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: Dropped First Letters … all the theme clues are in two parts. The answer to the second part of the clue is found by dropping the initial letters (circled) of both words in the first answer i.e. BROAD SMILES —> ROAD MILES, BAD OMEN —> AD MEN, HAIR BRAID —> AIR RAID, POP TART —> OP ART, HEARTH STONE —> EARTH TONE
COMPLETION TIME: 9m 13s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
5. Rio Grande city : EL PASO
Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Cuidad Juarez), while the area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.
14. Rhein tributary : AARE
The Aar (also called the Aare in German) is a major river in Switzerland. A famous spot along the river is The Reichenbach Falls in the center of the country, actually a series of waterfalls near the city of Meiringen. The falls are famous in the world of literature as it was here that Sherlock Holmes fell to his supposed doom with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty (in “The Adventure of the Final Problem”).
15. Food storage area : LARDER
The Latin word for bacon, or lard, is “lardum”, from which developed a Middle Latin word “lardarium” meaning a “room for meats”. This came into English as “larder”, originally used for a meat storeroom as well, but eventually a word just applied to a small room where any food might be stored.
16. Mick Jagger’s title : SIR
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the backbone of the Rolling Stones, have always been considered rebels and counter-culture icons. Despite the image, Jagger was awarded, and he accepted, a knighthood in 2003. Many found the awarding of the honor unusual as he isn’t really known for his charitable work or service, usually a requirement for knighthood by a rock musician. Many others, including Richards, were surprised that Jagger the rebel accepted the knighthood, a symbol of the establishment.
17. Signs of elation –> marathon segments : BROAD SMILES
B-ROAD S-MILES —> ROAD MILES
19. Liberal arts maj. : SOC
Sociology is a liberal arts major.
20. Prefix with skeleton : ENDO
An animal with an endoskeleton has a supporting skeleton inside its body. So, we humans have an endoskeleton. A turtle, on the other hand, has both an endoskeleton, and an exoskeleton, its outer shell.
21. Italy’s side, once : AXIS
Before WWII, Hungary’s prime minister was lobbying for an alliance between Germany, Hungary and Italy, and worked towards such a relationship that he called an “axis”. The main Axis powers during the war of course, were Germany, Italy and Japan. However, also included in the relationship were Romania, Bulgaria and the aforementioned Hungary.
25. Sign of trouble –> commercial writers : BAD OMEN
B-AD O-MEN —> AD MEN
If you haven’t seen the AMC show “Mad Men” then I urge you to go buy the first season on DVD and allow yourself to get addicted. It is a great series set in the sixties, telling all that goes on in and around the advertising business on Madison Avenue in New York City. It brings you right back to the days of three-martini lunches, office affairs, and chain-smoking cigarettes. Great stuff …
31. Lech of Poland’s Solidarity : WALESA
Lech Walesa used to be an electrician in the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland. He was active in the trade union movement in the days when unions were not welcome behind the Iron Curtain. His efforts resulted in the founding of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in Soviet controlled territory. For his work, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and in 1990 he became the first democratically elected President of Poland. He has lost popularity in Poland in recent years, but is a very popular booking on the international speaking circuit.
32. Beehive State Indians : UTES
The Ute are a group of American Indian tribes that now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified group as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups.
34. “Born from jets” automaker : 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.
36. Watch readouts, for short : LEDS
A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs are getting more and more popular and have moved from use in electronic equipment to mainstream lighting, replacing the much less efficient tungsten bulb. I replaced many of my tungsten Xmas lights last year and saved a lot on my electricity bill. I am definitely replacing the rest this coming Christmas.
37. Pigtail –> cause for a siren : HAIR BRAID
H-AIR B-RAID —> AIR RAID
40. Hydrotherapy sites : SPAS
The word “spa” migrated to English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a health resort there. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.
43. Courtroom attention-getter : OYEZ
“Oyez” is an Anglo-French word traditionally called out three times, meaning “hear ye!”
49. Furry sci-fi creature : EWOK
The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. They’re the cute and cuddly guys that look like teddy bears.
51. That, in Tijuana : ESO
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of the Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties, as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US.
52. Toaster food –> dazzling designs : POP TART
P-OP T-ART —> OP ART
Pop Tart is the most successful brand for the Kellogg company, as millions are sold every year. The US Military bought quite a few in 2001, and dropped 2.4 million Pop Tarts into Afghanistan during the invasion after 9/11.
Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.
54. Smoothly, on a score : LEGATO
Legato is a musical direction, signifying that long and continuous notes should be played very smoothly. The opposite of legato is staccato, notes played in a disconnected form.
56. Spanish counterpart of a mlle. : SRTA
Mademoiselle is a young lady in France, and senorita is a young lady in Spain.
57. “Dies ___” : 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.
60. Rotund Wolfe : NERO
Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for you to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: ” Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937). One of Wolfe’s endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.
62. Fireplace part –> fall color : HEARTH STONE
H-EARTH S-TONE —> EARTH TONE
66. Katharine Hepburn’s foursome : OSCARS
Katharine Hepburn has been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar 12 times, and holds the record for Best Actress wins at four. She won for her roles in:
– “Morning Glory” in 1933
– “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in 1967
– “The Lion in Winter” in 1968
– “On Golden Pond” in 1981
67. États-___ : UNIS
Les États-Unis, what French speakers call the United States.
68. What a farmer in Del. works on? : EDT
A farmer in Delaware will be working in the Eastern Daylight Saving time zone.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea is to move clocks forward an hour in spring and backwards in the fall, so that afternoons have more daylight.
69. Surgeon’s probe : STYLET
A stylet is a thin, surgical probe. The term is also used for a thin, pointed weapon, like a stiletto.
70. Bog product : PEAT
When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because what can form then is peat, and we have lots of peat bogs. If the peat bogs get covered over with sedimentary matter, then over time pressure and heat can dry out the peat forming a soft brown material called lignite. Given further heat and pressure, and time, this lignite converts to coal. So, lignite is a material with characteristics between peat and coal, and is often called “brown coal”.
2. Cheesy dish : RAREBIT
Welsh rarebit is delicious dish made from a cheesy, flavored sauce served over toast. It may be that the name Welsh rarebit was a bit of insult to the folks in Wales originally. The dish was called Welsh rabbit back in the 1700s. In those day’s rabbit was the poor man’s meat, and the implication is that the poor Welshman’s rabbit is cheese.
3. First millennium B.C., roughly : IRON AGE
Ancient societies can be classified by the “three-age system”, which depends on the prevalence of materials used to make tools. The three ages are:
– The Stone Age
– The Iron Age
– The Bronze Age
The actual dates defined by each age depends on the society being studied as the transition from the use of one material to another varied across the globe.
4. Worrier’s handful : BEADS
Worry beads are a string of beads that are fingered and played with, supposed relieving stress and tension. Worry beads are especially popular in Greek culture, where they are Komboloi.
5. Chi-town rails : ELS
The Chicago “L” is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. It is also the second oldest, again with the New York Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the “L”, although the term “El” is also in common use. (especially in crosswords as “ELS”). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).
6. Holy man in an Ogden Nash verse : LAMA
Ogden Nash the poet was well known for his light and humorous verse. Try this one:
“The one-L lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-L llama,
He’s a beast.
And I would bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
7. ___ fixe : PRIX
On a restaurant menu items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately, as opposed to “table d’hôte” (also called “prix fixe”) which is a fixed-price menu with limited choice.
8. Forgo the script : AD LIB
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar. For example, an actor who substitutes his own words for forgotten lines uses an ad lib. Or, a director may instruct an actor to use his or her own words at a particular point in a performance, to promote a feeling of spontaneity.
10. Places for scrubs, for short : ORS
Scrub up in the Operating Room.
12. Disney’s Nala, for one : LIONESS
In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness, the childhood friend of Simba.
The highly successful stage musical “The Lion King” started out life as a 1994 animated feature film of the same name from the Disney studio. The film is the highest-earning, traditionally-animated feature of all time. The film “Finding Nemo” has made more money, but it was created using computer animation.
13. Deep secrets : ARCANA
Arcana are deep secrets or mysteries. “Arcana” is from the Latin adjective “arcanum” meaning “secret, hidden”.
22. El Greco’s city : TOLEDO
“El Greco” (the Greek, in Spanish) was the nickname of the artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, and moved to Venice to study art when he was in his early twenties. A few years later he moved to the city of Toledo in central Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.
23. Satyajit Ray’s “The ___ Trilogy” : APU
Satyajit Ray was a Bengali film maker, famous for directing “The Apu Trilogy”. These were three Bengali films that were released between 1955 and 1959. They featured music composed by Ravi Shankar, and are considered to be some of the greatest movies of all times by international critics, yet they were filmed on tiny budgets.
24. First name in ’50s TV comedy : DESI
Desi Arnaz was of course famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Desi Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolution led by Batista.
26. Painter of dreamscapes : DALI
I have had the privilege of visiting the Dali Museum in Figueres, just north of Barcelona. If you ever get the chance, it’s a must see.
29. Prepare for a marathon, say, with “up” : CARB
The body’s main energy store of course is fat, but this is metabolized quite slowly. There is a relatively small amount of carbohydrate that is stored within the body’s muscles, as glycogen. This glycogen can provide energy very quickly, right to the muscles where it is needed. Marathon runners often “carb up” before a race, eating a diet rich in carbohydrates for a few days before the event, so that the body’s glycogen supplies are maximized.
30. Set aside : TABLE
This one drives me crazy. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” for discussion. But, maybe it’s just me …
33. Cascade Range peak : SHASTA
Only two volcanoes in the Cascade range have erupted in the 20th century, Mount St. Helens in 1980, and Mount Lassen in 1915. The last significant eruption of Mount Shasta was about 200 years ago
39. A.F.B. truant : AWOL
“Truant” is such a lovely word. We have been using it to describe someone who wanders from an appointed place (like someone Absent Without Leave from an Air Force Base) since the mid-1400s. Prior to that a truant was a beggar or a vagabond.
41. Soldier’s shelter : PUP TENT
A pup tent is a small ridge tent, meant for use by 2-3 people. The term “pup tent” has been around since the mid-1800s. Sometimes a pup tent used to be called a dog tent, for some reason.
45. Where Skype was invented : ESTONIA
The main feature of the Skype application is that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). It has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but it made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” which gave birth to the name Skyper, which had to be shortened to Skype because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.
46. Wild scene : ZOO
This place is like a zoo! It’s crazy!
48. Having the least vermouth : DRIEST
The name “martini” probably takes it name from the “Martini & Rossi” brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear, is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US.
50. Ranges of knowledge : KENS
A “ken” is a range of knowledge or understanding. One might say, “that is beyond our ken, beyond our perception”.
53. Comics character with a wrist radio : TRACY
The “Dick Tracy” comic strip was created way back in 1931 by Chester Gould. Dick Tracy was always up to date with the latest crime fighting techniques and gadgets, and even had a few that weren’t in use in real life. Tracy’s most famous gadget was his two-way wrist radio, something he started using in 1946. The radio got an upgrade in 1964 when it became a two-way wrist TV!
58. Asia’s ___ Sea : ARAL
The Aral Sea is another great example of how man can have a devastating effect on the environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …
59. To be, to Brigitte : ETRE
Etre is the French word for “to be”.
62. Jolly sounds : HOS
Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s nearly Christmas. Break out the credit cards …
63. Prez who said “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” : HST
Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point, having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn’t get in because of his poor eyesight. He didn’t have the money to get into college anywhere else. He did, however, study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but never finished. So, Harry S. Truman was the only US President who did not have a college degree.
64. Ballpark fig. : EST
The use of “ballpark” as an estimate only dates back to the space program, and was first used around 1960. The idea was that the area in which a returning spacecraft was expected to splash down was something broad but had predictable dimensions.