuttle was also named for the lunar module on Apollo 17 which landed on the Moon in 1972. The Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart during take off for its tenth mission, in 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members.
4. Hawaiian Punch alternative : HI-C
Hi-C orange drink was created in 1946, and introduced to the market in 1948, initially in the south. The name Hi-C was chosen to emphasis the high vitamin C content in the drink, as it contained added ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
6. #4 : DISCOVERY
The Space Shuttle Discovery was first launched in 1984, and is the oldest shuttle still in service. The shuttle takes its name from four British vessels including HMS Discovery, one of the ships in the third expedition led by by Captain James Cook during which he discovered the Hawaiian Islands in 1778. Included in the 38 missions of Space Shuttle Discovery was the return to space for John Glenn at age 77, making him the oldest human to have left the Earth's atmosphere.
7. Tampa Bay gridders, for short : BUCS
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976, along with the Seattle Seahawks, as an expansion team. The Bucs had a tough start in the NFL, losing their first 26 games. Things went better in the early eighties, before the team went through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Their luck changed again though, and they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.
8. Lacto-___ vegetarian : OVO
A lacto-ovo vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat or fish, but does eat eggs (ovo) and dairy (lacto) products.
9. Laura Bush's maiden name : WELCH
Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir "Spoken from the Heart" published quite recently, in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master's degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given her background, it's not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.
10. Symbol of victory : LAURELS
The Bay Laurel is a shrub that is native to the Mediterranean region, and is the source of bay leaves used in cooking. In Ancient Greece, the laurel leaves and stems were used to make laurel wreaths which were awarded to victors in athletic competitions.
11. Andy with the #1 hit "Shadow Dancing" : GIBB
Andy was the younger brother of the brothers Gibb that made up the British band the Bee Gees. Andy pursued a successful solo career, but got himself into trouble with drug use. He died in 1988, just after his 30th birthday.
12. "Lou Grant" paper, with "the" : TRIB
Ed Asner's Lou Grant character originated of course on the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Asner had to play a wide range of emotions in that role, and did so very ably. Asner, as Lou Grant, is the only actor ever to win a comedy and drama Emmy for the same character. And did you know that Gavin Newsom, the up and coming Mayor of San Francisco, is Asner's nephew (through his wife)?
22. Mozart's "___ donna a quindici anni" : UNA
The aria "Una donna a quindici anni" ("A fifteen year old woman") is from Mozart's comic opera "Cosi fan tutte", also called "The School for Lovers" in English. A more literal translation is "Thus do all (women)", or "Women are like that".
25. Tennis's Nastase : ILIE
I thought that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 70s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, he always had time to give the crowd a laugh.
26. Grammy-winning Winans : CECE
CeCe Winans (real name Priscilla) is a Gospel music singer. She is part of a duo with her brother, BeBe Winans (real name Benjamin).
28. Italian waterway : TIBER
The Tiber is the principal river in Italy in that it runs through the capital of Rome. It is also the third longest river in the country.
30. #1 : ENTERPRISE
The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first shuttle to be built, although it was designed as a test vehicle and did not have engines or a heat shield and so never made it into space. It did fly however as it was carried on the 747 carrier aircraft and performed approach and landing tests. The planned name for the first shuttle was Constitution, but that was changed to Enterprise after a write-in campaign by fans of the "Star Trek" television show (which featured the Starship Enterprise).
31. ___ suit : ZOOT
A zoot suit has pants that are fairly loose fitting, except around the cuff at the bottom of the leg. The pants also have a high waist. The jacket of the suit has wide lapels and wide, padded shoulders. Zoot-suits were popular in the US in the thirties and forties, and often associated with the African American, Latino American and Italian American ethnic groups. Over in the UK, the zoot suit was worn by the "Teddy boys" of the fifties and sixties. "Zoot" is probably just a slang iteration of the word "suit".
32. Mighty Dog rival : ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food originally produced by Allen Products founded in 1936. The name "Alpo" is actually an abbreviation for "Allen Products". Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon, and Garfield the Cat would you believe?
33. Q-tip, e.g. : SWAB
Cotton swabs were invented in the twenties by one Leo Gerstenzang, a Polish-born American. He marketed his new product under the name "Baby Gays", but this was changed in 1926 to "Q-Tip", with the Q standing for "quality".
34. "I am not what I am" speaker : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare's "Othello". Iago is a soldier who fought alongside Othello, and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. His rival is Cassio against whom Iago hatches a plot to discredit, which creates mayhem, jealousy and violence before Iago is finally exposed for his true character.
36. #6 : ENDEAVOUR
The Space Shuttle Endeavour first flew in 1992. The orbiter was named after the British ship HMS Endeavour, the ship that Captain Cook used on his 1768-71 voyage to Australia and New Zealand. That explains why the shuttle's name is spelled with the British spelling of the word "endeavor" (ending in "-our").
41. Dos follower : TRES
In Spanish, tres (three) comes after dos (two).
43. Nitpicking types : PEDANTS
A pedant, someone who is pedantic, is a person "who trumpets minor points of learning", a person who tends to nit-pick. "Pedant" comes via Middle French from the Italian word "pedante" meaning "teacher".
47. City with the Great Sphinx : GIZA
Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile, about 20km southwest of Cairo. The nearby Giza Plateau is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments on the planet, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx.
51. Certain printing process, briefly : LITHO
Lithography is a printing technique that was invented in 1796 as a cheap way to publish theatrical works. The method involves the image being drawn, usually on a metal plate but originally on a stone (hence the prefix "litho-"). The image is drawn in such a way that some regions of the plate repel ink, so when paper is applied to the plate, those areas are ink-free.
53. "September 1, 1939" poet : AUDEN
"September 1, 1939" is a poem by W. H. Auden, first published in October of 1939. The poem was "inspired" by the outbreak of WWII, which started on September 1, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland.
55. Ruin : BANE
A bane is a source of persistent annoyance.
56. Orbit site : ATOM
In an atom, electrons orbit the nucleus.
57. Workers' rights agcy. : NLRB
The National Labor Relations Board was set up back in 1935. It is an independent government agency, with the role of conducting elections for labor unions and investigating and rooting out any labor practices that are deemed to be unfair.
58. Letters on a car sticker : MSRP
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.
63. Aspen or Tahoe : SUV
The term SUV, Sports Utility Vehicle was introduced by our marketing friends. In the early days, and even for some of today's models, the SUV was a very successful way to describe what amounts to a station wagon on a truck chassis.
Return to top of page