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: FIGURE OF SPEECH … the number “8” goes in some squares where it represents the “eight” sound e.g. CONW8WITTY (Conway Twitty), CR8 (crate), W8 UNTIL DARK (Wait Until Dark).
COMPLETION TIME: 55m 29s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 4 … DIONE (DIODE), ANI (ADI), G8ER (GOER), RELEASE D8 (RELEASE DO)
1. Alaska senator Murkowski : LISA
Lisa Murkowski is the first Alaska senator that was actually born in the state. In 2002 she was appointed to the US Senate, by her father, then Governor Frank Murkowski, but then won the seat in her own right in the 2004 election. In 2010 she narrowly lost the Republican primary election to Joe Miller, a candidate famously supported by former Governor Sarah Palin. Senator Murkowski has put herself forward as a “write-in” candidate in the November 2010 election, meaning that anyone who wants to vote for her may do so by simply writing in her name on the ballot.
5. Sean who played the title role in “Rudy,” 1993 : ASTIN
Sean Astin is best known for playing the title role in the 1993 film “Rudy” and the character Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. You might also have seen him playing Lynn McGill in the 5th season of “24”. Astin is the son of actress Patty Duke.
10. Start to frost? : PERMA
Permafrost is by definition soil that has been below the freezing point of water for two years or more. Usually permafrost is covered by a thin layer of soil that thaws during the warmer months and which can sustain life. Plants can grow in the active layer, but their roots cannot penetrate the permafrost below.
19. El océano, por ejemplo : AGUA
In Spanish, the ocean (El océano), for example (por ejemplo), is water (agua).
20. Shakespeare’s Lennox, Angus or Ross : THANE
Thanes were Scottish aristocrats. The most famous thane has to be Macduff, the Thane of Fife, the fictional character that is killed off by Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play. Other thanes in “Macbeth” are Ross, Lennox and Angus, as well as Menteith and Caithness.
21. Bitter : ACERB
Acerb is a variant of acerbic: sour or bitter tasting, acidic, similar to astringent.
22. Aries or Taurus : AUTO
Dodge Aries and Ford Taurus.
23. Hoop grp. : WNBA
Women’s National Basketball Association.
24. They may be split : HAIRS
We’ve been using the phrase “to split hairs” to mean “to make over-fine distinctions” for a long time, at least since 1650.
25. Singer with the #1 country hit “Hello Darlin'” : CONW8WITTY
Conway Twitty was a country music artist, with an incredible track record. With 55 #1 hits in the country charts, he held the record for the most number one singles of any act (until the record was broken by George Strait in 2006). Twitty’s real name was Harold Jenkins, and apparently he chose his stage name by looking at a map and opting for Conway (in Arkansas) and Twitty (in Texas). At least, that’s one of the stories …
30. Cartographic extra : INSET
Cartography, the art or technique of making maps.
31. Egg protector : CR8
33. Salon, for example : EZINE
An ezine is an online magazine.
Salon.com is a popular online magazine, one of the first “ezines” ever published. “Salon” focuses on American politics and current affairs, but also has articles about books, music and films. The magazine was launched in 1995, and managed to survive many loss-making years. Most of “Salon’s” content is free, but it does make money by offering a premium service with extra content, and by selling ad space.
37. Suspenseful 1966 Broadway hit : W8 UNTIL DARK
“Wait Until Dark”
“Wait Until Dark” is a play by Frederick Knott, a really great work guaranteed to thrill the audience. It opened on Broadway in 1966, and ran for 374 performances. It did even better in the West End in London, running for almost two years. It’s a favorite piece for local theater (where I saw it) so keep an eye out. Or, take a look at the excellent film adaptation that came out in 1967, starring the magnificent Audrey Hepburn.
43. Grp. that conducts many tests : FDA
The Food and Drug Administration was in effect created by the Food and Drug Act signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
46. Biblical liar : ANANIAS
Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, appear in the Acts of the Apostles. The basic story of Ananias is that he lied to Peter, and in so doing lied to God. Once confronted, Ananias died on the spot. A few hours later, his wife told the same lie, and she was struck down as well.
49. Actress ___ Chong : RAE DAWN
Rae Dawn Chong is the daughter of Tommy Chong, of “Cheech and Chong” fame. Rae Dawn acted in quite a few films in the eighties and nineties, including “The Color Purple” and “Commando”.
54. ___ Coty, French president before de Gaulle : RENE
Rene Coty was the President of France from 1954 to 1959, and notably presided over the Algerian War. Coty resigned after five years, making way for the 7-year term of Charles de Gaulle.
59. Cassandra, for one : SEER
I think Cassandra is such a great name, translating from Greek as “she who entangles men”. The Cassandra of Greek mythology was so beautiful that Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy. There is another story though, that she gained her gift as a seer by spending the night in Apollo’s temple where snakes licked her ears clean so that she could hear the future. Ugh …
60. Repeatedly raised the bar? : LIFTED W8S
67. N.F.C. South player : BUC
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976, along with the Seattle Seahawks, as an expansion team. The Bucs had a tough start in the NFL, losing their first 26 games. Things went better in the early eighties, before the team went through 14 consecutive losing seasons. All come good though, when they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.
70. Noggin : BEAN
A noggin was the name of a small cup back in the 1600s, and later lent its name to a small drink (and eventually to “eggnog”). Somehow the word morphed into usage meaning the “head” back in the mid-1800s.
71. Still product: Abbr. : ALC
Alcohol comes from a still.
72. On the safe side : ALEE
The direction “alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he is pointing “aweather”.
73. Wave function symbol in quantum mechanics : PSI
The science of quantum mechanics (or quantum physics) pulls together mathematically, the fact that energy and matter sometimes behave like waves, and sometimes particles. In general, the laws of classical mechanics break down as “things” get smaller, on the atomic and subatomic scale.
74. Items of short-lived use : EPHEMERA
“Ephemera” was originally a medical term, used to describe a fever that only lasted a day. The use of the term was expanded in the 17th century to include insects that were “short-lived”, and by end of the 18th century “ephemera” were any things of transitory existence.
76. Racy best-selling novel of 1956 : P8ONPLACE
Grace Metallius’s 1956 novel “Peyton Place” had such an impact that to this day, the expression “Peyton Place” is used to describe a place where the residents have sordid secrets. The novel has it all, including incest, abortion, adultery, lust and murder. No wonder it stayed on “The New York Times” bestseller list for 59 weeks …
80. Hindu titles : SRIS
Sri is a title of respect for a male in India.
82. Speed-skating champ Johann ___ Koss : OLAV
Johann Olav Koss is a former speed skater from Norway, widely considered as one of the best speed skaters in history.
91. Flammable fuel : ETHANE
The main component in natural gas is methane, with the second most voluminous constituent being ethane. Both methane and ethane are combustible, and so traditionally the methane and ethane were burned together to generate heat. However, since the sixties, ethane has been used as a valuable starter material for the production of ethylene, itself a raw material for polyethylene and other plastics. So, these days the ethane is extracted at a refinery before the natural gas is bottled as a fuel.
93. Part of a postal address for Gannon University : ERIE, PA
Gannon University in Erie, PA is a private, Catholic school, founded in 1925, It is named after the then Bishop of Erie, John Mark Gannon, the man most influential in the establishment of the university.
96. Moon of Saturn : DIONE
Dione is a moon of Saturn discovered in 1684 by Cassini. Originally, Cassini named the four satellites of Saturn that he discovered “Sidera Lodoicea” (the stars of Louis). In so doing he was honoring King Louis XIV of France. These “stars of Louis” were individually named after Greek gods in 1847.
98. Football linemen: Abbr. : RTS
In American football, linemen specialize in playing in the line of scrimmage. RT stands for Right Tackle. That’s about all I know, and even that much I am unsure about …
99. Fast-talking salesman’s tactic : B8 AND SWITCH
Bait and switch
103. Explorer ___ da Gama : VASCO
Vasco da Gama left on his first voyage of discovery in 1497, leaving Lisbon with four ships. He journeyed around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, and across the Indian Ocean making landfall in India. Landing in India, his fleet became the first expedition to sail directly from Europe to the sub-continent. Vasco da Gama was well known for acts of cruelty, especially on local inhabitants. One of his milder atrocities was inflicted on a priest that he labelled as a spy. He had the priest’s lips and ears cut off, and sent him on his way after having a pair of dog’s ears sewn onto his head.
104. Shout from one who’s on a roll? : HERE
When one’s name is called out at roll call, one often answers, “Here!”.
113. Camping treats : S’MORES
S’mores are a treat peculiar to North America, usually eaten around a campfire, consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!
115. B.M.O.C.’s, often : SRS
The Big Men on Campus are usually the Seniors.
116. X Games competitor : SK8BOARDER
The X Games are annual events, with a Summer X Games held every year as well as a Winter X Games. It’s very much a commercial venture, with all aspects controlled by the TV station ESPN. The games focus on extreme-action sports, like skateboarding and freestyle motocross in the summer, and various snowboarding events in the winter.
118. Rikki-___-tavi : TIKKI
In Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, one of the short stories is titled “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, the story about a mongoose, the brave pet of an English family that protects them from a succession of snakes.
121. Florida univ. affiliated with the Catholic Church : ST. LEO
Saint Leo University is a private, Roman Catholic school in Florida. Notable alumni are Lee Marvin and Desi Arnaz.
124. “Twilight,” e.g. : SAGA
I don’t do vampires. The reference, is to “The Twilight” series of books by Stephanie Meyer. “The Twilight Saga” is a series of films based on the books.
127. Spat : G8ER
A “gaiter” is a heavy cloth or piece of leather that covers the leg from the instep up to the ankle or perhaps knee.
A “spat” is a type of gaiter, covering the upper of a shoe and the ankle, with a strap that goes under the shoe to hold everything in place.
3. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, in New York City : SUBW8RAIN
4. Prominent tower, for short : AAA
AAA tows a lot of cars.
5. Massachusetts industrial city on the Millers River : ATHOL
Athol, Massachusetts was originally called Pequoiag, and was settled in 1735. When the township was incorporated in 1762, the name was changed to Athol, reminiscent of the previous home back in Scotland one of the founders, Blair Athol. The L. S. Starrett Company was established there in 1881, manufacturing precision tools. The company is still going strong, and is the city’s biggest employer. As such, it inspired Athol’s nickname of “Tool Town”.
7. Follow too closely : TAILG8
8. Dictator’s phrase : IN RE
Someone giving dictation might use the expression “in re”.
The term “in re” is Latin, derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). It literally means “in the matter”, and is used as “in regard to”, or “in the matter of”.
9. Dread loch? : NESS
The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings that year were reported. They don’t seem to have stopped since, with photographs really sparking the imagination.
10. Spotted cavy : PACA
There are two species of pacas, and both are found in Central and South America. In some parts, paca is considered a gourmet dish.
Cacy is a sub-family of rodent animals that includes guinea pigs.
11. H.S. class : ECON
Economics is a High School class.
13. Don Herbert’s moniker on 1950s-’60s TV : MR WIZARD
Don Herbert came up with the idea of a children’s television show based on science while working in radio back in the late forties. The Chicago NBC affiliate liked the idea and aired the first television spot called “Watch Mr. Wizard” in 1951. The show was a huge success, and ran until its cancellation in 1965. Don Herbert was in demand even after his show cancelled, and in fact appeared on the very first episode of “Late Night with David Letterman”.
14. Lessen : AB8
15. “Educating Rita” star : CAINE
“Educating Rita” is a stage play by the great Willy Russel. It opened in 1980, starring Julie Walters as the female lead. Three years later, the play was made into a film of the same name, again starring Julie Walters, playing a working class young lady trying to better herself by studying literature. Michael Caine plays the male lead in the film, the professor. The film and play is set in Liverpool in England, but was actually shot in the famous Trinity College, in Dublin, with some scenes shot on the campus of University College Dublin, my old school. In fact, a friend of mine made some extra cash for herself as an extra. See if you can spot her in the movie, riding her bicycle …
18. Track star A. J. : FOYT
A. J. Foyt is a retired racing driver. He is the only driver to have won the Indianapolis 500 (four times, in fact), the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
28. Good spot for a date? : OASIS
Cleverly worded, although it has been around a few times …
34. “Dies ___” (hymn) : IRAE
Dies Irae is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, and is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.
36. Prepare for a dubbing : KNEEL
Kneel, and the Queen might dub thee a knight, if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.
38. Yucatán “you” : USTED
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.
Having said that, “usted” is Spanish for “you”.
40. Insomniac’s TV viewing : THEL8L8SHOW
The Late Late Show
Just so you know, “The Late Late Show” (the real one as far as I am concerned!) is the flagship TV show of Irish national broadcasting service RTE. It is the world’s longest running chat show, and goes out live for two hours every Friday night, ever since 1962. It’s true, we do have the gift of the gab …
41. “The Chairs” playwright : IONESCO
Eugene Ionesco was a Romanian and French playwright, very active in the Avant-garde and Theater of the Absurd movements.
42. Former Fords : LTDS
There has been a lot of speculation about what the acronym LTD stands for in the car model name “Ford LTD”. Many say it stands for Luxury Trim Decor, and others that it is an abbreviation for “limited”. The car was produced in Australia with the acronym meaning Lincoln Type Design, but here in the US, it looks like they are just three meaningless letters that sound good together.
43. Showing, as a deck member : FACE UP
Cards in a deck can be turned “face up”.
44. Square sorts : DWEEBS
Dweeb is relatively recent American slang that came out of college life in the late sixties. Dweeb, squarepants, nerd: they’re all are not-nice terms that mean the same thing: someone excessively studious and socially inept.
45. Peace Nobelist Sakharov : ANDREI
Andrei Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, and in his later life a human rights activist. He participated in the USSR’s program to develop the country’s first atomic bomb, and was an even more crucial contributor to the development of the devastating hydrogen bomb. By the fifties, Sakharov was concerned about the consequences of his work, and in the sixties he started to become active, raising awkward questions not appreciated by the Soviet administration. He was banned from further work with the military as a consequence, and later found himself under constant police surveillance and harassment. He was then moved from Moscow and put into internal exile in Gorky. It was only under Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership, that he was able to return home to Moscow.
56. ___-Tass news agency : ITAR
TASS is the abbreviation used for the former news agency, the Telegraph Association of the Soviet Union (Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza). When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1992, the Moscow-based agency’s scope changed, along with its name. It is now known as the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS).
61. Tech stock : IBM
IBM was founded as the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. It changed its name to the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) in 1911, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. The name of International Business Machines was given first to the Canadian subsidiary, and then the South American subsidiary. In 1924, it was decided to adopt the International Business Machines name for the whole company. Good choice …
62. Elk : WAPITIS
The elk (also known as wapiti) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were used to seeing the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct term then is “wapiti”, the Shawnee name for the animal, which means “white rump”.
64. Folk singer Jenkins : ELLA
Ella Jenkins has been dubbed “The First Lady of Children’s Folk Song”, and has been performing children’s music for fifty years. She widely uses the “call-and-response” technique in her singing, where she leads off with a phrase that requires a response sung by her audience.
65. Miracle Mets pitcher, 1969 : SEAVER
Tom Seaver is a former baseball pitcher, noted for his ten year stint with the New York Mets from 1967 to 1977. He earned the nickname “Tom Terrific”, and is the only Met player to have his jersey number retired. When he retired he moved out here to California and opened up a small winery in Calistoga. Keep an eye out for the vineyard’s name, “Seaver Family Vineyards”, and their cabernets “Nancy’s Fancy” and “GTS”.
66. Shamus : TEC
Shamus is a slang term for policeman or a private investigator. The experts don’t seem so sure, but there is no doubt in my mind that the term derives from the Irish name Seamus (James in English). Sure, aren’t cops always from the Auld Sod?
77. Schubert’s “Eine kleine Trauermusik,” e.g. : NONET
A nonet is a piece requiring nine musicians for a performance. Franz Schubert’s “Eine kleine Trauermusik” was written for two clarinets, two bassoons, a contrabassoon, two horns and two trombones. The name of the piece translates into “A little music for mourning”.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer, particularly noted for his large portfolio of lieder (songs). Schubert’s Symphony No. 7 was was left as a draft after he passed away, and as such was “unfinished”. However, it was more complete than his Symphony No. 8 which is known famously as the “Unfinished”.
78. Use TurboTax, say : EFILE
That’s what I will be doing in a few months, e-filing my tax returns (using Turbotax!).
81. Comedian Foxx : REDD
Redd Foxx was the stage name of John Elroy Sanford, best known for starring in “Sanford and Son”. “Sanford and Son” was an American version of a celebrated hit BBC sitcom that I grew up with in Ireland, called “Steptoe and Son”.
84. Movie producer’s time of stress : RELEASED8
86. Oscar-winning actress for “The Great Lie,” 1941 : MARY ASTOR
Mary Astor was an American actress who is best remembered perhaps for playing Brigid O’Shaughnessy in 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon” opposite Humphrey Bogart. As well as being an Oscar-winning actress, Mary Astor was also the author of five novels, and a best-selling autobiography.
“The Great Lie” is a 1941 movie with Bette Davis taking the top billing, George Brent the male lead, and Mary Astor the supporting actress who won the only Oscar for the film. “The Great Lie” is a very dramatic, love-triangle story, with some big twists.
88. With freedom of tempo : RUBATO
“Tempo rubato” is a musical instruction encouraging the conductor or soloist to speed up and slow the tempo at his or her own discretion. Often singers and musicians vary the tempo anyway, giving the piece of music their own “imprint”.
89. Conditions : ST8S
90. Some service stations : TEA CARTS
You might find a tea service on a tea cart.
92. Black bird : ANI
The tropical bird called the ani is related to the cuckoo, although they don’t go around robbing other birds nest as do the cuckoos.
97. Pickle type : GHERKIN
Often a dill pickle is actually a pickled gherkin, as the gherkin and cucumber are different cultivars within the same species. Here in the US, dill is commonly added to the pickling vinegar or brine, but this wasn’t the case when I used to eat them back in Ireland (I can’t stand dill!). You might see jars labeled as “cornichons”, but they’re gherkins. Cornichon is just the French word for gherkin.
100. Noggin : NOODLE
See 70 across
“Noodle” has been used as a slang word for “head” since at least 1914. I have no idea why …
101. Ring around the collar : CHOKER
Back in the 1800s a choker was a large neckerchief. In the late 1920s “choker” was first used to describe a kind of necklace worn tightly around the neck.
103. Lead-in to harp or phone : VIBRA
A vibraphone is a similar to a xylophone, but it has aluminum instead of wooden bars. Vibraphones are most commonly seen as part of jazz ensembles. The vibraphone is also known as the vibraharp.
105. Dancer’s controls? : REINS
Santa Claus controls Dancer, and the rest of his reindeer, using reins.
107. W.W. II craft : LSTS
LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs were the large vessels with doors at either ends, from which tanks and other vehicles could roll off onto beaches. The concept persists to this day, in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off ferries, all inspired by the LST.
108. Furniture giant : IKEA
Did you know that IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 …. when he was just 17-years-old??!! IKEA is an acronym that stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.
109. Largest employer in Newton, Iowa, until 2006 : M8AG
The Maytag Washing Machine Company was founded in 1893 by Frederick Maytag, in Newton, Iowa. Over time, the company developed a reputation for reliability, and did a great job marketing the concept. One move they made was to change the address of the corporate headquarters in Newton to “One Dependability Square”. The Maytag repairman in the famous advertising campaign was known as “Ol’ Lonely”, the guy who was never called out because Maytag washers and dryers never broke down. Whirlpool bought Maytag in 2006 and basically shut down all Maytag operations, and now just put the Maytag label on Whirlpool appliances.
112. Winged Greek 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.
113. Ballpark figure : STAT
There are lots of statistics recorded at baseball parks.
117. The Sun Devils of the N.C.A.A. : ASU
Arizona State University has a long history, founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885.