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: 16m 13s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … ASPHODEL (AMPHODEL), SIMNEL (MIMNEL)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
7. “That greeny flower” in a William Carlos Williams poem : ASPHODEL
William Carlos Williams was somewhat unique as a poet, in that he also worked full time as a pediatrician and general practitioner. Williams was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and never gave up his medical practice even when he earned recognition in the world of literature.
“Asphodel, That Greeny Flower” is a lengthy love poem by William Carlos Williams, published in 1955 in an anthology of his verses called “Journey to Love”.
Asphodel is a perennial herb, found everywhere on the Catalan coast of Spain. In Greek mythology, the asphodel was believed to be the favored food of the dead, so was found in abundance on the plains of Hades, the Greek underworld.
15. Husband of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe : HENRIK
Magrethe II has been the Queen of Denmark since 1972. When she was born, the oldest of three girls, it was assumed she would never take up the throne, as Danish law dictated that only makes could be monarch. As women gained more rights in the country, there was a movement to change the constitution, culminating in a referendum in 1953 allowing Magrethe to fulfill her destiny.
Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat is the husband of Queen Magrethe II of Denmark. The Count was a French diplomat, and at the time of the marriage, his name “Henri” was Danicised to “Henrik”. Henri also converted from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism prior to the wedding.
17. Maker of Emporio White perfume : ARMANI
Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer, and founder of the company that bears his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume. Emporio Armani is a label directed at young adults, and uses soccer star Cristiano Renaldo and movie star Megan Fox in most of their advertising. Emporio White is a perfume within the Emporio Armani label.
18. Dr. Eric Foreman’s portrayer on “House” : OMAR EPPS
Omar Epps is the actor who plays Dr. Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Grant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.
20. Carol king : WENCESLAS
What a cleverly worded clue!
“Good King Wenceslas” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The main character in the carol is based on Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. The lyrics were written by Englishman John Mason Neale, using a Scandinavian tune. That’s quite a cultural mix, but it seems to work!
22. Wartime bridge builder : SEABEE
The Seabees are members of the Construction Battalions (CB) of the US Navy, from which the name “Seabee” originates. There’s a great 1944 movie called “The Fighting Seabees” starring John Wayne, that tells the story of the birth of the Seabees in WWII.
25. Sargasso Sea spawner : EEL
The Sargasso Sea, an area within the Atlantic Ocean, is famous for being home to many species of Sargassum, the algae floating on the surface that gives the area its name. The Sargasso Sea is also where both the European and American ells lay their eggs and hatch their young. The young eels then head east or west, depending on the species.
26. Undomesticated : FERAL
Feral, meaning existing in a wild or untamed state, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “a wild animal”.
27. Justicialist Party founder : PERON
Nowadays, President Juan Peron of Argentina is less well known that his wife, Eva Peron, of “Evita” fame. Juan and Evita Peron founded the Justicialist Party in 1947, and still exists today. The current Argentine president, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, is a member of the party.
28. Arid area agriculture : DRY FARMS
Dry-farming is the practice of farming in arid areas, without the use of irrigation, The system depends on the planting of drought-resistant crops, and the use of mulch to reduce the loss of valuable moisture from the soil.
31. “Los Olvidados” director Buñuel : LUIS
“Los Olvidados” is a Mexican film, directed by Spanish-Mexican filmmaker Luis Buñuel. The film follows a group of destitute children in the slums of Mexico City, and the violent life to which they are destined.
32. El Misti’s location : PERU
El Misti is also known as Guaga-Putina, and lies in Southern Peru near the city of Arequipa.
33. Limited release : PAROLE
The term “parole” is a French word that we use, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. In particular there is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his word of honor not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before the full term of a sentence has been served. Interesting, eh?
40. Crack : ADEPT
Someone who is a “crack” marksman, for example, is an “adept” marksman.
41. Tibiae : SHINS
The tibia is larger of the two bones below the knee, and is the strongest weight-bearing bone in the human body. “Tibia” is Roman name for the Greek flute called an “aulos”. It is thought that the shin bone was given the name “tibia” because often flutes were fashioned out of the shin bones of animals.
44. Ambulance chaser’s prize : CLIENT
An “ambulance chaser”, a derogatory term for a lawyer. But then again, I thought “lawyer” was a derogatory term in itself … just kidding!!!!!!!!
45. The Fighting Tigers, for short : LSU
The LSU Tigers are the sports teams of Louisiana State University, officially known as the Fightin’ Tigers, with the school mascot of “Mike the Tiger”. The name comes from the days of the Civil War, when two Louisiana brigades earned the nickname the “Louisiana Tigers”.
46. Item first marketed under the name Snurfer : SNOWBOARD
The snowboard hasn’t been around all that long. The first one was introduced in 1968, and was called a “Snurfer”, short for a “snow surfer”. The snurfer was a simple board, with no bindings.
48. She won three Grammys for her 1989 album “Nick of Time” : RAITT
Bonnie Raitt is a blues singer, originally from Burbank, California. She has one nine Grammies for her work, but she is perhaps as well known for her political activism as she is for her music. She was no fan of President George W. Bush, and she sure did show it.
50. What phorid flies are imported to prey on : FIRE ANTS
Fire ants are stinging ants. Most stinging ants bite their prey and then spray acid on the wound. The fire ant, however, bites to hold on, and then injects an alkaloid venom from its abdomen, creating a burning sensation in humans that have been nipped.
One genus of phorid fly is being looked at to control fire ant populations in the South. Bizarrely, this fly lays its eggs on the thorax of the fire ant. The eggs develop into larvae that migrate to the head of the ant, where the larvae then feed on the brain and muscle in the head. The resulting brainless ants just wander around aimlessly for two weeks, at which point the head falls off. The larvae then continues development in the detached head for two weeks before emerging as a mature fly. The stuff of horror movies, I’d say …
51. Green stuff : DO RE MI
Do re mi is a slang term for cash.
55. Oktoberfest souvenirs : STEINS
Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice … it is a great party …
1. Given a raw deal, slangily : SHAFTED
“Shafted” isn’t a nice term at all. It means to give someone a raw deal. The term arose in the fifties, playing on the vulgar slang usage of shaft to represent the penis (a usage that has been around since the early 1700s). The use of the verb “shaft” therefore is a reference to sodomy. We should stop using that term, I think.
2. Popular rat-baiting dog in Victorian England : TERRIER
Terriers were bred as small, wiry and fearless dogs. They were originally used to control infestations of rats, rabbits and foxes. The terriers would chase their prey over and under the ground. The name “terrier” reflects their hunting behavior, as it comes via French from the Latin word “terra” meaning “earth”.
4. ___ Blücher (forbidding “Young Frankenstein” character) : FRAU
Frau Blücher was played by the zany Cloris Leachman in the Mel Brooks classic, “Young Frankenstein”. You may recall that every time Frau Blücher’s name was mentioned, any horse within earshot would be terrified. Leachman auditioned for a reprise of the Blücher role in the stage production of “Young Frankenstein” in 2007. She didn’t get the part, as Mel Brooks thought she was just too old to play it. He said “We don’t want her to die on stage” …
7. They reproduce via mitosis : AMOEBAS
Mitosis is the process by which the chromosomes in a cell nucleus replicates and then divides into two identical sets of chromosomes. Mitosis is followed by division of the cell itself, resulting in two identical cells.
8. ___ cake (marzipan-covered dessert) : SIMNEL
Simnel cake is similar to Christmas, and is eaten at Easter in Britain and Ireland (except in my house, I guess, because I’d never heard of it!).
9. Follow the leader? : PLACE
A horse, say, that comes in second or third in a race is said to have “placed”.
10. A leveret is a young one : HARE
Hares belong to the genus lepos, and young hares, that are under one-year-old, are called leverets.
11. Bruce Springsteen ballad : ONE STEP UP
The song “One Step Up” was released in 1988, and was a metaphor for the impending break up of Bruce Springsteen’s marriage to actress Julianne Phillips. Back up vocals on the record were sung by Patti Scialfa, with whom he was having an affair, and who is now Springsteen’s wife.
13. Catalán relative : ESPANOL
Catalán is a Romance language spoken in parts of Spain, along with the official Spanish language (Espanol).
27. Pete Dexter novel whose title character is an unrepentant murderer : PARIS TROUT
Peter Dexter’s novel “Paris Trout” was adapted for the big screen in 1991. The title role is played by Dennis Hopper. Trout is an unrepentant racist in 1949 Georgia. He murders the sister of a black man who refuses to pay him money that he is owed, and is outraged when he finds that he arrested for the crime.
29. It sometimes covers first-time performers : FLOP SWEAT
Flop sweat: heavy perspiration caused by embarrassment, originally from the world of theater, perspiration caused the fear of a poor opening night.
30. Singer Rimes : LEANN
LeAnn Rimes has been a country music star since she was 13 years old. In 2008 she disclosed publicly that she suffered from the autoimmune disease psoriasis. She has been active since then in raising money to fight the disease, and helping fund cancer research as well. So, not only did Rimes win three Grammy Awards in 1997, she also won a 2009 Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Country Music.
34. Base found in DNA and RNA : ADENINE
Nucleobases are molecules that from part of DNA and RNA chains. It is the sequence of these bases in the DNA chain that makes up the so-called “genetic code”. In DNA the four bases are Adenine, Guanine, Thymine and Cytosine. The same bases are found in RNA, except that Thymine is replaced by Uracil.
36. Seeking relief from a pitcher? : THIRSTY
Lovely, ambiguous wording …
37. Composer who tutored Mozart’s son : SALIERI
If you’ve seen the brilliant 1984 movie “Amadeus“, you’ll have seen Salieri portrayed as being very envious and resentful of the gifted Mozart. It is no doubt true that two composers fought against each other, at least on occasion, but the extent of the acrimony between the two has perhaps been exaggerated in the interest of theater. Mozart and his wife had six children, but only two survived infancy. The youngest boy was called Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, born just five months before his father died. Franz was to become a gifted composer, teacher, pianist and conductor, helped along the way by lessons from his father’s supposed rival, Antonio Salieri.
38. Roll film inventor : EASTMAN
George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company, named after the Kodak camera that he had invented four years earlier. He came up with the name of Kodak after careful consideration. Firstly he was a big fan of the letter “K”, calling is “string, incisive”. He also wanted a word that short, easy to pronounce and difficult to mispronounce, and a word that was clearly unique with no prior associations. Kodak fit the bill for Eastman.
44. Kind of line : CONGA
The conga line is a dance that originated as a Cuban carnival march. It became popular in the US starting in the thirties. The dance is apparently named after the Congo region of Africa, and was originated by slaves who were brought to Cuba from Africa.
49. Michelangelo work : ARTE
Michelangelo was very gifted in many areas, including painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry and even engineering. Of all the disciplines in which he worked, he had little regard for painting. Well, despite his attitude, he created one of the most influential works in fresco in the world, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
51. Salon selections : DOS
In a hair salon, one selects a hair-do.
Movies and TV shows from today’s crossword
Just select a title, and press the “play” button …