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: 5m 47s
THEME: TV DETECTIVE … each of the theme answers end with the name of a detective on a TV show i.e. loose CANNON, casual FRIDAY, burn one’s BRIDGES, Capuchin MONK
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Letter after beta : GAMMA
Beta is the second, and gamma the third, letter of the Greek alphabet.
11. Place to get a mud bath : SPA
The word “spa” comes to us from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a health resort there. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.
14. Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie ___” : AMOUR
Stevie Wonder wrote “My Cherie Amour” way back in 1966, but it wasn’t released until 1969. The song tells of Stevie’s infatuation with a real woman that he knew in Michigan School for the Blind.
Cheri is a form of familiar address in French, meaning “dear, darling, precious”. Cheri is the form used when talking to/of a male, and cherie for a female.
17. Unpredictable sort : LOOSE CANNON
“Cannon” was a detective series that aired in the seventies, one of those famous “Quinn Martin Productions”. The title role of Frank Cannon was played by the portly William Conrad. Another character in the show was one Barnaby Jones (played by Buddy Ebsen), who ended up as the center of a spin-off show with the name “Barnaby Jones”. You might have recognized the fabulous, baritone voice of William Conrad. He was the narrator on another hit detective show, “The Fugitive”.
19. No longer chic : OUT
“Chic” is a French word, meaning “stylish”.
20. Italian wine province : ASTI
Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.
21. Back of a boat : AFT
“Aft” really means “back there” on a boat, or “behind”. The back of a boat is of course “the stern”.
22. Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia : IDOLS
Apparently singer Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of “American Idol”. Fantasia (Barrino) won the third season.
“American Idol” is a spin-off show, created after the amazing success of the British television show “Pop Idol”. I hate the program …
24. End-of-the-week office dress policy, maybe : CASUAL FRIDAY
Jack Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday on “Dragnet” on both TV and radio … and what a voice! Off the screen, Webb was a lover of Jazz, and he played the cornet. It was within the world of Jazz that he met and fell in love with Julie London, the famous singer with the smoky voice. They married and had two kids together.
31. Drooping, as a rabbit’s ears : ALOP
I had to go to one of my two huge volumes of the OED to find the definition of “alop”. It means “lop-sided”. A lovely word, I think, but amazing that it seems to have avoided the Internet!
32. Yucatán Indian : MAYAN
The Yucatán is one of Mexico’s 31 states, and is located in the east of the country, on the northern tip of the Yucatán peninsula. The most widely spoken, indigenous language of Yucatán is the Yucatec Maya, one of the many Mayan languages, and a language that is also spoken in nearby Belize and in parts of Guatemala.
35. Cousin of an ostrich : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. The aborigines used them for food and are very adept at hunting them using a variety of traditional techniques. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food, and knocked down fences. Soldiers were sent in using machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the emus. The emus were clever though, and broke formation and adopted guerrilla tactics, operating as small units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers was refused.
38. Permanently sever ties : BURN ONE’S BRIDGES
Burn one’s “Bridges”
“Nash Bridges” is a police drama that ran for six seasons, mainly in the late nineties. The star of the show, playing the title role, was Don Johnson, who had achieved fame as Sonny Crockett in the eighties show “Miami Vice”. “Nash Bridges” is set and filmed near here, in San Francisco. Cheech Marin (of Cheech & Chong fame) played a prominent supporting role in the show.
42. Paris’s ___ de la Cité : ILE
There are two island in the middle of the Seine in Paris, one being the Île de la Cité, and the other Île Saint-Louis. Île de la Cité is the most famous of the two, as it is home to the cathedral of Notre Dame.
47. President of Egypt before Sadat : NASSER
Gamal Abdel Nasser was the second president of Egypt, from 1956 until he died in 1970. He had stood alongside Muhammad Naguib, Egypt’s first president, during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 which overthrew the ruling monarchy of Egypt and Sudan.
Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt (succeeding President Nasser), right up the time of his assassination in 1981. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979 that followed the Camp David Peace Accords. It was this move that largely led to his assassination two years later.
48. Franciscan order member : CAPUCHIN MONK
“Monk” is a police drama set in San Francisco, starring Tony Shalhoub in the title role of Adrian Monk. Although the setting for the show is the San Francisco Bay Area, the show is actually shot in Los Angeles these days.
The Order of Frairs Minor Capuchin is an order of Roman Catholic friars, an offshoot of the Fransicans. The order split from the Franciscans back in 1520, and were forced to go into hiding from church authorities. They new order was helped by the Camaldolese monks, and in recognition of their assistance, the breakaway monks adopted the Camaldolese hood, known as a capuccio. It is this “capuccio” that gave the order its name, and indeed ultimately gave the name to the Capuchin monkey, and cappuccino coffee.
54. “Alley ___” : OOP
French people, and French circus acrobats in particular, use the phrase “allez hop!” as words of encouragement, sort of like our “let’s go!”. The phrase was anglicized to “alley oop”.
“Alley Oop” is a comic strip that ran for four decades starting in 1932. It was drawn by V. T. Hamlin.
55. Greek love god : EROS
As always seem to be the case, the Greek gods Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, but Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male.
59. “___ Abner” : LIL
“Li’l Abner” was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he want so far as to apologize to his long standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt like the quality of his work had gone down in those recent years.
60. What each of the characters named at the ends of 17-, 24-, 38- and 48-Across is : TV DETECTIVE
64. ___ Vegas : LAS
Las Vegas, Nevada was founded as a city in 1905. It became a stop-off point for pioneers travelling west, and eventually a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad, growth halted as folks began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 when the nearby Hoover Dam was completed, and visitors to Vegas take tours of the dam to this day. But then gambling was legalized, and the things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the state line that would service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas became the most populous US city founded in the 20th century, an honor that went to Chicago in the 19th century.
65. French place of learning : ECOLE
Ecole is the French word for “school”.
66. Anne Frank’s hideout : ATTIC
Anne Frank has to be one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust, largely because the story of this young girl lives on in her widely published diary, and in adaptations of the diary for stage and screen. Anne Frank was a German national, until she lost her nationality in 1941 when the Nazis came to power. By this time, she was living with her family in Amsterdam, as the Franks chose to leave German in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, the family went into hiding in the attic of Otto Frank’s (Anne’s father) office building. There the family hid for two whole years, until they were betrayed. The family was split up, and Anne and her sister died in a concentration camp in 1945 from typhus.
2. “Famous” cookie guy : AMOS
Wally Amos was a talent agent, who was in the habit of taking home-baked cookies with him as an enticement to get celebrities to meet with him. He was urged by friends to open a cookie store (the cookies were that good, I guess) and this he did in Los Angeles in 1975, naming it “Famous Amos“. The store was a smash hit, and he was able build on the success by introducing his cookies into supermarkets. The brand was eventually bought up, making Wally a rich man, and his cookies are still flying off the shelf. Wally splits his time these days between his house on Long Island, and his house in Hawaii.
3. No longer worth debating : MOOT
I reckon this clue is backwards. To moot, is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating.
4. One in a jam? : MUSICIAN
The use of “jam” to mean an improvised passage performed by a whole jazz band, that usage dates back to the late twenties. This gave rise to the “jam session”, a term used a few years later. The use of “jam” in this context probably stems from the meaning of “jam” as something sweet, something excellent.
6. Awful mistake : SNAFU
SNAFU is an acronym standing for Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (well, that’s the “polite” version). As you might imagine, the term developed in the US Army during WWII.
7. Ship of Columbus : PINTA
As everyone knows, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three ships, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted, by a sailor on lookout called Rodrigo de Triana. The Pinta was a nickname for the ship (as was the Nina), meaning “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in mists of time.
8. Early night, to a poet : E’EN
In poetry, e’en is used as a contraction for evening, but also for the adverb “even”.
10. Robert of “Meet the Parents” : DE NIRO
“Meet the Parents” is a funny comedy released in 2000, starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. It’s actually a remake of a 1992 film of the same name, that enjoyed less success.
12. ___ Abdul, former judge of 22-Across : PAULA
Paula Abdul is primarily a singer and dancer, and someone who endeared herself even more to the American public in recent years as a judge on “American Idol”. She had a famous husband for a couple of years, as she was married to actor Emilio Estevez from 1992-94.
25. Pisa’s river : ARNO
The River Arno flows through two famous central Italian cities, Florence and Pisa.
Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno. Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile, or bell tower, of the city’s cathedral. It has been leaning since the tower was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are.
27. Bloom: Sp. : FLOR
Flor is the Spanish word for “flower” or “bloom”.
28. Both: Prefix : AMBI
The prefix “ambi-” meaning “both” is a Latin word that actually means “around” or “round about”.
29. Author Bellow : SAUL
Saul Bellow is the only writer to have won the National Book Award three times, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. He was a Canadian-born American writer, and among his most famous works were “Herzog” and “Humbold’s Gift”.
30. “And our love become a funeral ___” (lyric from the Doors’ “Light My Fire”) : PYRE
“Light My Fire” was released by the Doors in 1966. Jose Feliciano did a Grammy-winning cover version in 1969. In one live performance by the Doors, on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, the band agreed to change the line “girl, we couldn’t get much higher” because of the drug reference. But, they sang the original words anyway, and were never asked back on the show. Ed Sullivan wouldn’t even shake Jim Morrison’s hand as he left the stage.
33. Indian metropolis : DELHI
New Dehli is the capital city of India. New Delhi resides within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (otherwise known as the metropolis of Delhi). New Delhi and Delhi, therefore, are two different things.
34. Telepath’s “gift,” in brief : ESP
Extra Sensory Perception.
37. Lenin’s land, for short : USSR
At the second party congress of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, a split developed. The faction with the most support was led by Vladimir Lenin, and as they were in the majority, they became known as the Bolsheviks, derived from the Russian word for “more” or “majority”. Lenin and the Bolsheviks led the October Revolution of 1917, as a result of which Lenin came to power. He headed the new Soviet State for seven years during it’s formative years.
39. Ogden who wrote “Candy / Is dandy / But liquor / Is quicker” : NASH
Ogden Nash the poet was well known for his light and humorous verse.
40. Tehran is its capital : IRAN
Tehran, the capital of Iran, is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around a long time, so Tehran is actually its 31st national capital! We are only babies over here in the US …
41. Quaint computer insert : DISKETTE
Ah, computer diskettes. Remember those 8-inch and 5 1/4-inch floppies? Man, they did flop around …
48. Pablo Casals’s instrument : CELLO
Pablo Casals was a wonderful cellist, from Catalonia in Spain. He lived at the time of the Franco regime in Spain, and as a supporter of the Spanish Republican Government he placed himself in self-imposed exile in 1938, vowing not to return home until democracy had been restored. He never again set foot on Spanish soil, and died in Puerto Rico in 1973.
49. Like some symmetry : AXIAL
Axial symmetry is symmetry around an axis. If you spin a object around an axis, and the appearance of the object is unchanged, then the object has axial symmetry around that axis. Examples would be a sphere and a cylinder.
51. Christmas carols : NOELS
Noel is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for “birth”: “natalis”.
52. Sacred choral work : MOTET
A motet is a simple musical composition based on a sacred text, usually sung without an accompaniment. The term “motet” is a diminutive of the French for “word” … “mot”.
57. Roman author of “Metamorphoses” : OVID
“The Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid. It takes on a lofty subject, and describes the history of the world from creation until the “present day”, the era of Julius Caesar. A lot of the storyline makes use of Greek mythology (rather than Roman).
58. Cabinet head: Abbr. : SECY
Most of the members of the President’s Cabinet are Secretaries, department heads.
61. RCA product : VCR
RCA produced lots of Video Cassette Recorders, but not any more. Have you tried to buy one lately?
Movies and TV shows from today’s crossword
Just select a title, and press the “play” button …