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: All the B’s … every clue and every answer contains the letter “B” … that’s 48 Bs … amazing!
COMPLETION TIME: N/A (watching “War Games” on DVD … a classic!)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Ali ___ of “The Arabian Nights” : BABA
There is some controversy about the story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in that it has been suggested that it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called “One Thousand and One Nights“. The suggestion is that it was added by one of its European translators.
9. Strikebreaker : SCAB
We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a skin disease, and perhaps in an insulting sense as a “despicable person”.
13. Big blast maker, for short : A-BOMB
There are two classes of nuclear weapons, both of which get the energy for the explosion from nuclear reactions. The first nuclear bombs developed, called atomic bombs (A-bombs), use fission reactions. Uranium nuclei are split into smaller nuclei with the release of an awful lot of energy in the process. The second class of nuclear weapons are fusion bombs. These devices are called thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs (H-bombs). In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes are fused together to form bigger nuclei, with the release of even greater amounts of energy.
15. “Able was I ere I saw ___” : ELBA
The three most famous palindromes in English are:
– Able was I ere I saw Elba
– A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
– Madam, I’m Adam
16. Letters on beach lotion : PABA
PABA: Para-AminoBenzoic Acid. PABA (or now its derivatives) is the “active” ingredient in sunscreens in that it absorbs UV radiation. PABA derivatives are used today as PABA fell out of favor due to its tendency to stain clothes and to cause an allergic reaction in some users.
17. Southern cousin of bouillabaisse : GUMBO
Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but in order to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement, but this is no longer the case. In fact, okra gave the dish its name, as the vernacular for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”.
19. Lb. or oz., e.g. : ABBR
Lb. and oz. are abbreviations for pound and ounce.
20. Locale of Britain’s first Christian martyr : ST ALBANS
St. Albans is a city just north of central London. The city takes its name from St. Alban, the first British martyr, who was beheaded there sometime before AD 324. If you’ve ever seen the excellent movie “Birthday Girl” starring Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin, it is set in St. Albans (although it was actually filmed in Australia, to suit Ms. Kidman’s schedule!).
26. Bodega setting : BARRIO
A barrio is the name given to an urban district in Spanish speaking countries.
31. Former New York mayor Beame : ABE
Abraham Beame was mayor of New York City from 1974-1977. Beame was actually born in London, England but grew up in New York. His term as mayor was a rough one, as the main focus back then was staving off bankruptcy for the city.
34. The Beatles’ “Eleanor ___” : RIGBY
When Paul McCartney was writing “Eleanor Rigby“, he started out with the name “Daisy Hawkins”. He also had a “Father McCartney” in the lyrics, but was afraid that it would be assumed it was his Dad. So, he looked through the phone book, and changed McCartney to McKenzie. The name Eleanor was borrowed from actress Eleanor Bron (a fine English actress who had a role in the movie “Help!”). The name Rigby came from Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers. Whatever it takes, I guess!
38. His ___ (the boss) : NIBS
His Nibs is a term of unknown origin, used from the early 1800s to describe a boss, employer or a self-important person. However, I know that “His Nibs” is also used in the much older card game of cribbage (describing a jack), but maybe the term was added to the old game more recently.
40. Its beat may accompany a fife : TABOR
A tabor is a portable snare drum, played with one hand. It is usually suspended by a strap from one arm, with the other hand free to beat the drum. It is often played as an accompaniment for a fife or other small flutes. The word “tabor” comes from the Welsh name for the drum, “tabwrdd”.
42. Cowboy’s tie : BOLO
I’ve never worn a bolo tie, and was surprised to discover that they are a relatively recent invention. The first one was apparently produced in Wickenburg, AZ in the late 1940s by a silversmith. It takes its name from the boleadora, an Argentine lariat.
43. Baseball’s Rusty : STAUB
Rusty Staub had a relatively long career in baseball, playing his first game at the age of 19, and his last at age 41. He is one of only three players who hit home runs in the majors before the age of 20 as well as after the ago of 40. The others are Gary Sheffield (never heard of him!) and Ty Cobb (heard of him!).
45. Old stringed instrument with a narrow body : REBEC
The rebec is an old stringed instrument played with a bow. It was played like a violin, under the chin, or sometimes on the arm.
47. Buddy : BUB
“Bub” is American slang, a term used to address males, and is possibly a variation of bud.
48. Bovine nickname : BOSSY
Bossy the Cow is one of the muppets featured on “Sesame Street”.
54. Neuwirth of Broadway : BEBE
Bebe Neuwirth is a wonderful actress and dancer, very famous for portraying Dr. Lilith Sternlin, the wife of Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” and “Frasier”. Neuwirth is a fabulous dancer, having studied ballet at Juilliard. In more recent years she has had starring roles on Broadway, and in 2010 played opposite Nathan Lane in “The Addams Family”.
56. Research group associated with many Nobel Prizes in Physics : BELL LABS
Bell Labs dates back to the days of Alexander Graham Bell. The first Bell Labs building was in the carriage house of Bell’s father’s house in Washington, D.C.
60. Kebab meat : LAMB
The name “kebab” covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer.
61. Above, in Berlin : UBER
“Uber” is the German word for “above”, as in the famous words from the German national anthem, “Deutchland uber alles”, meaning “Germany above all others”.
63. Bendable body part : ELBOW
The word “elbow” comes from Old English “ell” meaning the length of the forearm, an ancient measure, and from “boga” meaning bow or arch.
64. ___ Longa, where Romulus and Remus were born : ALBA
Alba Longa was an ancient Italian city, located southeast the area that became Rome. Legend is that the supposed founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were from the royal dynasty of Alba Longa.
65. Opposite of badly: Fr. : BIEN
“Bien” is the French for “well”.
66. Raymond’s wife on “Everybody Loves Raymond” : DEBRA
Raymond’s wife on “Everybody Loves Raymond” is Debra Barone, played by Patricia Heaton. Before “Raymond” Heaton had a few smaller television roles, but playing Debra was her big break. She followed up “Raymond” with “Back to You” with Kelsey Grammer, and is currently starring in the sitcom “The Middle”.
68. Juice brand : SOBE
The brand SoBe can be found on teas, juices and bottled waters. SoBe is an abbreviation for South Beach, the neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida.
69. “Born from jets” sloganeer : SAAB
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. So yes, SAAB was, and still is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you will often find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automobile division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000.
1. Pocketbooks : BAGS
Pocketbook, meaning a woman’s purse, is a peculiarly American term. I was flabbergasted by it when I first heard the word used, soon after arriving in the US. It doesn’t go into a pocket, and there’s no book! You guys …
2. Border on : ABUT
“Abut” comes from the Old French word “abouter” meaning “join end to end”.
3. Capital of the former Belgian Congo : BOMA
Boma was the capital city of the Belgian Congo, the country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After independence the capital moved to Leopoldville, now called Kinshasa.
6. Priests’ robes : ALBS
The alb is the white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually worn with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.
7. Brian Williams’s network : NBC
Brian Williams is currently the anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News”. Williams did not graduate from college, and instead left school to take an internship spot with the administration of President Jimmy Carter. Although Williams has done very well for himself, he does say that he regrets not having finished college. Stay in school, kids …
8. Citadel, in Arabic : CASBAH
Casbah is the Arabic word for a citadel, and usually refers to the citadel in the city of Algiers, and the area surrounding it.
9. Barbecue item : SPARE RIB
Spare ribs are so called because “spare” can indicate the absence of fat.
10. Actor Sebastian : CABOT
Sebastian Cabot was an English film and television actor, best known in this country for playing Giles French in the CBS Series “Family Affair” that aired at the end of the sixties. Giles French was the “gentleman’s gentleman” on the show.
11. P.L.O. bigwig Mahmoud : ABBAS
Mahmoud Abbas is very much in the news these days. He took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 2004, after the death of Yasser Arafat. He is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, equivalent to the post of “head of state”.
12. Shakespeare or Browning : BARD
A bard is a poet, from the Old Celtic word “bardos”, also meaning poet, or singer.
14. Ribbon holder, maybe : BOBBIN
A bobbin is a cylinder around which wire, yarn, thread, film or perhaps ribbon is wound.
23. ___ City (Tampa neighborhood) : YBOR
Ybor City is a historic neighborhood of Tampa, Florida. It was founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers. In the year 1929, 500 million cigars were produced in the factories of Ybor City.
28. Sitcom with the character B.J. : REBA
The sitcom “Reba” aired for five seasons starting in 2001, a series built around country singer Reba McEntire. The character BJ was played by Melissa Peterman. BJ is the “other woman” in the show, the ditsy second wife of Reba’s husband with whom he had an affair while still married to Reba.
29. Setting for Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” : ABBEY
Umberto Eco is an Italian writer, probably best known for his novel “The Name of the Rose” published in 1980. “The Name of the Rose” was adapted for the big screen in 1986, in a movie of the same name, starring Sean Connery.
30. Part of an invitation to an imbiber : BYOB
Bring Your Own Beer/Bottle.
35. Expanse south of Ulan Bator : GOBI
The name “Ulan Bator” translates from Mongolian as “the Red Hero”, and is Mongolia’s capital city. The city was named in recognition of Mongolia’s national hero, Damdin Sukhbaatar, who fought side-by-side with the Soviet Red Army in liberating the country from a White Russian warlord and the Chinese. Ulan Bator lies north of the Gobi Desert.
37. Rowdies, in British slang : YOBS
Yob is a word that originated in London, a slang term applied to a working class, adolescent male. It is so-called back slang, and is simply the word “boy” spelled backwards. Yob was extended to “yobbo”, a word with the same meaning. Yobs in the mid 1800s weren’t ruffians nor rowdies, with the term just being applied to youths. However, by the late fifties the term always had rough connotations.
44. Big name in speakers : BOSE
Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Amar G. Bose, and is a company that specializes in manufacture of audio equipment.
49. Bougainvillea and others : SHRUBS
Bougainvillea is a shrub native to South America. The plant was named by a botanist who accompanied the French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville in his voyage around the world.
51. Ball girls : BELLES
“Belle” is the French word for “beautiful”.
52. Memphis street with many jazz clubs : BEALE
Beale Street in downtown Memphis, Tennessee is a major tourist attraction. In 1977, by act of Congress, the street was officially declared the “Home of the Blues” due to its long association with the musical genre.
53. “First Blood” protagonist : RAMBO
“First Blood” was the first of the four “Rambo” series of films, starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But, action all the way …
54. Capital SSW of Basel : BERNE
The city of Basel in Switzerland lies right where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, and so has suburbs that lie in both France and Germany.
Bern (or Berne) is the capital city of Switzerland. The official language of the city is German, but the language most spoken in Bern is a dialect, Bernese German.
56. English broadcaster, with “the” : BEEB
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as “the Beeb”, a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers, on the classic British radio comedy called “The Goon Show”.
57. “SOS” band : ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA’s music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group that topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.
The ABBA song “S.O.S.” was originally titled “Turn Me On”.
58. When doubled, a Polynesian island : BORA
Bora Bora is an island in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The name Bora Bora is imitative of the Tahitian name of the island and should really be pronounced “pora pora”. It means “first born”.
Books, Movies, Songs etc. appearing in today’s crossword (at Amazon.com)