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
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12. Hollywood acronym : SAG
The Screen Actor’s Guild is a labor union with over 200,000 members these days. The SAG was formed back in 1933, at a time when Hollywood stars were really being exploited by the big movie studios, especially the younger, more inexperienced performers. Early supporters of the Guild included famous names like Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney (you could imagine them in a negotiation!). Past presidents of SAG have also been big names, such as Eddie Cantor, James Cagney, Ronald Reagan, Howard Keel, Charlton Heston, Ed Asner and Melissa Gilbert.
15. Company mascot introduced in the 1930s that has never been put out to pasture : ELSIE THE COW
Elsie the cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. Elsie was given a husband, Elmer the Bull. Later in Elmer’s life he moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he was used as the mascot for Elmer’s Glue.
16. Group with the ’79 double-platinum album “Discovery” : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. Their manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).
ELO fans have a cute name for the 1979 album “Discovery“, calling it “Disco? Very!” The album apparently has quite a disco feel to it.
17. Stance in a fashion magazine : GLAMOUR POSE
Isn’t it interesting that “glamour” is usually spelled with the British “-our” suffix here in America? “Glamor” is an acceptable spelling, but you don’t see it very much. And then at both sides of the Atlantic we use the spelling “glamorous” for the adjective. More confusion for me …
19. ___ milk : SOY
I drink a lot of soy milk, and love the stuff. I recently discovered rice milk though, and prefer that for drinking. Check them out … save a cow …
20. Bench warrant, e.g. : WRIT
A writ is an order issued by some formal body (these days, usually a court) with the order being in written form. Warrants and subpoenas are examples of writs.
25. Zeros, in sports slang : BAGELS
For obvious reasons …
28. One who’s smart? : WISEACRE
The word “wiseacre” dates back to the late 1500s, when it was a botched translation of the Middle Dutch word “wijsegger” meaning “soothsayer”. Originally there was no derogatory connotation to the word, but within a few years a “wiseacre” was a know-it-all.
29. Switch positions : ON-OFF
Lovely wording …
Not only did I have to learn new spellings of words when I moved here from Ireland (here I go, whining again!) but I had to learn that down is the “off” position for a switch most times, and up is the “on” position. It’s exactly the opposite on the other side of the pond. Have I ever told you about the steering wheel position in the car? Aaargh!
30. “Lost” actress Raymonde : TANIA
Actress Tania Raymonde’s break came with a recurring role in “Malcolm in the Middle” playing Cynthia Sanders from 2000 to 2003. She is better known now for playing Alex in the hit TV show “Lost“.
31. Liszt’s “___ Préludes” : LES
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was a Hungarian composer, and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, he gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching profession demanded that he commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such advanced age, in the 1870s could do so much annual travel, estimated to be at least 4,000 miles every year.
33. ___ Sisters (daughters of Atlas) : SEVEN
The Seven Sisters of Greek mythology may be better known as the Pleiades. The Seven Sisters were the daughters of the titan Atlas, who had been forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders. In an act of kindness, Zeus transformed the sisters first into doves, and then into stars so that they could provide comfort for their father. There is indeed a cluster of seven stars in the night sky named for the myth and known as the Pleiades.
34. Popular spectator sport that’s not in the Olympics : SUMO
Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in the country of its origin, Japan. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of it’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.
35. Money market currency abbr. : USD
The US Dollar.
36. The Abominable Snowman, for one : BIPED
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. Yeti is a Tibetan term for the beast, which is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot. The study of beasts whose existence has not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.
40. “___ Really Matter” (Janet Jackson song) : DOESN’T
Janet Jackson is the youngest of the famed Jackson family of musicians. She is a very successful musical artist (she has sold over 100 million records!) but also devotes a lot of time to acting. When she was young she appeared on the TV show “Fame“, and in 1993 had her first starring role in a film, “Poetic Justice“. She followed that up with a part in “Nutty Professor II” playing opposite Eddie Murphy. As usual, she got to sing on the movie’s soundtrack and produced a number one with the song “Doesn’t Really Matter“. Then there was the 2004 Super Bowl half time show …
41. John Wayne : THE DUKE
John Wayne‘s real name was Marion Mitchell Morrison, named after his grandfather, a Civil War veteran. When he was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him “Little Duke” because he was always seen walking with his large dog called “Duke”. Young Mr. Morrison preferred the name “Duke” to “Marion”, so he adopted it, and it stuck with him.
43. Kindle, say : READER
The Kindle is Amazon’s famous reader, a handheld device used for reading books in electronic form. When the Kindle was launched on November 19, 2007, it sold out in five and a half hours! I don’t have one myself (my librarian wife won’t let me buy one) but I have friends that swear by them, especially for travel. If you’re interested, Amazon are pushing them right now, and they even have a version that is selling for $139 with free shipping. I am sorely tempted …
45. E-2 Marine : PFC
In the US Marine Corps, an E-1 is the entry-level enlisted rank of private. An E-2 is a Private First Class.
48. Utter doofus : ASS
“Doofus” (also “dufus”) is student slang that has been around since the sixties. Apparently the word is some variant of the equally unattractive “doo-doo”.
52. John L. Lewis was its first pres. : CIO
The Congress of Industrial Organizations was set up in 1935, and initially led by John L. Lewis. Significantly, the CIO supported FDR’s New Deal, and was also open to African Americans. The CIO merged with the AFL to form the AFL-CIO in 1955.
53. Laptop tested aboard the Endeavour : IBM THINKPAD
IBM introduced the ThinkPad in 1992, and the brand is still sold today, although no longer manufactured by IBM. IBM sold off its personal computer division in 2005 to Lenovo. A ThinkPad was used aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1993 on a mission focused on repairing the Hubble Telescope. The ThinkPad was being tested to see how it performed in space, given the high levels of radiation found in that environment. Now, there are about 100 (!) ThinkPads on board the International Space Station.
54. Home of Smallville: Abbr. : KAN
Smallville, Kansas is the town on Earth in which Superman grew up (as Clark Kent). One of Clark’s best friends in Smallville, and romantic interest of his youth, was Lana Lang.
55. Swift retreat? : NESTING SITE
Nicely worded clue …
Swifts may look like swallows, but they are very different birds. Swifts are actually quite closely related to humming birds. Swifts have the interesting habit of avoiding landing on the ground, instead settling on vertical surfaces (like tree trunks).
1. Adjures : BEGS
Adjure comes from the Latin adjurare, “to swear to”.
2. Gallic greeting : ALLO
Allo is the greeting used most often when answering the phone in France. In French, it is a “loanword” from English.
4. Title guy in an animated HBO sitcom : TIM
“The Life and Times of Tim” is an animated comedy series on HBO. It has been on the air since 2008, and HBO recently announced they were cancelling it. For some reason they changed their minds, and there is now a third season on the way.
5. Aid to King Hrothgar, in literature : BEOWULF
“Beowulf” is an old epic poem from England, although the story is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf fights a battle in the storyline, defending the Danish King Hrothgar from the ferocious outcast Grendel. Hrothgar had built a great hall for his people in which they could celebrate; singing, dancing and drinking lots of mead. Grendel was angered by the carousing, and attacked the hall, devouring many of the incumbent warriors as they sleep. A bit of an extreme reaction to noisy neighbors I’d say …
7. Rock on a stage : CHRIS
Chris Rock is a great stand up comedian. Interestingly, Rock cites his paternal grandfather as an influence on his performing style. Grandfather Allen Rock was a preacher.
11. Comic strip adoptee : SWEE’PEA
Originally Popeye used the term “swee’pea” to address his girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye’s doorstep. Popeye adopts him and raises him, calling him “Swee’Pea”.
12. Course load? : SET OF CLUBS
Nicely worded … a golf course load, of course 🙂
13. Like the 1974 rope-a-dope fight : ALI-FOREMAN
The Rumble in the Jungle was that celebrated fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, broadcast from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The fight was set in Zaire because of financial arrangements between promoter Don King and Zaire’s President Mobuto Seko. Rope-a-dope was the term coined by Ali to describe his incredibly successful strategy in the contest. From the second round onwards, Ali adopted a protected stance on the ropes, letting Foreman pound him with blows to the body and head, using his arms to take most of the punches. He kept this up until the eighth round, then opened up, and downed the exhausted Foreman with a left-right combination. I hate boxing, but have to say, that was an interesting fight.
14. Kiawah Island, for one : GOLF RESORT
Kiawah Island is a beach and golf resort located just south of Charleston, South Carolina. The resort has five courses. “The Ocean” is the most famous, as it has hosted a Ryder Cup, World Cup of Golf and a Senior PGA Championship. It was also used for the 2000 movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance” starring Will Smith.
22. Hellenic character : ETA
Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek (Hellenic) alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”.
24. Got into port : WINED
Another cleverly disguised meaning …
25. Incentive to buy a CD, maybe : BONUS TRACK
A bonus track is a song provided on a CD as an “extra”, an incentive perhaps for someone to buy an album they already own, for example. A bonus track is different from a “hidden track”, which is a song that isn’t even listed on the album cover. Some folks may never find a hidden track, whereas a bonus track is included in the listing of songs on the CD.
26. Number of folks? : ANESTHESIA
Wonderful clue … anesthesia will make folks numb!
28. Sing vibrato, say : WAVER
To waver is vacillate, to move back and forth from one’s position in an argument. But, it also means to tremble or quaver in sound, as in singing vibrato.
30. Hides on a frame : TEPEE
A tepee (also called a tipi) is a cone-shaped tent, traditionally made from animal hides, and used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure, and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest. The wigwam can also be covered with hides, but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth. A wigwam was also built as a more permanent structure.
36. Tekka-maki sushi source : BLUEFIN
Bluefin tuna is one of those species (actually there are three species of bluefin) that has been over-fished, and is no longer found in some parts of the world.
37. Promoter of the 13-Down fight : DON KING
You wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of boxing promoter Don King (the one with the wild hairstyle). He was charged with murder in the fifties when he shot a man attempting to rob his gambling house, but was cleared with a finding of justifiable homicide. In the sixties he was found guilty of second degree murder for stomping an employee to death, but this conviction was reduced to non-negligent manslaughter, for which King served four years in prison.
42. City of 15+ million whose busiest street is Chandni Chowk : DELHI
New Delhi 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.
44. Steam engine pioneer : WATT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.
46. Frequent party planner, for short : FRAT
Fraternity parties … Toga! Toga! Toga!
50. Hosp. units : RMS
Lots of rooms in hospitals.
51. Contents of some books: Abbr. : CKS
Lots of checks in check books.