The full solution to today’s crossword that appears in the New York Times
The full solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword that appears in all other publications
THEME: + ANA … the theme answers are well known phrases with ANA added to the end. i.e. MR. NICE GUY(ANA), SMOKING BAN(ANA), ONE-MAN BAND(ANA) and JOAN OF ARC(ANA)
COMPLETION TIME: 11m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Dealer in hot goods : FENCE
To fence something is to deal in stolen goods, a slang term. The use of “fence” in this sense dates back to about 1700, the idea being that such transactions take place under “defense of secrecy”.
16. Destination of many 1960s-’70s airplane hijackings : CUBA
In the late sixties in particular, Cuba was considered a “safe” destination for hijackers of an American plane due to the antagonistic relations between the two countries. By 1969 the situation was so bad that literally dozens of planes were hijacked and flown to Cuba. The numbers gradually fell as Cuba and the US started talking more constructively, and the Cubans introduced a law making hijacking a crime. Eventually, Cuba and the US signed an agreement whereby each country would return or prosecute hijackers.
19. Genghis ___ : KHAN
Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire, destined to be the largest, contiguous empire in the history of the world. He initially built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, then he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At it’s height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.
20. Title for a South American mensch? : MR. NICE GUY ANA
Mr. Nice Guy(ana)
Mensch is yet another word that comes to us via Yiddish, ultimately derived from the German “mensch” meaning “human being”. We use the term to mean someone of integrity and honor.
Guyana’s official name today is the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana. Guyana is located on the northern coast of South America. The country used to be a British colony, with the name British Guyana, but it achieve independence in 1966. It is now the only member of the British Commonwealth (now called Commonwealth of Nations) that is on mainland South America.
23. “Hair” extra : HIPPIE
The full name of the musical is “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical“.
27. “Gone With the Wind” studio : MGM
David O. Selznick decided that he wanted to make a movie from the successful novel “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell. He paid $50,000 for the movie rights to the book, which was a record at that time, just one month after the book’s publication in June 1936. Selznick was the son-in-law of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer, and he struck a deal with MGM to fund half of the cost of the movie in return for 50% of the profits, and MGM would distribute the film. MGM got a good deal …
29. Perfectly : TO A T
The phrase “to a T” can also be written as “to a tee”, and has been around at least since 1693.
32. Tiredness : ANEMIA
Anemia is from a Greek word, meaning “lack of blood”. It is actually a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition.
34. Result of heating a certain fruit too long? : SMOKING BANANA
I am proud to say that Ireland was the first country in the world to enact a smoking ban in all workplaces, back in 2004.
37. Tempo : PACE
“Tempus” is the Latin for time.
39. “Gotcha” : I DIG
Use of the word “dig” to mean “to understand” was first recorded back in 1934, and comes out of the African-American community.
42. Informal headwear that can’t be shared? : ONE-MAN BANDANA
47. House speaker Nancy : PELOSI
Nancy Pelosi is the current Speaker of the House, the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She is the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker, she is also second in line, after the Vice President, to take over if President Obama cannot finish his term. This makes Nancy Pelosi the highest-ranking female politician in US history.
49. Biblical figure whose name means “hairy” in Hebrew : ESAU
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother, Rebekah gave birth to the twins, “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”.
52. ID on I.R.S. forms : SSN
The main purpose of a Social Security Number is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although to me, it is looking more and more like an “identity number” these days. The numbering system was introduced in 1936. Before 1986, a SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. There was concern that a lot of people were claiming children as dependents on their tax forms who did not actually exist, so from 1986 onwards it was a requirement to get a SSN for any dependents over the age of 5 years. Sure enough, in the following year’s tax returns, seven million dependents “disappeared”.
56. Secretive singer Baez? : JOAN OF ARCANA
Joan of Arc(ana)
Arcana are deep secrets or mysteries. “Arcana” is from the Latin adjective “arcanum” meaning “secret, hidden”.
Joan Baez is an American folk singer, and a prominent activist in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights and the environment. She’s dated some high-profile figures in her life, including Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.
Joan of Arc led the French Army successfully into battle a number of times during the Hundred Years War with England. When she was eventually captured, she was tried in Rouen, the seat of the occupying English government in France at that time. Famously, she was burned at the stake having been found guilty of heresy. Joan of Arc was canonized some 600 years later, in 1920, and is now one of the patron saints of France.
60. Plot division : ACRE
At one time, an acre was the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day.
61. Composer Stravinsky : IGOR
Igor Stravinsky‘s most famous works were completed relatively early in his career, and brought him into the limelight. The three ballets “The Firebird”, “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring” were published in 1910-1913, when Stravinsky was in his early thirties.
66. What a Katze catches : MAUS
In Germany a Katze (cat) might catch a maus (mouse).
1. Aladdin’s hat : FEZ
A fez is that red, cylindrical hat that is worn mainly in North Africa. It used to be very popular right across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of “fez” is unclear, it seems, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez. Back in my part of the world, the fez is famous, as it was warn by the the celebrity comedian/magician Tommy Cooper.
2. Musician Brian : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, his most oft played composition (by far!) is Microsoft’s “start-up jingle”, the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows system starts up.
5. Some academic retirees : EMERITI
Emeritus is a term in the title of some retired professionals, particularly an academic, but also perhaps a bishop. Originally an emeritus was a veteran soldier who had served his time. The term comes from the verb “emerere” meaning to complete one’s service.
6. Peaceful race in “Avatar” : NAVI
I went to the 3D version of “Avatar” when I saw it for the first time … it really is the only way to see that movie!
7. Waugh who wrote “Island in the Sun” : ALEC
Alec Waugh was the older brother of the more famous Evelyn Waugh. Both were successful novelists (Evelyn of “Brideshead Revisited” fame), but what I like about Alec is that he supposedly invented the cocktail party. He invited his friends around “for tea” in the twenties, and served them all rum swizzles instead!
9. Hellish : STYGIAN
Stygian is such a lovely word! It means gloomy and dark, or infernal and hellish. It is the adjective used for the River Styx.
11. Self-proclaimed “astronaut of boxing” : MUHAMMAD ALI
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.
The full quotation from Muhammad Ali is “I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”
12. Congo tributary : UBANGI
The Ubangi River defines the border between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and further downstream, the border between the DRC and the Republic of Congo.
13. Southernmost country in Central America : PANAMA
The Republic of Panama is the southernmost country in Central America, and by definition, the southernmost country in North America.
22. John McCain’s alma mater: Abbr. : USNA
John McCain went into the US Naval Academy in 1958, following a family tradition, as his father and grandfather were both four-star admirals. The younger McCain did not achieve the same rank, retiring from the Navy as a captain in 1981, but his career development was interrupted by six years spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Regardless of politics, we can only salute out military heroes.
24. “My Friend ___” of 1950s TV : IRMA
“My Friend Irma” was a hit radio sitcom at the height of its popularity in the forties. It was so successful that it spawned a TV show, two movies, a comic strip and book, and a spin-off radio show. The 1949 movie “My Friend Irma” went down in history as the first movie in which Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appeared together.
25. “A Whiter Shade of Pale” group : PROCOL HARUM
“A Whiter Shade of Pale” was the first single released by British band Procol Harum, in 1967. The song is was so successful in the UK, that it is the most played song in British broadcasting in the past seventy years. The success of their first record outshines the response to all the band’s subsequent releases.
30. Ottoman V.I.P. : AGHA
An aga, or agha, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.
33. Sir Geraint’s faithful wife : ENID
Enid is a Welsh name, from “einit” an old Welsh word meaning “purity”. Geraint was one of King Arthur’s knights, and Enid his wife, “the personification of spotless purity”.
35. Casino game with a caller : KENO
The name “Keno” has French or Latin roots, with the French “quine” being a term for five winning numbers, and the Latin “quini” meaning “five each”. The game, however, originated in China. It was introduced to the West by Chinese immigrants working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.
36. Police dept. alerts : APBS
All Points Bulletins.
An APB is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.
43. Old U.S. gas brand : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of Standard and Oil (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but it is still used all over the rest of the world.
44. Final movie of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, with “The” : MISFITS
“The Misfits” is a 1961 drama starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, directed by John Huston. It is noted for being the last screen appearances by both Gable and Monroe. Gable suffered a heart attack two days ofter the end of filming, and died ten days later. When the movie premiered in New York, Monroe attended, but was on a pass from a psychiatric hospital. She took a drug overdose a year and a half later. Montgomery Clift also starred in the movie. Six years later, the film was on television and his housekeeper asked him if wanted to watch it. He replied curtly, “Absolutely not”, the last words he spoke, as he was found dead in bed the next morning. A movie with a bit of a curse, one might say …
45. Rhyme scheme for Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” : AABA
When I was a school-kid back in Ireland, Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was our first introduction to American poetry, and what a lovely introduction it was …
48. Prius, e.g. : ECOCAR
The Toyota Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car sold in the US, according to the EPA. The name “Prius” is a Latin word meaning “ahead, leading”. In the US we pronounce the name “pree-us”, but across the Atlantic it’s pronounced “pry-us”.
57. “The Untouchables” character : NESS
Eliot Ness was portrayed by Kevin Costner in “The Untouchables” (good movie).
58. “I, Claudius” setting : ROME
“I, Claudius” is a 1934 novel by Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of Emperor Claudius of Rome. Graves wrote a sequel in 1935, “Claudius the God”. Both books were adapted by the BBC into a fabulous series that went by the name “I, Claudius“.
59. Sport with shells : CREW
Crew is another name for competitive team rowing. The narrow boat used is called a “shell”.
63. “___, Pray, Love” (2006 Elizabeth Gilbert best seller) : EAT
Elizabeth Gilbert is a novelist best known for her 2006 memoir “Eat, Pray, Love“, a huge best seller that has gotten a boost with the release of a screen adaptation in August, 2010. Julia Roberts stars, and I haven’t seen it yet, but no doubt will do so.
65. Tyrannosaurus ___ : REX
The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually T. rex) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. Tyrannosaurus comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard), and the “rex” is of course Latin for “king”. They were big boys, measuring 42 feet long, and 13 feet tall at the hips, weighing 7.5 tons.