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0407-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 7 Apr 11, Thursday

Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

THEME: After the letters THE … all the theme answers need to be preceded by the letters (not the word) THE to make sense:
19A. Churchill subject, with "The" : (THE)IR FINEST HOUR
30A. Rodgers and Hart song, with "The" : (THE)RE’S A SMALL HOTEL
36A. George C. Scott movie with a rock band namesake, with "The" : (THE)Y MIGHT BE GIANTS
48A. Hit movie of 1991, with "The" : (THE)LMA AND LOUISE

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
4. Source of venom : ASP
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp 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 the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

7. Rum-enhanced dessert : TORTONI
Biscuit Tortini is an ice cream dessert, made with eggs and heavy cream and usually enhanced with a couple of teaspoons of rum. Tortoni was apparently an 18th century owner of an Italian café in Paris.

Spy vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook14. Original "Spy vs. Spy" cartoonist Prohias : ANTONIO
"Spy vs Spy" is a comic strip that has run in "Mad" magazine continuously since 1961. It was drawn by Antonio Prohias, a refugee from Cuba. The early storyline was very fitting for the times, a statement about the futility of the arms race, détente and the Cold War.

16. Straight As in chemistry? : ARSENIC
The chemical symbol for the element arsenic is As.

17. Longshoreman's venue : SEAPORT
A stevedore, or longshoreman, is someone employed in the loading and unloading of ships at a port. The word "stevedore" comes from the Spanish "estibador", meaning "one who loads cargo". The word "longshoreman", is simply from "a man who works alongshore".

Churchill: The Finest Hours19. Churchill subject, with "The" : (THE)IR FINEST HOUR
Soon after Winston Churchill took over as Prime Minister of the UK in 1940, he delivered some stirring speeches that rallied the country in the face of German victories right across Europe. The first of these was his “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech as he reported the formation of a new coalition government designed to unite the country in time of war. The second was his “We shall fight on the beaches” speech, as he reported the successful evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk. The third speech concluded with, “This was their finest hour”, words delivered to Parliament just as France fell, and Churchill pledged that the British Commonwealth would fight on, alone if necessary. The last lines of this third speech, from this magnificent orator, were:
“... But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'.”

21. Pousse-___ (multicolored drink) : CAFE
A pousse-café is such an elegant cocktail, made by layering the ingredient liquids on top of each other resulting in a spectacular and colorful “striped” drink. The secret is to add the densest liquor first, then adding the less dense layers on top. I’ve had one, and it looks a lot better than it tastes.

23. Bernard formerly of CNN : SHAW
Bernard Shaw was a longtime news anchor for CNN, who retired in 2001. I remember his vivid reports from Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War when he described cruise missiles flying past the window of his hotel room.

27. Success on a second attempt, of a sort : SPARE
In bowling, the downing of all ten pins in two balls in the same frame is a "spare", scoring ten points. The player gets a bonus, equal to the number of pins downed with the next ball, which could be up to ten. Hence, a spare can be worth up to 20 points.

Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / American Ballet Theatre, Murphy, Corella29. "Swan Lake" role : ODILE
"Swan Lake" is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet. It tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features the Odile, Odette's "evil twin". Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina.

30. Rodgers and Hart song, with "The" : (THE)RE’S A SMALL HOTEL
“There’s a Small Hotel” is a song by Rodgers and Hart that dates back to 1936. Supposedly the hotel that inspired the song is the the Stockton Inn in Stockton, New Jersey, but the Montecito Inn in Santa Barbara, California makes the same claim.

34. Triage site workers : MEDICS
"Triage" is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on a battlefield. The term "triage" is French and means "a sorting".

They Might Be Giants [VHS]36. George C. Scott movie with a rock band namesake, with "The" : (THE)Y MIGHT BE GIANTS
“They Might Be Giants” is a 1971 film starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. It’s all about a millionaire who retreats into a fantasy world after the death of his wife, imagining himself to be Sherlock Holmes. The title comes from the Cervantes novel in which Don Quixote mistakes windmills for evil giants.

They Might Be Giants is an alternative rock band that formed in 1982. The band’s name is lifted from the 1971 movie of the same name, starring George C. Scott.

40. ___ Chris Steak House : RUTH’S
Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a huge chain of fine-dining restaurants, with well over 100 establishments. The company was started by a single mother of two called Ruth Fertel. In 1965 Fertel bought the Chris Steak House in New Orleans, and under the agreement governing the purchase, she had to retain the name “Chris”. So Fertel added her own name in front of the existing name, and Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses were born.

Thelma & Louise48. Hit movie of 1991, with "The" : (THE)LMA AND LOUISE
"Thelma & Louise" is a thought-provoking movie, but one that is very entertaining. It was directed by Ridley Scott in 1991, and stars two fabulous leads in Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. You'll also spot Brad Pitt in there as well, in his first significant movie role.

56. Fat substitute : OLESTRA
Olestra is a fat substitute. Naturally-occurring fats are made of of a glycerol molecule holding together three fatty acids. Olestra is made of a sucrose molecule, holding together several fatty acids. Olestra has a similar taste and consistency as natural fat, but has zero caloric impact because it is too large a molecule to cross the intestinal wall and passes right through the body. Personally, I steer clear of it. It is banned in Britain and Canada due to concerns about side effects, but I guess someone knows the right palms to grease (pun intended!) here in America, so it's in some of our "low fat" food.

Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey - Ultimate Collection58. Big band brothers : DORSEYS
The brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey headed  up a studio band in the early thirties and had a lot of success together, including two number one hits. The pair had a very acrimonious relationship though, and split up in 1935, each forming his own band. They did even better after the parting of the ways, with Tommy having seventeen more number one hits, and Jimmy ten.

That Night in Rio Poster (11 x 17 Inches - 28cm x 44cm) (1941) Style A59. "That Night in ___" (1941 film) : RIO
“That Night in Rio” is a 1941 musical comedy starring Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda and Don Ameche.

1. Computer language from 1964 : BASIC
I remember learning "the basics" of the computer language BASIC when I was an undergraduate, many moons ago. It stood me to good stead as I used a derivative language (Microsoft Visual Basic) in a project fairly recently. BASIC stands for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

3. Scepter : STAFF
A scepter is a ceremonial staff often held by a monarch.

Big Three Allied Leaders at Potsdam Conference, Discussing Plans For the Future of Germany Collections Photographic Poster Print, 18x246. Capital of Brandenburg : POTSDAM
Potsdam is a city in Germany, lying just on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, Berlin. Famously, Potsdam was the site of a conference between Stalin, Churchill and Truman after the end of WWII in Europe.

7. A.C.C. athlete : TAR HEEL
Tar Heel is a nickname for anyone living in, or from, the state of North Carolina. As such, it is the nickname also of the athletic teams of the University of North Carolina. No one seems to know for sure where the term "Tar Hell" originated, but it is thought to be related to the historical importance of the tar, pitch and turpentine industries that thrived in the state due to the presence of vast forests of pine trees.

The Essential Weird Al Yankovic8. Topic of Weird Al Yankovic's "The White Stuff" : OREOS
“The White Stuff” is a song by Weird Al Yankovich, another one of his parodies. This one is his take on a hit for the New Kids on the Block called “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)”. I think the “white stuff” is the creme in the middle of an Oreo cookie.

13. Lemieux milieu : ICE
There have been lots of ice hockey players called Lemieux apparently.

Ron Howard Signed Photo15. Mayberry moppet : OPIE
A moppet is a young child (a variant of “poppet”).

Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show". He has directed some fabulous movies, including favorites of mine like "Apollo 13", "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Da Vinci Code". And today, Opie is a grandfather ...

TYRA BANKS 8X10 COLOR PHOTO20. Banks on a Sports Illustrated cover : TYRA
Tyra Banks is a tremendously successful model and businesswoman. She hosts, and indeed created, the hit show “America’s Next Top Model “, and has her own talk show. Banks was the first African American woman to make the cover of the “Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue.

25. Jays and Rays : ALERS
The Toronto Blue Jays, founded in 1977, is the only team outside the US to win a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And now that the Montreal Expos have relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team headquartered outside of the US.

The Tampa Bay Rays is a relatively "young" franchise, being formed in 1998. They are apparently still working on building the team, as it has finished in last place in the Eastern Division of the American League in almost every season so far.

27. Goldman partner : SACHS
Goldman Sachs made out like bandits during the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007-08, as the company actually short-sold sub-prime mortgage bonds, so as the price of the bonds nosedived, Goldman Sachs made huge profits.

2009 TRISTAR Obak #84 Francis Scott Key - WROTE STAR SPANGLED BANNER (GAME CHANGERS)(Baseball Cards)29. Key's opener? : OH, SAY
The words "O! say can you see" come from "The Star-Spangled Banner" written by Francis Scott Key. Key wrote the lyrics first as a poem, inspired when he witnessed the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called "The Anacreontic Song", with the Anacreontic Society being a men's club in London.

30. Harris's uncle : REMUS
Uncle Remus is the fictional narrator who was chosen by Joel Chandler Harris to tell his collection of African American folktales.

RAQUEL WELCH 16X20 PHOTO34. Name in a Gore Vidal title : MYRA
Even today, Gore Vidal’s 1968 novel “Myra Breckenridge” is considered controversial. I haven’t read it, but I understand it addresses transsexuality and other sexual practices usually considered to be outside the norm. There was a movie version made in 1970, with Raquel Welch in the title role.

37. Its coat of arms includes a marlin and a flamingo : BAHAMAS
The Bahamas is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, lying in the same island chain as Cuba and Hispaniola. The Bahamas was a British colony for many years but became independent in 1973, although it retains membership in the British Commonwealth.

Egon Schiele 1890-191838. Painter Schiele : EGON
Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter. He is noted for his explicit and sexual drawings, and indeed his style got him locked up in 1912, eventually being found guilty of exhibiting erotic drawings in a place accessible by children. The judge even burned one of Schiele’s drawings over a candle flame in the court.

Mr. Goodbar Candy Bar, 1.75-Ounce Bars (Pack of 36)39. "Mr." at the candy counter : GOODBAR
The Hershey’s candy bar called Mr. Goodbar has been around since 1925. If you buy one today you’ll read the description “made with chocolate and peanuts”. That wording is very deliberate as when Hershey changed the formula to save money in 2008, the FDA ruled that the cheaper formulation could not be described as “milk chocolate”.

44. Clothing company since 1992 : FUBU
The clothing company called FUBU was started in Queens, New York in 1992, with the intent of offering an alternative sportswear for African American youths in particular. The concern was that big companies like Nike were making money out of New York street fashion without giving back to the community. FUBU stood for Five Urban Brothers United, but over time the acronym has become associated with the byline “For Us, By Us”.

Moon Over Parador46. Actor who played himself in 1988's "Moon Over Parador" : ASNER
“Moon Over Parador” is a romantic comedy released in 1988, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Sonia Braga.

47. Bas-relief material : GESSO
Gesso is the Italian word for "chalk", and gives it name to the powdered calcium carbonate that is used as a primer coat under artistic panel paintings. The gesso is mixed with a glue, and when applied to wood it acts as an absorbent surface for paint.

50. Pierre who wrote "Pêcheur d'Islande" : LOTI
Pierre Loti was a French writer, and also an officer in the French Navy.

53. U.N. workers' grp. : ILO
The ILO (International Labour Organization) is now an agency administered by the UN, but it was established by the League of Nations after WWI. The ILO deals with important issues such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

54. Aachen article : DER
Aachen is a city in the very west of Germany, right on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. In English, we quite often refer to this city by its French name, Aix-la-Chapelle.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. Undergrad degs. : BAS
4. Source of venom : ASP
7. Rum-enhanced dessert : TORTONI
14. Original "Spy vs. Spy" cartoonist Prohias : ANTONIO
16. Straight As in chemistry? : ARSENIC
17. Longshoreman's venue : SEAPORT
18. Try again? : RETASTE
19. Churchill subject, with "The" : (THE)IR FINEST HOUR
21. Pousse-___ (multicolored drink) : CAFE
22. Changes the locks? : DYES
23. Bernard formerly of CNN : SHAW
27. Success on a second attempt, of a sort : SPARE
29. "Swan Lake" role : ODILE
30. Rodgers and Hart song, with "The" : (THE)RE’S A SMALL HOTEL
34. Triage site workers : MEDICS
35. Eddying : ASWIRL
36. George C. Scott movie with a rock band namesake, with "The" : (THE)Y MIGHT BE GIANTS
40. ___ Chris Steak House : RUTH’S
41. Anguish : AGONY
42. Paralegal, for example: Abbr. : ASST
43. When repeated, a train sound : CHOO
44. Tire : FLAG
48. Hit movie of 1991, with "The" : (THE)LMA AND LOUISE
52. Revolver, e.g. : SIDE ARM
55. Chocolate treats : BONBONS
56. Fat substitute : OLESTRA
57. Synchronizes : ATTUNES
58. Big band brothers : DORSEYS
59. "That Night in ___" (1941 film) : RIO
60. Full house indicator : SRO

1. Computer language from 1964 : BASIC
2. End of ___ : AN ERA
3. Scepter : STAFF
4. Like most proverbs, for short : ANON
5. Term for a crown : SIRE
6. Capital of Brandenburg : POTSDAM
7. A.C.C. athlete : TAR HEEL
8. Topic of Weird Al Yankovic's "The White Stuff" : OREOS
9. Queue after Q : RSTU
10. Razes : TEARS DOWN
11. See 43-Down : ONS
12. Minor criticism : NIT
13. Lemieux milieu : ICE
15. Mayberry moppet : OPIE
20. Banks on a Sports Illustrated cover : TYRA
24. "Let's go!" : HIT IT
25. Jays and Rays : ALERS
26. Utterance from Reagan mimics : WELL
27. Goldman partner : SACHS
28. It may precede a tip : PSST
29. Key's opener? : OH, SAY
30. Harris's uncle : REMUS
31. Takes out of context? : EDITS
32. Blind : SIGHTLESS
33. Reposed : LAIN
34. Name in a Gore Vidal title : MYRA
37. Its coat of arms includes a marlin and a flamingo : BAHAMAS
38. Painter Schiele : EGON
39. "Mr." at the candy counter : GOODBAR
43. With 11-Down, flight crew concerns : CARRY
44. Clothing company since 1992 : FUBU
45. They have their pride : LIONS
46. Actor who played himself in 1988's "Moon Over Parador" : ASNER
47. Bas-relief material : GESSO
49. Running ___ : MATE
50. Pierre who wrote "Pêcheur d'Islande" : LOTI
51. Words after catch or hang : ON TO
52. Ground cover : SOD
53. U.N. workers' grp. : ILO
54. Aachen article : DER

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About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

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 try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at

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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