This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 65m 46s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Good-for-nothing : EMPTY SUIT
He or she might wear a suit, but there's no substance under it.
10. Transmission repair chain : AAMCO
AAMCO is named after one of the two founders, Anthony A. Martino (AAM). The company was founded in 1963 in Philadelphia, and opened its first franchise in Newark that same year. There are now about 800 franchises, and AAMCO is the largest transmission chain in the world.
16. Eponym of an annual award for best left-handed pitcher : SPAHN
The Warren Spahn Award has been presented annually by the Oklahoma Sports Museum since 1999. Warren Spahn was a left-handed pitcher, who won 363 games, more than any other left-handed pitcher in history.
18. Ancient neighbor of Lydia : IONIA
Lydia and Ionia were ancient territories in land now covered by modern-day Turkey. Apparently they were settled by colonists from the other side of the Aegean, and eventually fell under Greek then Roman rule.
19. Legis. period : SESS
A session is a legislative period.
20. Like many Miami Beach buildings : DECO
Miami Beach has an Art Deco Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The buildings in the district make up the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world.
21. Vice president Barkley : ALBEN
Alben Barkley served as Vice President of the US under President Truman. Truman and Barkley fought the famously close presidential race against Governor Dewey of New York in 1948. As President Truman finished his second term, Vice President Barkley announced his candidacy for the highest office, but was pressured to pull out of the race as he was considered too old at 74 years.
22. Populist power couple of the 1940s-'50s : PERONS
Nowadays, President Juan Peron of Argentina is less well known that his wife, Eva Peron, of "Evita" fame.
24. Ornamental pond fish : ORFE
The orfe is also known as the ide or id. It's a freshwater fish, with a bright coloring, making it popular for ornamental ponds.
31. Airport alternative to JFK or LGA : EWR
The accepted three big airports serving New York City are John F. Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).
32. Code broken by Joe Valachi : OMERTA
Omerta is a code of honor in existing Southern Italy society. It has been adapted by the Mafia to mean a code of silence, designed to prevent a Mafioso from informing to the authorities. Joe Valachi was someone who broke the code of silence in 1963, informing on the New York Mafia. His story was told in the movie "The Valachi Papers", with Charles Bronson playing Valachi.
34. Picasso's "private muse" : DORA MAAR
Dora Maar was a famous French photographer. She became Pablo Picasso's lover, and muse, when she was 29, and Picasso 54. The pair had a complicated relationship that lasted nine years. Picasso painted a portrait of her ("Dora Maar with Cat") that was sold at auction in 2006 for almost $100 million, the second highest price ever paid for a painting.
36. Some Musée d'Orsay hangings : RENOIRS
The Musee d'Orsay is one of the premier museums in Paris, and holds the world's largest collection of impressionist art. Renoir was a pioneer in the Impressionist art movement.
38. Adversary of Rocky : NATASHA
Natasha Fatale is was a cartoon character that hung out with Rocky and Bullwinkle in the sixties. Natasha was a spy, hence the "Fatale" name.
41. Wimbledon's borough : MERTON
The London Borough of Merton is in the southwest of London. It is the home of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the oldest and perhaps the most celebrated tennis competition in the world. The Wimbledon Championships started in 1877, and are still played on grass.
42. Pou ___ (vantage point) : STO
Pou sto is Greek, meaning "where I may stand". The phrase has it roots in words spoken by Archimedes, who said that he could move the earth if given a place to stand. In contemporary use it describes a place on which to stand, or a basis of operation.
43. He said "Most editors are failed writers - but so are most writers" : ELIOT
T. S. Eliot was born in New England but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Much of his college education was at Oxford, and clearly he became comfortable with life in England. In 1927 he became a British citizen, and lived the rest of life in the UK.
52. Beggar in Sir Walter Scott's "The Antiquary" : EDIE
"The Antiquary" is a Gothic novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1816. Edie Ochiltree is the beggar character in the story. Scott describes him as a "gaberlunzie", a Scots word for a licensed beggar.
53. K.P. unit : SPUD
KP is a US military slang term, and stands for either "kitchen police" or "kitchen patrol".
57. Cologne is found on it : RHINE
Cologne (Koln in German) is the fourth largest city in Germany, and the Rhine is one of the longest rivers in Europe.
58. It can't travel in a vacuum : SOUND WAVE
Sound is a wave from that propagates through matter: solid, liquid or gas. If there is no matter to carry the sound, then there's no sound!
60. Great, to Gaius : MAGNA
Gaius was a common Roman name for males. Magna is the Latin for "great".
62. Antiknock fluid : ETHYL
The Ethyl Corporation produced the controversial anti-knock fuel additive known as Ethyl, actually tetra-ethyl lead, and we are still living with the consequences ...
2. Sourpuss's look : MOUE
Moue comes from French, and it means a small grimace, or a pout.
4. Hold hands? : TARS
The tars (sailors) might be the hands working in the hold of the ship.
5. Sumac with a wide range : YMA
Yma Sumac was a Peruvian soprano, with a notable vocal range of five octaves.
6. Earl ___, 1930 Triple Crown-winning jockey : SANDE
Earl Sande retired from his very successful career as a jockey in 1932. He turned to training racehorses, and within a few years he was the most successful trainer in the country.
9. Its news network won a 2008 Peabody Award : THE ONION
"The Onion" is a satirical news network, with a print newspaper and a heavy online presence. "The Onion" newspaper was founded by two college students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. The founders sold the operation a year later for about $20,000. The paper grew steadily until 1996 when it began to publish online and really took off. I think it's worth a tad more than $20,000 today ...
10. Polo setting : ASIA
Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice, and famous traveler throughout Asia. He journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco is the one we remember today because he documented their travels in the book "Il Milione".
11. Olympic speed skater Ohno : APOLO
Apolo Ohno has won more Winter Olympics medals than any other American. He also did a great job winning the 2007 season of television's "Dancing with the Stars".
12. Unmacho features : MAN BREASTS
No comment ...
13. Cleveland Indians mascot : CHIEF WAHOO
Chief Wahoo is a somewhat controversial cartoon image, thought by many to reinforce stereotypes.
33. Botanical casings : ARILS
The casing called the aril, which surrounds may seeds, may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and aids in the dispersion of the seeds.
44. Like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva : TRIUNE
The Hindu Trinity is Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva (also Siva) the destroyer or transformer. A triune is another word for a trinity, three beings in one.
47. "South Park" parka wearer : KENNY
Kenny McCormick is a character on "South Park" (which I have never watched). Apparently it's hard to understand his dialog as the hood of his parka covers his mouth.
49. Dovetail, e.g. : TENON
One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon, basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. In a dovetail joint, the projecting tenon is not rectangular but is cut at a bias, so that when the dovetails are joined they resist being pulled apart. You'll see dovetail joints in drawers around the house.
53. Quid pro quo : SWAP
Quid pro quo is Latin for "something for something", a swap.
55. Ciliary body locale : UVEA
The ciliary body is a layer of spherical tissue on the inside of the eyeball. It produces the fluid that fills the eyeball, and it also has muscles attached to the eye's lens. These muscles adjust the shape of the lens causing it to change focus. The uvea is a larger layer of tissue, also spherical, of which the ciliary body is part.
59. Lush development? : DTS
The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called Delirium Tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is "trembling madness".
This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: Didn't finish
ANSWERS I MISSED: Lots! ... missed quite a few in the bottom half .. I found this one to be tough!
1. Inspiration for Björn Again : ABBA
"Bjorn Again" is satirical imitation of the phenomenal band ABBA. Bjorn Again is more than just a tribute band. It is a franchised operation, with ABBA "lookalikes" using the name "Bjorn Again" and performing all over the world. The act started in Australia in 1988, and as it is still going today, it has actually been going longer than the original ABBA.
5. Bob of stand-up comedy : SAGET
Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.
15. Art center since 1819 : PRADO
The Museo del Prado is in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and has one of the finest collections in the world. The galleries most famous work is "Las Meninas" By Velazquez.
16. Risky thing to try in figure skating : QUAD
The quadruple jump was first performed in competition By Kurt Browning, in 1988. Miko Ando was the first woman to land a quad in competition, in 2002.
17. Risky thing to try for on "Jeopardy!" : TRUE DAILY DOUBLE
"Jeopardy" first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it tool the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.
20. Novel whose title comes from Ecclesiastes : THE SUN ALSO RISES
"The Sun Also Rises" is the Ernest Hemingway's first major novel, published in 1926. Hemingway originally titled the work "Fiesta", and indeed it was first published under this title outside of America. At the recommendation of the publisher, Scribner's, the title was changed to "The Sun Also Rises", taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5 "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose."
21. "Doo ___ (That Thing)" (#1 hit for Lauryn Hill) : WOP
"Doo Wop (That Thing)" not hit the number one spot, it as Lauryn Hills first single ... quite a debut. Lauryn Hill started out her musical career with the Fugees, launching her solo career in 1998.
23. Heat unit? : LAP
One a competition, say of swimming, the heats are contested by completing laps.
24. Player of Sethe in "Beloved" : OPRAH
"Beloved" the movie is based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by Toni Morrison. Oprah, who produced the film, stars opposite Danny Glover.
29. Campaign crunch time: Abbr. : OCT
Campaign crunch time is October, the last full month before say, the US presidential election, which takes place on the Tuesday between the 2nd and 8th of November.
32. Opposite of schadenfreude : PITY
Our word schadenfreude of course comes from German. "Schaden" means harm or adveristy, and "Freude" means joy. So, schedenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Quite the opposite of pity.
39. Subject of a Sophocles tragedy : ANTIGONE
"Antigone" is a tragedy written by Sophocles and first performed in 442 BC. Antigone is the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes, born out of the incestuous relationship with his mother, Jocasta.
42. Midgets of the 1960s-'70s, e.g. : MGS
My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979.
47. Image on Connecticut's state quarter : OAK
The oak depicted on the Connecticut quarter is the Charter Oak. The tree earned its name from the legend that the original Royal Charter for the colony was hidden in a cavity of the tree for a while. The tree no longer exists, as it went down in a storm in the early 1800s.
50. Main role on "My Big Fat Greek Life" : NIA
"My Big Fat Greek Life" was a sitcom spin-off of the brilliant 2002 movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Nia Vardalos was very much behind the film and the TV show, and played Nia Portokalos on TV. The TV show didn't go down well though, and only ran for a few episodes.
51. Justice League member : THE GREEN LANTERN
The Green Lantern was a comic book superhero who had a number of alter egos through the life of the character. The Green Lantern was a member of the Justice League of America superhero team. Other members of the League included Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
57. Diamond deception : HIDDEN BALL TRICK
The hidden ball trick has been used over 300 times with success in the Major Leagues.
59. Gifted individual? : DONEE
Nice clue ...
60. Fashionista's read, maybe : ELLE
"Elle" magazine was founded in 1945, and today has the biggest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. "Elle" is the French word for "she".
61. Like some bets and patients : SEEN
"I'll see you", says the doctor, and "I'll see you", says the person playing poker with you.
63. Red, e.g., for short : NLER
A Cincinnati Red is an NLer, playing in the National League.
1. Drama center, often : ACT TWO
Another deceptive clue ... nice ...
2. Lush travel plan? : BAR HOPPING
A lush, slang term for a heavy drinker.
5. "Apollo 13" actor Joe : SPANO
Joe Spano's most famous role was perhaps that of Lt. Henry Goldblume on "Hill Street Blues". In "Apollo 13" he played an unnamed NASA director.
6. 1906 Massenet opera : ARIANE
"Ariane" was not the most successful work by Jules Massenet, that's for sure. It has rarely been performed since its opening in 1906 in Paris. A few years after the debut of "Ariane", Massenet introduced most of the same characters in another opera named "Bacchus". "Bacchus" doesn't get performed either ...
8. Brand with the flavor Fudge Tracks : EDY'S
Dreyer's ice cream sells it's products under the name Dreyers in Western United States, and Edy's in the Eastern states.
11. Litter lying around a den : CUBS
Clever wording ...
13. Pablo Neruda's "Elemental ___" : ODES
Pablo Neruda was initially a pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose the name as a homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.
18. Brunswick, e.g., once : DUCHY
The Duchy of Brunswick was an independent state within the territory of Germany, from 1815-1918.
25. Tours "yours" : A TOI"
"A toi" is the French for yours, and is used when addressing someone with whom one is familiar.
29. Debutante who dated J. D. Salinger and Orson Welles : OONA O'NEILL
Oona O'Neill may have dated Salinger and Welles (in her teens), but she married Charlie Chaplin. She was pretty young too when she married Chaplin, much to the dismay of her famous father, the playwright Eugene O'Neill. After the marriage, Eugene disowned his daughter, pretty upset that 54-year-old Chaplin could marry his 18-year-old daughter.
30. Crushed corn creation : CROP CIRCLE
Very clever wording ...
And don't believe what you hear ... they're fake ...
34. Martinez of the diamond : TINO
Tino Martinez has retired from Major League Baseball, but played first base for a number of teams including the Mariners, Yankees and Cardinals and Devil Rays. Martinez was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and worked as a boy in his father's cigar factory.
36. Title holders : BOOKENDS
Such clever wording in the clues today ...
37. Disney doe : ENA
Ena was Bambi's aunt in the 1942 Disney film of the same name. The movie is based on the Austrian novel "Bambi, A Life in the Woods" written by an author, Felix Salten, and published in 1923.
44. Bear, say : SELLER
On Wall Street, the bears tend to sell, and bulls tend to buy.
47. Setting of Hill Air Force Base : OGDEN
Hill AFB, located just outside Ogden, Utah, was named in honor of Major Ployer Peter Hill who died in 1935 on a test flight of a prototype that would eventually be christened the B-17 Flying Fortress.
49. Lara's son, in DC Comics : KAL-EL
Lara Lor-Van is the biological mother of Kal-El, and wife of scientist Jor-El. Kal-El is sent to Earth, where we would know him better as Superman.
54. Like death's dart, in Shakespeare : EBON
The reference is to lines in William Shakespeare's poem "Venus and Adonis" ...
"Love's golden arrow at him shoull have fled,
And not Death's ebon dart, to strike him dead."
56. Tampico track transport : TREN
Tampico is a city in Mexico, and "tren" is the Spanish for train.
About This Blog
The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.
I answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, contact me on Google+ or leave a comment below.
Crosswords and My Dad
I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.
This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.
January 29, 2009
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