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 email@example.com, 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: 39m 41s
THEME: Play Bargaining (“plea bargaining”) … each of the theme answers is a common phrase with an “E” sound changed to an “A” sound, just “plea” becomes “play” e.g. WEIGH THREE KINGS (we three kings), SHAR-PEI PEN (sharpie pen), GENERAL LEI (General Lee, or generally, I am not sure which)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Grinder toppings : ONIONS
The etymology of “grinder” as a sandwich is unknown, although it dates back to 1954. It is speculated that eating the large sandwich requires a lot of chewing, and hence the name: “grinder”.
7. Supreme Court justice nominated by Reagan : SCALIA
Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and as such is now the longest serving member of the court.
13. Real-life actor Joe who is a character in Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” : PESCI
“Jersey Boys” is a musical that tells the story of sixties group, the Four Seasons. One of the characters in the show is a young Joe Pesci. I saw the show in San Francisco a few years ago, and would recommend it.
18. Bunny’s covering? : SKI SUIT
“Snow bunny” isn’t really a nice term, I think. It refers to a young woman who skis a lot and hangs around the slopes.
20. Furniture retailer ___ Allen : ETHAN
Ethan Allen adopted its name from a line of early-American furniture that it introduced in 1936. The furniture line was named for Ethan Allen, the Vermont revolutionary leader.
21. Put a few monarchs on the scale? : WEIGH THREE KINGS
We three kings …
23. “Orlando” novelist : WOOLF
“Orlando: A Biography” is a novel by Virginia Woolf published in 1928. It tells the story of Orlando, a young man born in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
24. Sister of Charlotte and Emily : ANNE
Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Bronte family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter written by a young man describing the events leading to his meeting his wife. Anne Bronte’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.
26. Huggies rival : LUVS
Here’s another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term diaper was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, diaper was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.
28. Gaza Strip org. : PLO
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the boundaries of the strip of land on the Mediterranean around Gaza were fixed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. The boundaries were specifically defined but were not to be recognized as an international border. From 1948, the Gaza Strip was occupied and administered by Egypt, until 1967 when Israel took over occupation following the Six-Day War. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which handed over administration to the Palestinian Authority, but with Israel retaining control of the Gaza Strip’s airspace, some land borders and its territorial waters. The intent was to further this agreement, but discussions between the parties broke down. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
The Shar Pei breed of dog is that one with the wrinkly face and really dark tongue. The breed originated in China, with “Shar Pei” being the British spelling of the Cantonese name.
33. Espresso topping : CREMA
Crema is the name given to that brown foam that sits on the top of a freshly prepared cup of espresso. There’s no milk in it at all!
38. Obama whose Secret Service code name is “Rosebud” : SASHA
Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, born in 2001. She is the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha’s Secret Service code name is “Rosebud”, and her older sister, Malia, has the code name “Radiance”.
45. Bank claims : LIENS
A lien is the right that one has to retain someone’s property until a debt is paid.
50. Political appointee : CZAR
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word, and was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 A.D. It is derived from the word Caesar, which was synonymous with emperor at that time.
54. Word with a German request : BITTE
Bitte: the German word for “please”.
62. Smoking character : JOE CAMEL
The advertising mascot for Camel cigarettes was officially known as “Old Joe”, but was popularly known as “Joe Camel“. Joe originated in the seventies, in an advertising campaign that ran only in Europe, where he sometimes was depicted wearing a French Foreign Legion cap. He was imported to the US in 1988 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Camel brand. The big controversy surrounding the use of the camel character was that a 1991 study found that 5-6 year old children could recognize Joe Camel more readily than either Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. Also, soon after Old Joe was introduced in the US, the Camel brand’s share of the illegal market to underage smokers went up from 1% to just under 33%.
65. Relative in the barrio : TIO
A barrio is the name given to an urban district in Spanish speaking countries. And “tio” is the Spanish for “uncle”.
66. The golden ratio : PHI
The golden ratio, denoted by the Greek letter phi, is a mathematical constant that often turns up in the world of art. Phi is approximately equal to 1.61, and is represented by the two distances, a and b, where (a+b)/a = a/b. Somehow we perceive the ratio of 1.61 as “pleasing” so it appears in many works of art and in building design. For example, many aspects of the Parthenon in Athens have the ratio of 1.61 (width compared to height). Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man also illustrates the golden ratio in the proportions of the human body, where he shows that the distance from the foot to the navel, compared to the distance from the navel to the head, is 1.61.
67. Line score letters : RHE
On baseball scoreboards we’ll see the letters RHE, standing for Runs, Hits and Errors.
71. N.B.A. All-Star Artest : RON
Ron Artest is a professional basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers. Artest won the award for NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.
74. Amsterdam air hub : SCHIPHOL
Schiphol is the main airport in the Netherlands, located in Amsterdam. The airport is built on land reclaimed from a large lake which was notorious as a location where many ships foundered in violent storms. For this reason the area was given the nickname “Ship Hole”, or “Schiphol” in Dutch.
76. Puppeteer Tony : SARG
Tony Sarg was a German-American puppeteer and illustrator. He was hired by Macy’s in 1928 to build helium-filled “puppets” for their Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, a tradition that was to last a long time. In 1935 he designed and built the puppets and displays in Macy’s windows for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
77. Company that merged with Sony in 2001 : ERICSSON
Ericsson is one of the largest companies in Sweden, and operates mainly in the area of telecommunication. In the US we would probably say that “bluetooth” is the company’s most recognizable product (used for wireless headsets for phones, for example).
80. Brunonian rival : YALIE
The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. Yalies got to Yale, and Brunonians go to Brown.
81. Compromise of 1877 president : HAYES
Rutherford Hayes was the 19th president of the US. Long before we had to endure the dispute over the 2000 Presidential election, Rutherford Hayes found himself president after a disputed election in 1876. President Hayes came went into office having lost the popular vote to his opponent Samuel Tilden, but won the election by one electoral vote. Hayes was awarded the election in the end because of an informal deal struck between Democrats and Republicans called the Compromise of 1877. Democrats allowed Rutherford to occupy the White House in exchange for removal of federal troops occupying some of the southern states.
82. 1996 Grammy winner for the album “The Road to Ensenada” : LOVETT
“The Road to Ensenada” is a 1996 album recorded by country singer Lyle Lovett. As well as being famous in his own right as a successful singer, he is known for his marriage to the actress Julia Roberts in 1993. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage was relatively whirlwind as well, lasting less than two years.
88. Robert of “The Sopranos” : ILER
Robert Iler’s most famous role was that of A.J. Soprano, son of the main character in HBO’s “The Sopranos”, mob leader Tony Soprano. Apparently Iler’s screen persona has spilled over to his personal life, as he was arrested for armed robbery of two tourists in 2001 (and plead guilty to a lesser charge).
91. Famed Fokker flier : RED BARON
Manfred von Richthofen was a famous WWI fighter pilot flying for the Germans, and was known as the Red Baron. He was credited with more kills than any other pilot fighting on either side of the conflict, recording over 80 combat victories. He didn’t survive the war, however, being shot down near Amiens in France in 1918.
100. Its cap. is Beirut : LEB
Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon. After WWI, Lebanon was placed under administrative control of the French, and Beirut flourished as a financial center in the Middle East, and a major world tourist destination. The city was devastated in the Lebanese Civil War that raged from 1975 to 1990, but reconstruction has restored the city to much of its former glory, making it a major cultural center once again.
102. Mensa and others: Abbr. : ORGS
If you ever learned Latin, you’ll know that “mensa” is one of the first words you come across, the word used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford in England, back in 1946. To become a member, you have to score to be in the top 2% of the population’s IQ. The IQ score needed depends on the test you use. For the Stanford-Binet test, that’s an IQ of 132 or better; for the Cattell test it is 148 or better.
105. Floral garland for whoever? : GENERAL LEI
General Lee …
108. Kangaroo ___ : RAT
The kangaroo rat of North America is no relation to its larger cousin, the kangaroo, but they do move around with a similar gait, hopping around on their relatively large and strong rear legs.
109. Character with a prominent back : IGOR
39 IGOR: Igor has been the assistant to Dracula, Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein, among others. He is almost invariably portrayed as a hunchback.
110. Gillette model : ATRA
The Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, and sold as the Contour in some markets, and its derivative products are still around today.
111. Many P.T.A. members : DADS
There are lots of Dads in a Parent-Teacher Association.
112. Duel overseer in “Hamlet” : OSRIC
In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet“, Claudius dispatches his courtier, Osric, to invite Hamlet to participate in a duel.
114. Indecisive wolf’s question? : TO BAY OR NOT TO BAY
“To be or not to be …”
There has been centuries of debate about Hamlet’s “soliloquy” that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite interpretation is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be — that is the question”).
120. John Mason ___, English priest who wrote “Good King Wenceslas” : NEALE
The popular Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” is a Scandinavian tune to which words were added by the English hymn-writer John Mason Neale. The carol tells of the the good king (Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia) who gave alms to the poor on the Feast of Stephen (December 26).
121. Accustoms : INURES
Inure: meaning to harden oneself against the effects of, to accustom oneself to.
125. Observation : ESPIAL
Espial: the act of watching or observing, espying.
1. Battle site of 1945 : OKINAWA
The bloodiest battle in the whole of WWII was the amphibious assault of the Okinawa Islands in 1945. About 100,000 Japanese soldiers died, with American casualties recorded at 50,000. Additionally, 100,000 civilians were killed in action, wounded or committed suicide. The large island of Okinawa was just 340 miles from Japan, and a major objective for the allies as it could be used for launching air assaults on the mainland. However, just a few weeks after Okinawa was taken, the war ended due to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
2. River on the Benin border : NIGER
The Republic of Benin is a country in West Africa. The country used to be a French colony, and was known as Dahomey. It gained independence in 1975, and took the name Benin after the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies.
5. Biomedical research agcy. : NIH
The National Institutes of Health is made up of 27 different institutes, which coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.
7. Breastbone-related : STERNAL
Sternum is the Latin word for the breastbone.
9. “Prince ___” (“Aladdin” song) : ALI
The Disney animated feature “Aladdin” was released in 1992, and is one of the best features to come out of the studio, I think, largely due to the great performance by Robin Williams who voiced the Genie. Unusually for an animated movie, “Aladdin” was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $500 million worldwide.
10. Basketball coach Kruger : LON
Lon Kruger is a basketball coach, currently head coach for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
11. Hearth : INGLE
An ingle is a name for a hearth or fireplace. The word “ingle” probably comes from the
Scottish word “aingeal” meaning “fire”.
14. W.W. II zone: Abbr. : ETO
Dwight D. Eisenhower was in command of the European Theater of Operations during WWII. If you’re a WWII buff like me, there’s a great made-for-TV movie starring Tom Selleck as Eisenhower called “Ike: Countdown to D-Day” that came out in 2004.
15. Mist from a mall? : SHOPPING SPRAY
Shopping spree …
16. Leonard Bernstein called her “The Bible of opera” : CALLAS
Although Maria Callas was born in New York City, she was educated in music in Greece, and launched her career in Italy. Her marvelous performances earned her the nickname “La Davina”, and she was described by Leonard Bernstein as “the Bible of opera …”
18. Brazilian mister : SENHOR
The Portuguese word for “Mister” is “Senhor”.
27. Miss who parks cars? : VALET GIRL
Valley girl …
The original “valley girls” were the young, middle-class females living in San Fernando Valley in Southern California.
32. Only thing between you and an open window? : ICON
On our computers these days, we click on icons to open up new windows.
33. In hell? : CHEZ DEVIL
“Chez” is a French term meaning “at the house of”, which comes from the Latin word “casa” meaning “cottage” or “hut”.
35. Arterial implant : STENT
A stent is an artificial tube that is inserted into a tract in the body (like an artery, say) in order to counteract a localized flow restriction.
39. “Attack!” : SIC ‘EM
Sic ’em is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.
41. Baking spuds : IDAHOS
Potatoes were planted in Idaho as early as 1838. Thank goodness … what we do without potatoes?
43. “The scavenger of misery,” per Shaw : PITY
“Pity! The scavenger of misery” is a line from Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara“.
46. Yearbook signers: Abbr. : SRS
Lots of seniors sign yearbooks.
52. Punjabi capital : LAHORE
Lahore is a large city in Pakistan, second in size only to Karachi. It is known as the Garden of the Mughals (or in English, Moguls) because of its association with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals ruled much of India from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
53. Oil family of TV : EWINGS
The TV soap “Dallas” revolved around the Ewings family. The series that ran for 13 years was originally intended as a five-part mini-series, with the main characters being newlyweds Bobby and Pam Ewing. But, the devious character in the piece, Bobby’s brother J. R., became so popular with audiences that the series as extended with J. R. at the center of the story.
54. Oil unit : BARREL
The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to “bbl”. Barrels aren’t really used for transporting crude oil anymore at all. It all moves in bulk through pipelines and in oil tankers. It’s really just a measurement these days.
55. First player to hit an inside-the-park home run during an All-Star Game, 2007 : ICHIRO
Ichiro Suzuki plays baseball for the Seattle Mariners. He holds a number of Major League batting records, including most base hits for a single season, with 262.
56. Generous carhop’s prop? : THE GIVING TRAY
“The Giving Tree” …
Author Shel Silverstein had a varied career, and did more than write books. He was a poet, composer, cartoonist and screenwriter among other things. “The Giving Tree” is a children’s book that he wrote, and was published in 1964. It tells of a young boy who has a special relationship with a tree in a forest. The message of the book seems to be that the tree provides the little boy with everything he needs.
58. Brawl at a ball? : FANCY FRAY
62. Leno’s necklace? : JAY STRING
The origins of “G-string”, the type of revealing underwear, is unclear. However, since the 1800s, the term “geestring” has been used, originally referring to the string with held the loincloths worn by Native Americans.
As well as being an item of underwear, a G-string can be a designated string on a stringed instrument, one tuned to the note “G”. There is a famous, and lovely piece of music by Johann Sebastian Back called the “Air on a G String“, an arrangement for string and piano that comes from his Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major.
64. Oily substance : LIPID
Lipids are a groups of naturally occurring molecules, including fats, waxes and fat-soluble vitamins (like A, D and E). Sometimes we use the words “fat” and “lipid” interchangeably but fats are a sub-group of lipids, specifically a group best called triglycerides.
68. Prynne of “The Scarlet Letter” : HESTER
Hester Prynne is the main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter“. when Hester is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her clothing for the rest of her life.
76. ___ Lee bakery : SARA
In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit, and he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day, as does Ms. Sara Lee herself, now known as Sara Lee Schupf.
78. Bird and others, once : CELTS
Larry Bird played basketball for the Boston Celticsfrom 1978- 1992.
79. Publisher of Shooting Illustrated, for short : NRA
The NRA is the National Rifle Association, and has been around since 1871. The group was founded as the American rifle Association, and had some celebrated presidents, including President Ulysses S. Grant. It’s often been said that the NRA is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington.
The NRA publishes a number of periodicals including, “American Rifleman” and “Shooting Illustrated“.
81. When doubled, “I like!” : HUBBA
The slang cry of “hubba-hubba” has been around for a while, at least since 1944.
84. “___ in Calico” (jazz standard) : A GAL
“A Gal in Calico” is a jazz song written for the 1946 movie “The Time, the Place and the Girl”.
86. Prefix with copier : TELE
Telecopier is another name for a fax machine.
87. River to the Baltic : ODER
The Oder rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland, before eventually emptying into the Baltic Sea.
90. Game in which it’s easy to make a mess : EGG TOSS
Egg tossing is a game usually associated with Easter. In 1978, one Johnny Dell Foley tossed a fresh hen’s egg a distance of over 323 feet to a Keith Thomas to create a world record.
93. Mop brand that “makes your life easier” : O-CEDAR
O-Cedar is a line of brooms, mops and sponges produced by the Drackett Company, the same people that make the likes of Windex, Endust and Renuzit.
95. Dos Equis competitor : CORONA
Corona is the top selling imported beer in the United States.
Dos Equis lager was originally brewed in 1897, and back then was called “Siglo XX” (20th century) to celebrate the arrival of the new century. The name was changed later to simply “Dos Equis” (two exes).
97. Louse : COOTIE
Cooties is WWI British slang for body lice. Ugh …
99. Austrian title : HERR
“Herr” is German for “Mister”.
104. Where hip-hop was born, with “the” : BRONX
Hip-Hop originated in New York City in the seventies, growing up in inner city African-American, Jamaican and Latina-American communities. Some say that the term “hip-hop” was first used by the group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. I know practically nothing about hip-hop, I must admit …
106. F.D.R. veep John ___ Garner : NANCE
John Nance Garner was Speaker of the House when he ran against New York Governor, Franklyn Roosevelt for the nomination for the presidential race in 1932. When it was clear that Roosevelt was to win the nomination, he cut a deal with FDR and joined the ticket as candidate for Vice President. When the two Democrats won, they were sworn into office on March 4, 1933. As Garner was still Speaker of the House at the time, he is the only person to have held the office of Speaker and Vice President on the same day.
107. Parkinson’s battler : L-DOPA
L-3,4-DihydrOxyPhenylAniline, thankfully can be shortened to L-DOPA. Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson won a Nobel Prize for showing that L-DOPA could be used to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Syndrome.
109. Entertainer born Tracy Marrow : ICE-T
Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles. maybe he should have stuck to his real name, Tracy Marrow. Then again, maybe not …
113. Saint-Martin, e.g. : ILE
The island of Saint Martin is in the Caribbean. If one wants to write the island’s name in French, then the spelling doesn’t change, but there is a hyphen placed between the two words: Saint-Martin.
117. Surgery sites, for short : ORS
119. “I didn’t need to know that,” in modern lingo : TMI
Too Much Information.
Movies and TV shows from today’s crossword
Just select a clip, and press the “play” button …