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: QUADRUPLE PANGRAM … in the grid, each letter of the alphabet appears at least four times (and it’s true, I checked)
COMPLETION TIME: Did not finish!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 9 … the whole of the top-right corner of the grid
1. Fighter in the “Iliad” : AJAX
The Iliad is the epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the siege of Ilium during the Trojan war.
As described in Homer’s “Iliad”, Hector was a Trojan prince and a great fighter. During the war with Greeks, in order avoid a bloody battle, Hector challenges any one of the Greek warriors to a duel. Ajax is chosen by the Greeks, and the two fight for an entire day before they declare a stalemate.
15. Sumptuousness : LUXE
Luxe can be used as an adjective, meaning elegant and sumptuous, posh.
16. Onetime name at the Taj Mahal : IVANA
Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino Resort opened up for business in 1990 in Atlantic City.
Ivana Winklmayr was born in Czechoslovakia. She was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Fred Trump’s son, Donald. Their marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly so much as their very litigious divorce in 1990.
18. OPEC dignitary, maybe : EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
The OPEC cartel (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was formally established in 1960, and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965.
20. Annoyance, in British slang : AGGRO
“Aggro” is term that we use a lot in Ireland, probably more so than in the UK. It can mean an annoyance (sort for aggravation) but is more often used to mean “trouble”, as in someone caused trouble, created aggro.
21. Microsoft debut of 2001 : XBOX
Xbox was made by Microsoft (I’m sure the kids have one around here somewhere!) and introduced in 2001. The current version is known as Xbox 360.
22. Common result of high humidity : FRIZZ
Something that is “frizzy” is in small, tight curls. Hair gets frizzy in humid conditions because it expands when it absorbs moisture from the air, and that expansion can be asymmetric causing a tight curl. Hair that has been stripped of oils (as is the case with most of us over-shampooers these days) is more likely to frizz in humid conditions.
24. Infrequent blood type, informally : O-NEG
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected by the recipient. However, blood type O-Neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, AB or O, positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a “universal donor”.
In the ABO/Rhesus system of blood classification, the rarest blood type is AB-Neg, found in less than 1% of the world’s population. B-Neg and O-Neg are also relatively rare, each accounting for less than 5% of all possible donors.
26. Like some doors : AJAR
Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.
33. Modern sum? : I AM
The Latin word “sum” translates into modern English as “I am”.
The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement, in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum” … “I think, therefore I am”.
36. Stone work : JFK
“JFK” is a 1991 Oliver Stone movie, a controversial one I’d say. I suppose any work that deals with the terrible assassination of President Kennedy is bound to create a stir these days. By the way, make a note in your diary. According to US law, all documents held by the government that are related to the assassination are supposed to be released to the public by 2017 …
43. What this puzzle is, orthographically : QUADRUPLE PANGRAM
Strictly speaking a pangram is a sentence, one that uses every letter of the alphabet at least once. The classic example is, “The quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. In this puzzle, “quadruple pangram” is used to describe the fact that all of the letters of the alphabet appear at least four times in the grid.
46. Spanish ___ : ARMADA
The most famous Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England in order to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. Ironically, the English mounted a similar naval attack against Spain the following year, and it failed as well.
48. Dressing tool : ADZ
An adze (also adz), while similar to an axe, is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft, whereas in an axe the blade is set inline with the shaft.
49. 1990 autobiography subtitled “Baseball, the Wall and Me” : YAZ
Yaz was the nickname for Carl Yastrzemski, who played his whole career with the Boston Red Sox.
53. Basketball’s Isiah Thomas, to fans : ZEKE
Isiah Thomas played his whole professional basketball-playing career with the Detroit Pistons, and he is now the head coach with Florida International University’s Golden Panthers. And keep an eye out for Dale and Thomas popcorn, as it’s co-owned by Thomas.
58. Gets set : JELLS
“Jell” means to congeal, to set. The word has been used since the early 1800s, and comes from the earlier word “jelly”.
61. Some child-care center sites, for short : YWCAS
The Young Women’s Christian Association was founded in the late 1800s about 50 years after the YMCA, although the two organizations have always been independent of each other. Having said that, some local YWCA and YMCA organizations have amalgamated and often share facilities. Like the YMCA, the YWCA movement has its roots in England, but its headquarters is now in Geneva, Switzerland. It is quite the organization, the largest women’s group in the whole world.
The YMCA is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of “a healthy spirit, mind and body”. The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.
66. Plug : CHEW
“Plug” is the name given to a piece of chewing tobacco.
69. Like the Addams Family : KOOKY
Do you remember the theme song to “The Addams Family” TV show? It starts:
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky
They’re all together ooky, the Addams Family …”
70. ___ Croft, Angelina Jolie role : LARA
Lara Croft was first introduced to the world as the main character in a pretty cool video game (I thought) called “Tomb Raider”, back in 1996. Lara Croft then moved to the big screen in 2001 and 2003, in two pretty awful movie adaptations of the game’s storyline. Angelina Jolie played Croft, and did a very energetic job I thought.
72. Hall-of-Famer Michael of the Dallas Cowboys : IRVIN
Michael Irvin played football for the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t follow American Football (forgive me!) but did see Irvin on “Dancing with the Stars” on television, and he acquitted himself quite well.
73. “Semper Fidelis” grp. : USMC
The US Marine Corps adopted their current motto, “Semper Fidelis”, in 1883. “Semper Fidelis” is Latin for “Always Faithful”.
74. Model Cheryl : TIEGS
Cheryl Tiegs was only 17-years-old when she appeared as a model on the cover of “Glamour” magazine. After that she became famous for sequential appearances in the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” throughout the seventies.
76. Longest-lived first lady : BESS
Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady, and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, the longest living First Lady in US history.
1. “A Clockwork Orange” lead role : ALEX
“A Clockwork Orange” is a novella by Anthony Burgess, first published in 1962. The story is about a young teenager, Alex, who leads a small gang on violent rampages each night. The story has been adapted for the big and screens, most famously in a 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick. Way too violent for me …
3. Hypothetical fundamental particle : AXION
In theory, large quantities of axions were created during the Big Bang. They are purely theoretical particles, and have never been observed in reality.
4. Persepolis king : XERXES
Persopolis is located in modern Iran, just northeast of the city of Shiraz. The earliest remains of the city date back to around 500 BC. Much of the city’s construction took place during the reign of King Xerxes the Great.
5. Put out : MIFF
“To miff” is to put out, to tee off, a word that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That would get him a slap, I’d say …
7. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
Ravi Shankar is perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and is most famous for his sitar playing. Shankar is the father of the beautiful pop singer Norah Jones.
8. Don Juan’s mother : INEZ
Lord Byron wrote the poem “Don Juan” based on the legend of the Don Juan the womanizer. In the poem, he created the character Donna Inez, Don Juan’s mother. Supposedly, Inez was based on Byron’s own wife, Annabella Milbanke.
9. “Me” follower : TARZAN
“Tarzan” is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line “Me Tarzan, you Jane” never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn’t even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (the original movie Tarzan) saw Maureen O’Hara (the original movie Jane) struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying “Me Tarzan, you Jane”, and people have been quoting it ever since.
10. “Lawrence of Arabia” city : AQABA
British Army officer T. E. Lawrence acted as a liaison during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks during WWI. Lawrence’s own writings of his adventures, as well reports in the news media, led to him gaining a reputation as a dashing figure, and earned him the moniker “Lawrence of Arabia”. The first major action of the Arab Revolt was the capture of Aqaba, a strategically located seaport at the extreme north of the Gulf of Aqaba.
14. Eliminated from a boxing match, in a way : TKOD
In boxing (and other sports), a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter, or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a knockout having taking place, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case, the bout is said to have been ended by a technical knockout (TKO).
27. “St. Matthew Passion” composer, for short : J. S. BACH
Like so many of the great composers, the extent of Bach’s contribution to the repertoire was only fully recognized long after his passing. Johann Sebastian Bach was undoubtedly the greatest composer of the Baroque period, and is ranked by many as the greatest classical composer of all time.
During the Baroque Period, many composers composed musical settings for the story of the Passion of Christ. Bach himself wrote four or five, although only two survive today. One is the “St. John Passion”, but the most famous and most often performed is the “St. Matthew Passion”.
30. Male sheep, in Britain : TUP
A tup is a male sheep, a word used in Scottish and Northern English.
31. Noted Finnish chair designer : AALTO
Alvar Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer. He did most of his work in the first half of the twentieth century, and earned himself the nickname of “Father of Modernism” in Finland and the rest of the Nordic countries.
32. “___ little silhouetto …” (“Bohemian Rhapsody” lyric) : I SEE A
Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a marvelously unique song in the pop repertoire, I think. It has a very appealing structure, with no chorus but three distinct parts and with three distinct “sounds”. The opening is truly a slow ballad, which morphs into an operatic middle section, ending with a really heavy, rock guitar conclusion. The song monopolized the number one slot in the UK charts for weeks in 1975/76, and make a comeback in 1996 when it appeared in the movie “Wayne’s World”. Great stuff …
34. Locale of a much-visited mausoleum : AGRA
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth, delivering the couple’s 14th child!
35. Flagon contents, perhaps : MEAD
Mead is a lovely drink, made from fermented honey and water.
A flagon is a large jug with a lid, traditionally used for holding beer or wine.
36. Presidential inits. : JQA
John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, was the 6th President. Like his father, John Quincy worked for many years as a diplomat representing the young United States. After leaving office, Adams served in Congress as Representative from Massachusetts, the only president ever to enter the House after leaving the office as President.
37. Alecto, Megaera or Tisiphone : FURY
The Furies in Roman mythology were the female personification of vengeance. They were also known as the Dirae, “the terrible”. There were at least three Furies:
– Alecto: the “unceasing”
– Megaera: the “grudging”
– Tisiphone: the “avenging murder”
38. Hindu god of desire : KAMA
Kama is the Hindu god of love. He is portrayed as a youth bearing a bow and arrows, much like Eros and Cupid.
42. Part of Korea, for short : DMZ
A demilitarized zone (DMZ) is usually a border between two countries where military activity is banned according to some treaty between interested parties. The most famous DMZ today has to be the buffer zone between North and South Korea. The Korean DMZ snakes right across the Korean peninsula near the 38th parallel. The center line of the DMZ is where the front was when the ceasefire came into effect in 1953 after the Korean War. According to the armistice signed, all troops had to move back 2,000 meters from the front line on both sides, creating the DMZ that is in place today. Paradoxically perhaps, the areas on either side of the DMZ form the most heavily militarized border in the world.
52. Tech-savvy school grp. : A.V. CLUB
The Audio-Visual Club.
54. Awards show with a Best Play category, with “the” : ESPYS
The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that the winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.
59. Distant leader? : EQUI
60. Crescent shape : LUNE
By definition a “lune” is a figure formed by the intersection of two arcs of two circles. That makes a crescent moon shape, with the name “lune” coming from the Latin word for the moon, “luna”.
64. Actor Tamiroff : AKIM
Akim Tamiroff was a Russian actor who moved to the US in 1923, leaving the troupe of Russian actors with whom he was touring and adopting America as his home. He had a very thick Russian accent, but used it to his advantage, and even won the first ever Golden Globe awarded for Best Supporting Actor.
65. Thesaurus contents: Abbr. : SYNS
67. W.W. II group : WACS
The Women’s Army Corps was formed in 1942 during WWII, largely as new recruits were needed to take on military jobs as more and more men went into combat. Famously, General Douglas MacArthur called the WACs “my best soldiers”. Indeed, many generals wanted more WACs under their commands and called for women to be drafted, but the brass in the War Department felt that public outcry would too great and quashed the idea.