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: Reversals … the four theme answers come in pairs, with each pair made up of the same two words, but reversed i.e. FIRST LADIES & LADIES FIRST, STATE POLICE & POLICE STATE
COMPLETION TIME: 5m 41s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
6. Taste : SAPOR
“Sapor” is another word for a flavor, a quality that can be tasted. “Sapor” is the Latin word for “taste, flavor”.
11. Somme summer : ETE
Ete is the French word for summer.
The Somme is a department in the very north of France, in the Picardie region. It is famous for being the site of devastating battles during WWI.
15. Clara Barton, e.g. : NURSE
Clara Barton was deeply disturbed by her experiences caring for the wounded during the Civil War. She dedicated herself after the war towards American recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The American Red Cross was inevitably formed, in 1881, and Barton was installed as it first president.
17. Michelle Obama and Laura Bush : FIRST LADIES
Michelle Obama grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and is sister to Craig Robinson, the coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate, and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and one thing led to another I guess.
Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published quite recently, in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given her background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.
19. Singer Yoko : ONO
Yoko Ono was born into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the Emperors of Japan. Her father moved around the world for work, so she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, then moved onto New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII. Yoko was living in Tokyo at the time of the great fire-bombing of 1945. Immediately after the war, the family was far from prosperous. While her father was being held in a concentration camp in Vietnam, Yoko’s mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. But, when her father returned, life started to return to normal. Yoko was able to attend university, the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin Univeristy.
20. Sicilian spewer : ETNA
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt Vesuvius.
23. Highway troopers : STATE POLICE
In the US, state police are forces with state-wide authority and responsibility, generally focused on functions outside those of county sheriffs. Typical functions include enforcement of traffic laws on state and interstate highways, security of the state capitol and protection of the governor, and training of new officers for the smaller local police forces.
29. Poi source : TARO
I am a big fan of starch, and being an Irishman I love potatoes however they are prepared. That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant, by cooking the corm in water and mashing it with water until the desired consistency is achieved.
30. The Beach Boys’ “___ John B” : SLOOP
The Beach Boys hit “Sloop John B” is a traditional folk song from the West Indies, originally titled “The John B. Sails”. The John B. was a real boat, one used for collecting sponges. The John B. foundered and sank in Governor’s Harbor on the Bahamas on or about 1900. The folk song was around as far back is 1927, with recordings being made as early 1935. The Kingston Trio recorded a version in 1958, as did Johnny Cash in 1959. The Beach Boys version of the song made it to #3 in the US charts in 1966. We liked it even more in Ireland and watched it go to the top of the Irish charts.
31. Drinker’s next-day woe : HANGOVER
The main cause of hangover symptoms seems to be dehydration. Ethanol causes increased urine production, leaving the body short of water resulting in headaches, dry mouth and a lack of energy. The symptoms can be alleviated by drinking a lot of water after drinking a lot of booze.
35. Submarine sandwich : HERO
“Hero” is another name for a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was first coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the New York Herald Tribune when he wrote that one had to be a hero to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.
36. Early synthesizers : MOOGS
Robert Moog invented the Moog Synthesizer in the sixties, an electronic device that he used to produce music. I used to own a few of his albums, including a Moog version of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”. What a great performance that was …
41. Tendon : SINEW
Sinew is another name for a tendon. Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.
45. Oppressive regime : POLICE STATE
The term “police state” was first used in 1865 in Austria, when the national police force was used to maintain order. That same year, the first state police force was introduced in the US, in Massachussets. So, the initial “police states” were simply states in which local policing was supplemented by a national or state-wide force. Within a few years, the term came to apply to states in which the police force was used in a repressive way, as under fascist and communist regimes. The term was then used retrospectively to describe oppression as it occurred in say the French Revolution, or in the days of the Roman Empire.
49. ___ Canal, waterway through Schenectady : ERIE
The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal, and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, it had immediate impact on the economy of New York City, and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal, that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname, the Empire State.
50. “___ la Douce” : IRMA
“Irma la Douce” is a wonderful Billy Wilder movie released in 1963. It stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Lemmon plays a maligned Parisian policeman, and MacLaine is the popular prostitute, Irma la Douce (literally “Irma the Sweet”). Don’t let the adult themes throw you, it’s a very entertaining movie.
51. Lane of the Daily Planet : LOIS
Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis, “The Daily Planet”. Lois and Clark finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. But never mind all that, one has to wonder what the crossword is like in “The Daily Planet”?
56. Tenet of chivalry : LADIES FIRST
The term “chivalry” comes to us from French. It’s root is the French word for a horse, “cheval”. A knight, who rides a horse, is called a “chevalier”. And the knightly ideals are known as “chevalerie” in French, and “chivalry” in English.
60. Assists at a heist : ABETS
The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” to mean aid or encourage someone in a crime.
61. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
Estee Lauder was quite the successful business woman, with a personal reputation as a great sales person, at all levels. She introduced her own line of fragrances starting in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to the bath water. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths, while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. Clever …
62. Plural of “la” and “le” : LES
In French the word for “the” is la (feminine, singular) or le (masculine, singular) or les (masculine and feminine, plural).
63. West Pointer : CADET
West Point is a military reservation in New York State, north of New York City. It was first occupied by the Continental Army, way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy didn’t start until 1802.
4. ___ Major : URSA
The constellation called Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle, or dipper. It also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call it back in Ireland, the “plough”.
9. Sugar suffix : OSE
The sugar we consume as “sugar” is mainly sucrose, and we also ingest lactose, naturally occurring in milk, and fructose, naturally occurring in fruit. Other sugars tend to be prepared commercially, the most famous being glucose.
10. Hi-___ monitor : RES
In the digital world, resolution of a display, television, image etc. is the number of pixels that can be displayed in a standard area (say a square inch). The emphasis today is on producing larger area displays/televisions, increasing the number of pixels required simply by increasing the size of the screen. Adding more pixels within the same size screen is usually just a waste of effort these days, as the eye cannot perceive the difference.
11. Food-poisoning bacteria : E. COLI
Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.
12. Gin’s partner : TONIC
The original tonic water was a fairly strong solution of the drug quinine dissolved in carbonated water. It was used in tropical areas in South Asia and Africa where malaria is rampant. The quinine has a prophylactic effect against the disease, and was formulated as “tonic water” so that it could be easily distributed. In British colonial India, the colonial types got into the habit of mixing in gin with the tonic water to make it more palatable, and hide the bitter taste of the quinine. Nowadays, the level of quinine in tonic water has been dropped, and sugar has been added.
13. Run off to a judge in Vegas, say : ELOPE
Las Vegas is known as the Marriage Capital of the World due to the incredibly high number of weddings that take place there. Historically, the marriage “frenzy” started because it’s so easy to get a marriage license, and marriages ceremonies can be performed for a nominal fee.
25. U.R.L. ending that’s not “com” or “gov” : ORG
The Internet addresses that end with the letters .org were originally intended for use by non-profit organizations, but as anyone can register a .org name, there are plenty of commercial concerns that use it … so be careful!
32. It shows which way the wind blows : VANE
The Old English word for “flag, banner” was “fana”, which morphed into “fane” in the 1300s, the word for a wind indicator. By the 1600s “fane” had become “vane”.
34. FF’s opposite : REW
The opposite to Fast Forward is Rewind.
36. Spray used on rioters : MACE
Mace is actually a brand name, originally introduced by Lake Erie Chemical when they started to manufacture “Chemical Mace”, with the name being a play on the club-like weapon known as a mace. Mace was originally a form of tear gas, but the brand name Mace today uses a formula that is actually a pepper spray, a different formulation.
40. Drunk’s outburst : HIC
The exact cause of hiccups (also hiccoughs) isn’t really known, but they are often brought on by drinking carbonated drinks or alcohol, and eating too quickly. What physically happens is a sudden contraction of the diaphragm causing an abrupt inrush of air into the lungs. As the air rushes in, the epiglottis closes, creating the “hic” sound.
41. Jeanne d’Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE
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.
44. Hellenic H’s : ETAS
Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek (Hellenic) alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”.
46. Pontificate : ORATE
To “pontificate” is to issue dogmatic decrees, with a pompous air. Back in 1818, the word had the more literal meaning, “to act as a pontiff, pope”.
48. Hackneyed : TRITE
Hackney is a location in London, and it probably gave it’s name to a “hackney”, an ordinary type of horse back around 1300. By 1700 a “hackney” was a person hired to do routine work, and “hackneyed” meant “kept for hire”. Around the same time, “hackneyed” came to describe something so overused it is no longer interesting.
51. Daffy Duck has one : LISP
Daffy Duck first appeared on the screen in “Porky’s Duck Hunt” in 1937. In the original cartoon, Daffy was just meant to have a small role, but he was a big hit as he had so much sass. Even back then, Daffy was voiced by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc.
52. Table scraps : ORTS
Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. The word comes from Middle English, where it was used for to describe scraps of food left by animals.
54. Proofreader’s “reinstate” mark : STET
Stet is the Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” beside the change, and then underscoring the change with a line of dots (or dashes).
56. Fond du ___, Wis. : LAC
“Fond du lac” is French, meaning “bottom of the lake”, an apt name for the city of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, located at the foot of Lake Winnebago. If you like to play the lottery, you might want to stop off in Fond du Lac as there is a stretch of South Main Street called “Miracle Mile”. Back in 1993, someone bought a ticket there and won $100 million. The in 2006, another store sold a ticket that won $209 million. These things always come in threes, so buy your tickets now …
57. Atty.’s org. : ABA
The American Bar Association was founded back in 1878. It is a voluntary association for lawyers and law students. The main focus of the ABA is setting academic settings for law schools, and setting ethical codes for the profession.
58. Fire: Fr. : FEU
“Feu” is the French word for “fire”.