I am test driving a new feature at the bottom of each post. There you will find a selection of clips/trailers from movies and TV shows mentioned in today’s crossword. If folks find the feature useful/entertaining, I will continue to include it … Bill.
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’m retired now, 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, or leave a comment below. If you are working on the New York Times crossword in any other publication, you are working on the syndicated puzzle. Here is a link to my answers to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword. To find any solution other than today’s, enter the crossword number (e.g. 1225, 0107) in the “Search the Blog” box above.
This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today …
COMPLETION TIME: 26m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
18. Femmes mariées, across the Pyrenees: Abbr. : SRAS
Femmes marriees (“married women” in French) on the other side of the Pyrenees (in Spain) are “senoras” (Sras.).
19. Glaciation products : ARETES
An arete is ridge of rock forming the border between to parallel valleys that have been formed by glaciation. If this ridge is rounded, it is called a “col”. However, if it is “sharpened”, with rock falling way with successive freezing and thawing, then it is called an “arete”. Arete is the French word for “fishbone”.
24. Actress Edelstein of TV’s “House” : LISA
Lisa Edelstein is the actress who plays the character Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the excellent TV series “House”. I remember seeing her character do a difficult yoga pose on one of the “House” episodes, and sure enough, I just read that in real life Edelstein is an avid practitioner of Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga, an ancient practice.
25. “___ Femme Mariée” (Jean-Luc Godard film) : UNE
“Une femme marriee” translates from French into “A Married Woman”, and is a 1964 film by Jean-Luc Godard. Godard is a so-called “Nouvelle Vague” (New Wave) cinematographer, making movies that challenge the conventions of both traditional Hollywood and French cinema.
31. 90 proof, say : POTENT
Alcoholic proof is a measure of the alcoholic strength of a beverage. In the US, alcoholic proof is twice the alcohol by volume (ABV), and ABV is simply the volume of alcohol in a the beverage compared to its total volume, and expressed as a percentage. Therefore a liquor that is 50% ABV, is 100 proof. The concept of “proof” dates back to the days of British sailors being paid partly with rations of rum. A “proof spirit” was the most dilute spirit that would sustain combustion of gunpowder. Simply stated, if the rum that a sailor was given was so dilute that it doused burning gunpowder, then it was unacceptable to the sailor. The person providing the rum had to give “proof” that the rum catch light from the burning gunpowder, proving it was strong enough to be used as payment. It was found experimentally that rum of 57.15% ABV was the lowest concentration that could sustain a flame, so this was named as 100 degrees proof. But nowadays we round down to 50% ABV.
32. Quahogs : HARD CLAMS
Quahog is another term for “hard clam”, the clam that is commonly harvested on the eastern shores of North America. The quahog may also be called the “chowder clam”. Hard clams are the largest of the clams commonly sold, with the cherrystone clams being a little smaller.
37. Wig out : HAVE A COW
When I was growing up in Ireland, we used the phrase “having kittens” to describe someone having a hissy fit. Apparently “having a cow” is a derivative of “having kittens”.
41. Rare equine hybrid : HINNY
A hinny is the offspring of a male horse (the “h-“) and a female donkey (the “-nny”). A mule is more common, and is the offspring of a female horse and male donkey.
42. See 36-Down : BIZET
36. “Jeux d’___” (42-Across keyboard work) : ENFANTS
Georg Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet’s most famous work has to be his opera “Carmen”. “Carmen” received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly, Bizet died very young, at only 36, before he could see “Carmen’s” tremendous success.
43. Flight ticket abbr. : ARR
44. ___ McCawley, Ben Affleck’s role in “Pearl Harbor” : RAFE
I thought that the 2001 war movie “Pearl Harbor” was excellent, with some great action sequences. The film is in two parts as far as the action is concerned. It deals with the attack on Pearl Harbor itself of course, but then the amazing Doolittle Raid on Japan as well.
46. Series finale : OMEGA
Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron meaning “little O” (O-micron).
51. Bounce : ELAN
Elan: ardor inspired by passion or enthusiasm. I guess that could be “bounce”.
2. Bullish : TAURINE
Taurine is an adjective meaning of or relating to a bull.
3. Musical series : OCTAVES
In music, an octave has a very precise physical definition. If one musical pitch has twice the frequency of another, then the difference between the two is an octave.
5. Amanti maker : KIA
Kia Motors are the second largest manufacturers of cars in South Korea, behind Hyundai (although Hyundai is part owner in Kia now). In recent years, Kia has focused on sales into Europe, and has been remarkably successful.
6. User of a record-keeping device called a quipu : INCA
A quipu is a device used by the Incas for recording numbers. It is made of colored threads that are knotted, and used the base ten number system. The word “quipu” is sometimes translated as “talking knots”.
7. Dead, as tissue : NECROSED
Necrosis is the death of cells, caused by injury or disease.
9. Quatrain’s longer relative : SESTET
A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry, whereas a quatrain is a group of four lines.
Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon, named their product as a homage to the novel. TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle. Interesting, eh?
11. Japanese salad plants : UDOS
Udo is a perennial plant native to Japan, known taxonomically as Aralia cordata. The stem of udo is sometimes boiled up and served in miso soup.
14. “Have mercy,” in a Mass : ELEISON
If you grew up in the Roman Catholic faith like I did, you would be very familiar with the Greek word “eleison” maining “have mercy”. “Kyrie eleison” means “Lord, have mercy”, and “Christe eleison” means “Christ, have mercy”. I find it interesting that the Greek phrase has such a prominent place to lay in a traditionally Latin rite.
30. Ross, Lennox or Angus, in Shakespeare : THANE
Thanes were Scottish aristocrats. The most famous thane has to be Macduff, the Thane of Fife, the fictional character that is killed off by Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play. Other thanes in “Macbeth” are Ross, Lennox and Angus, as well as Menteith and Caithness.
35. Undersize keyboard : PIANINO
The small, upright piano called the pianino was also known as a “birdcage piano”.
36. “Jeux d’___” (42-Across keyboard work) : ENFANTS
“Jeux d’enfants” translates as “Children’s Games” and is a lovely set of tunes composed by Bizet for a pair of pianos, dating back to 1871.
38. One of the seven hills of Rome : CAELIAN
The Caelian Hill was a fashionable place to live in Republican-era Rome.
42. C4H8 : BUTENE
Butene (different from “butane”) is also known as butylene. One of the major used of butylene is in the production of synthetic rubber.
47. Masur’s New York Philharmonic predecessor : MEHTA
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of Western classical music, from Mumbai. Mehta studied music in Vienna, where he made his conducting debut in 1958. In 1961 he was named assistant director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a fuss with the music director designate of the orchestra, Georg Solti. Solti resigned as a protest, and Mehta took his job.
Kurt Masur succeeded Zubin Mehta as music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1991. Despite being highly regarded by the public, Masur stepped down from the post in 2002 apparently due to differences with the Executive Director of the Philharmonic at that time.
49. Italian sweet? : CARO
Caro is the Italian word for “dear”.
50. Sage exiled on the planet Dagobah : YODA
Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice was provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of Muppets fame.
Movies and TV shows from today’s puzzle
Just select a title and press the “play” button …