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: N/A (chatting with family … very loud in-laws!)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
8. Throttle: Var. : GAROTTE
The handheld weapon known as a garrote (or garotte) was in particular used by murders and robbers harassing travelers in India. These felons were known locally as “thuggees” (from the Hindi word for “thief”). This gave us our contemporary word “thug”, meaning a brute.
15. Some literati : CULTURE VULTURES
Literati are men and women of letters, learned people. The slang term “culture vulture” has been around at least since 1947.
18. The Sakmara feeds it : URAL
The Sakmara River in Russia drains the Ural Mountains in the south, emptying into the Ural River.
19. Clipper supporters : MASTS
A clipper was sailing ship commonly crossing the seas in the 19th century. Clippers were built for speed, so were narrow and had less room for carrying freight than many vessels used in trade. Clippers were developed largely due to the demand for speedy delivery of fresh tea from China to Europe. The name “clipper” comes from the term “clip” meaning to move swiftly (“at a clip”).
20. Singer with the 4x platinum album “Watermark” : ENYA
Enya’s real name is Eithne Patricia Ni Braonain, which can translate from the Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful career. Personally, I don’t like her music, as it all sounds the same to me, but she sure does turn up in crosswords a lot!
21. Help-wanted indication : SOS
The combination of three dots, three dashes, three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress signal in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS, although there is no pause between the letters, so this is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also only mnemonics, introduced after the Morse signal was adopted.
22. Knowing what’s what about : HIP TO
The word “hip” meaning “informed” is just a a variant of the word “hep” that has the same meaning. Both terms probably originated as slang first used in the African American community.
23. Big name in Top 40 countdowns : KASEM
Not only is Casey Kasem so closely associated with the radio show “American Top 40”, but he is also well known for playing the voice of Shaggy Rogers on the “Scooby-Doo” animated series.
24. Contemporaries : AGE-MATES
Simply a group a people of similar age …
26. GIF or JPEG alternative : BITMAP
GIF, JPEG and BITMAP are all image file formats.
27. Longtime “Column One” printer, briefly : L.A. TIMES
One of the best known columns in the Los Angeles Times goes by the name of “Column One”. Launched in 1968, it can seen on the left-hand side of the front page, and contains items that are designed to illicit a response of, “Gee! That’s interesting!” I actually shoot for the same reaction in this Blog. My goal is to explain the tricky stuff, but to highlight interesting facts about the less tricky.
28. Port alternative : MADEIRA
Madeira is an Portuguese owned archipelago that lies to the southwest of mainland Portugal. Madeira is famous for its wine, which is a fortified beverage (as is port, sherry and Marsala wine).
29. Proverbial certainty : TAXES
In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy dated 13 Nov 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
31. Bit of biblical “writing on the wall” : TEKEL
In the Book of Daniel, there is the story of the words “Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharson” being written mysteriously on the walls of the royal place. This story is the origin of the phrase “the writing’s on the wall”.
32. Eggheaded experts : WONKS
A wonk is an overly studious person. It is an American slang term that has been around at least since 1954.
33. Old autodom’s Model M or Model T-6 : REO
REO was founded by Ransom E. Olds (hence the name REO).
35. Columnist and graphic novelist Jonathan : AMES
Jonathan Ames has authored a number of novels and comic memoirs. He was a columnist for the “New York Press” for some years, and more recently he created a television series on HBO called “Bored to Death“.
37. Jazz flutist Herbie : MANN
Herbie Mann was a Jewish-American flautist, recognized as perhaps the greatest jazz flautist in the sixties. He recorded a best selling single called “Hijack” in 1975, which topped the Disco charts for three weeks.
38. Uncomfortably tight wrapper? : BOA
Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always bigger than the male.
39. ___ column (concrete-filled steel cylinder) : LALLY
A lally column provides vertical support to horizontal beams in a building. The lally column is a hollow, steel column, filled with concrete so that it resists buckling. The column takes its name from its inventor, American John Lally, who started producing them in the 1800s.
40. Lacking luster : MATTE
What’s the relationship between “matte” and alcohol? Well, “matte” meaning flat and lusterless, comes from the Old French word “mat” meaning beaten down and withered, which in turn comes from the Latin “maddus”, the word for being “maudlin with drink”. Sometimes I wonder about these derivations …
41. “This one’s incredible!” : IT’S A LULU
The word “lulu” was likely first used in a baseball article back in 1886, when it meant, as it does today, a remarkable person or thing. The etymology seems to be unknown.
44. Aid in understanding some old pictures : THE ROSETTA STONE
Rosetta is a coastal city and port on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact of tremendous importance in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. Carvings on the stone are actually three translations of the same passage of prose, one in Egyptian hieroglyphics, one in Egyptian Demotic language, and one in classical Greek. The stone was discovered by the French military during Napoleon’s 1798 campaign in Egypt. Before the French could get it back to France, the stone somehow ended up in enemy hands (the British), so it is now on display in the British Museum. Ownership of the stone is very much in dispute. The French want it, and understandably, the Egyptians would like it back.
46. Court no-no : HEARSAY EVIDENCE
Hearsay is information that one person has about some event, without that person actually seeing the event firsthand. For example, I am typing up this Blog on my laptop, so now you can tell others that I typed this Blog on my laptop. However, if you do tell that to others, it is hearsay, because you didn’t actually seem me do the typing. You see, maybe I lied. Maybe I used my desktop!
2. One making a special delivery? : SURROGATE MOTHER
A nicely worded clue.
“Surrogate” comes into English from Latin, as “surrogare” means “to substitute, to put in another’s place”.
4. Leaning, in a way: Abbr. : ITAL
Italic type leans to the right. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic forms of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.
5. Bulg. relative : RUS
Bulgarians are related to Russians.
6. Many ascetics : EREMITES
The Greek word for “uninhabited” is eremos, which is the root for eremia meaning both “desert” and “solitude”. The Greek word erimites then means “a person of the desert”. This was absorbed into Latin as ermita, meaning someone who lived in solitude or in an uninhabited area. We use “eremite” to mean the same thing, although the derivative term “hermit” is more common.
7. Ranchero dressing? : SERAPES
A ranchero is one employed on a ranch, and has Spanish roots. A Mexican ranchero might be dressed in a serape.
Serape is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape, is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a whole in the middle for the head. Most have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.
8. Vivacity : GUSTO
“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in the sense of “with gusto”, with great enjoyment.
9. Noted ring family : ALIS
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta? Ali won a gold medal in the 1960 games, which he threw into the Ohio River after being refused service at a “whites only” restaurant. He was presented with a replacement medal during the 1996 Games.
10. Football linemen: Abbr. : RTS
In American football, linemen specialize in playing in the line of scrimmage. RT stands for Right Tackle. That’s about all I know, and even that much I am unsure about …
11. Shown up at a restaurant? : OUT EATEN
Nice wording …
12. Souls’ post-death passages : TRANSMIGRATIONS
Transmigration of the soul is another term for reincarnation. Reincarnation is a central tenet to most Indian religions, and involves a person’s soul coming back to Earth after the death of the body, then residing in a new body.
13. It’s better than life : TEN YEAR SENTENCE
Certainly, it is better, from the point of view of the convicted felon anyway …
14. Imprint: Sp. : ESTAMPA
In Spanish, “estampa” is a print, imprint, or perhaps stamp.
16. Occasional bullet stoppers : VESTS
Bulletproof vests come in two type. Soft vests can protect one from small rounds fired by an attacker. Hard vests include ceramic or metal plates, designed to stop rifle rounds.
22. Five-time “Hill Street Blues” Emmy nominee : HAMEL
Veronica Hamel played public defender Joyce Davenport on “Hill Street Blues”. Davenport was also the girlfriend of Captain Frank Furillo, and each episode would end with the two of them in bed, acting out a kind of epilogue.
23. “But the ___ not my son” (“Billie Jean” lyric) : KID IS
“Billie Jean” is song written and performed by Michael Jackson, included on the amazing “Thriller” album in 1982, and then released as a single in 1983. Even though Jackson was an avid tennis player and fan, the song was not about tennis great Billie Jean King, but rather on groupies that Jackson had met in his career.
31. “Bewitched” spinoff : TABITHA
“Tabitha” was a big flop, a spin-off of the very successful “Bewitched” series that had finished several years before “Tabitha” aired. The title role was played by Lisa Hartman, who continued with her acting career after “Tabitha” with some degree of success. Hartman is the wife of country music star Clint Black.
32. Pikeperch : WALLEYE
Walleye is freshwater fish native to Canada and the northern US. The walleye takes its name from its distinctive eyes. The eyes reflect light, rather like those of a cat, creating a phenomenon of “eyeshine”. The walleye’s eyes are well adapted for hunting for food in turbid waters, but makes them a more visible prey to anglers that hunt for them at nighttime.
34. Length of some shorts : ONE REEL
A short film might be just one reel long.
37. Tuesday in Tijuana : MARTES
Martes is Spanish for Tuesday.
Tijuana is of course the sister city to San Diego, lying just over the US-Mexico border.
39. Novelist Mario Vargas ___ : LLOSA
Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer of renown, one of the most significant authors from Latin America by all accounts. Llosa is also very active politically, and in 1990 ran unsuccessfully for the Peruvian presidency.
42. Musical settings: Abbr. : ARRS
Arrangements are musical settings.
45. Some surfers’ needs : TVS
Some people surf the channels on their television.
Movies and TV shows from today’s crossword
Just select a title, and press the “play” button …