Edited by: Will Shortz
We have a note with today’s puzzle:
To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors.
This collaboration is by the comedian and television personality Joy Behar, a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” working together with Lynn Lempel, of Daytona Beach, Fla. This is Ms. Lempel’s 79th crossword for The Times.
The celebrity collaborations will continue periodically through the year.
More information about the making of today’s puzzle appears in the Times’s daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Today’s themed answers sound like common phrases, but actually use the names of celebrated comedians:
- 17A. Comedian Kevin after having a sloppy jelly snack? : PURPLE HART (sounds like “Purple Heart”)
- 25A. Get frisky with comedian Freddie? : PAW PRINZE (sounds like “paw prints”)
- 40A. Comedian Richard being sent to a psychiatric facility? : PRYOR COMMITMENT (sounds like “prior commitment”)
- 51A. Cause of comedian Roseanne’s black eye? : BARR FIGHT (sounds like “bar fight”)
- 62A. Result of comedian Eric’s untied shoelaces? : FALLEN IDLE (sounds like “fallen idol”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Fruity soft drink : NEHI
The Nehi cola brand has a name that sounds like “knee-high”, a measure of a small stature. Back in the mid-1900’s the Chero-Cola company, which owned the brand, went for a slightly different twist on “knee-high” in advertising. The logo for Nehi was an image of a seated woman’s stockinged legs, with her skirt pulled up to her knees, to hint at “knee-high”.
5. Stir-fry cookers : WOKS
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.
9. Puts into English, say, as movie dialogue : DUBS
If voices needed to be altered on the soundtrack of a film, that means double the work as there needs to be a re-recording. “Dub” is short for “double”, and is a term we’ve been using since the late 1920s. The term has been extended to describe the adding of sound to an otherwise silent film or tape.
16. Rights org. of which Helen Keller was a co-founder : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.
Helen Keller became a noted author despite been deaf and blind, largely through the work of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Keller was left deaf and blind after an illness (possible meningitis or scarlet fever). when she was about 18 months old. She was to become the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The relationship between Sullivan and Keller is immortalized in the play and film called “The Miracle Worker”.
17. Comedian Kevin after having a sloppy jelly snack? : PURPLE HART (sounds like “Purple Heart”)
Kevin Hart is an actor and comedian from Philadelphia. Hart plays the lead role on a reality TV parody on BET called “Real Husbands of Hollywood”.
The Purple Heart is a military decoration awarded by the President to members of the US military forces who have been wounded or killed while serving. Today’s Purple Heart was originally called the Badge of Military Merit, an award that was established by George Washington 1782 while he was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. The Purple Heart is a heart-shaped medal with a gold border bearing a profile of President Washington, and a purple ribbon.
19. Writer Lowry with two Newbery Medals : LOIS
Lois Lowry is a writer of children’s fiction. Lowry doesn’t stick to “safe” material in her books, and has dealt with difficult subjects such as racism, murder and the Holocaust. Two of her books won the Newbery Medal: “Number the Stars” (1990) and “The Giver” (1993).
20. Restaurateur Paula : DEEN
Paula Deen is a celebrity chef from Savannah, Georgia who is noted for her Southern cooking. Deen has been criticized for the amount of salt, fat and sugar in her recipes. The criticism became even more intense when Deen disclosed that she herself has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
21. Lion observed at night : LEO
The constellation called Leo can be said to resemble a lion. Others say that it resembles a bent coat hanger. “Leo” is the Latin for “lion”, but I’m not sure how to translate “coat hanger” into Latin …
25. Get frisky with comedian Freddie? : PAW PRINZE (sounds like “paw prints”)
Freddie Prinze, Jr. is an actor from Los Angeles who made it back with performances in teen movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Scooby-Doo”. Prinze is married to actress Sarah Michelle Gellar.
28. Azure expanse : SKY
The term “azure” came into English from Persian via Old French. The French word “l’azur” was taken from the Persian name for a place in northeastern Afghanistan called “Lazhward” which was the main source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. The stone has a vivid blue color, and “azure” has been describing this color since the 14th century.
30. Mule in an Erie Canal song : SAL
The song “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” was written in 1905. The lyrics are nostalgic and look back to the days when traffic on the canal was pulled by mules, bemoaning the introduction of the fast-moving engine-powered barges. The first line is “I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal”.
31. School for young royals : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who took power in the last UK general election. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming (as well as 007 himself as described in the Fleming novels).
33. Irritating criticism : FLAK
“Flak” was originally an acronym from the German term for an aircraft defense cannon (FLiegerAbwehrKanone). Flak then became used in English as a general term for antiaircraft fire, and ultimately a term for verbal criticism as in “to take flak”.
36. “The Phantom of the Opera” city : PARIS
In Gaston Leroux’s novel “The Phantom of the Opera”, the young Christine Daaé is obsessively admired by Erik, the “phantom” who lives below the Paris Opera House. Christine is also pursued by her childhood friend Raoul, Viscount de Chagny.
40. Comedian Richard being sent to a psychiatric facility? : PRYOR COMMITMENT (sounds like “prior commitment”)
Richard Pryor was a stand-up comedian and actor from Peoria, Illinois. Pryor had a rough childhood. He was the daughter of a prostitute and was raised in his grandmother’s brothel after his mother abandoned him at the age of ten years. He was regularly beaten by his grandmother, and was molested as a child. Pryor grew up to become the comedian’s comedian, one who was much respected by his peers. Jerry Seinfeld once referred to Pryor as “the Picasso of our profession”.
44. Swimmer Diana : NYAD
Diana Nyad is a long-distance swimmer. Nyad holds the distance record for a non-stop swim without a wetsuit, a record that she set in 1979 by swimming from Bimini to Florida. In 1975 she became the fastest person to circle Manhattan in a swim that lasted 7 hours 57 minutes. More recently, in 2013, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage. She was 64 years old when she made that swim!
46. “___ the fields we go …” : O’ER
The traditional Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was first published in 1857, penned by James Lord Pierpont. We associate the song with Christmas, although in fact Pierpont wrote it as a celebration of Thanksgiving.
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
48. Séance sound : RAP
“Séance” is a French word meaning “a sitting”. We use the term in English for a sitting in which a spiritualist tries to communicate with the spirits of the dead.
51. Cause of comedian Roseanne’s black eye? : BARR FIGHT (sounds like “bar fight”)
The comedian Roseanne Barr is perhaps best known as the star of her own sitcom called “Roseanne” in which she played the character Roseanne Conner. In 2012 Barr unsuccessfully vied for the Green Party’s nomination for US President. She didn’t give up though, and was successful in winning the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party. In the 2012 presidential election she earned over 60,000 votes, and placed sixth in the list of candidates.
58. “Superfood” Amazon berry : ACAI
Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.
59. Captain Hook, to Peter Pan : FOE
Captain Hook is the bad guy in “Peter Pan”, the famous play by J. M. Barrie. Hook is Peter Pan’s sworn enemy, as Pan cut off Hook’s hand causing it to be replaced by a “hook”. It is implied in the play that Hook attended Eton College, just outside London. Hook’s last words are “Floreat Etona”, which is Eton College’s motto. Barrie openly acknowledged that the Hook character was based on Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab from the novel “Moby Dick”.
62. Result of comedian Eric’s untied shoelaces? : FALLEN IDLE (sounds like “fallen idol”)
Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.
66. Subject of Queen Elizabeth, informally : BRIT
Princess Elizabeth became queen Elizabeth II in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her, that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is longest in the history of the UK.
67. John le Carré heroes : SPIES
“John Le Carré” is the pen name of David Cornwell, an English author famous for his spy novels. Cornwell worked for British Intelligence during the fifties and sixties, even as he was writing his spy thrillers. He left MI6 soon after his most famous 1963 novel “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, became such a great success.
69. “500” race, familiarly : INDY
The Indianapolis 500 race is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race is run around a 2.5 mile oval, hence requiring 200 laps for completion. The first Indy 500 race was held on Memorial Day in 1911. The winner that day was one Ray Harroun. Harroun had seen someone using a rear view mirror on a horse-drawn vehicle, and decided to fit one on his Marmon “Wasp” motor car. Supposedly, that was the first ever use of a rear view mirror on a motor vehicle.
71. Breakfast brand for the toaster : EGGO
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.
1. Forty winks : NAP
Back in the early 1800s, folks took “nine winks” when getting a few minutes of sleep during the day. Dr. William Kitchiner extended this concept in his 1821 self-help book “The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life”. He suggested “A Forty Winks Nap”, which we seem to have been taking ever since. Mind you, I’m up to about eighty winks most days …
2. Prof’s URL ender : EDU
3. Robust-sounding teens of children’s books : HARDY BOYS
“The Hardy Boys” series of detective stories for children and teens was created by Edward Stratemeyer. The Hardy Boys first appeared way back in 1927, but I lapped them up in the 1960s.
5. St. Paul’s Cathedral architect : WREN
The famous and very beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. St. Paul’s was completed in 1708 and was constructed as part of a rebuilding program necessary after the devastation of the Great Fire of London of 1666. St. Paul’s is the second largest church building in the country, after Liverpool Cathedral.
7. Nocturnal marsupial : KOALA
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …
Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch. Better-known marsupials are kangaroos, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. As you can perhaps tell from this list, most marsupials are native to the Southern Hemisphere.
9. Spiritual leader with a Nobel Peace Prize : DALAI LAMA
The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.
10. NE basketball powerhouse : UCONN
The UConn Huskies are the sports teams of the University of Connecticut. I wasn’t able to uncover the derivation of the “Huskies” moniker. Although it is true that “UConn” sounds like “Yukon”, that isn’t the derivation of the “Huskies” nickname. The school didn’t become the University of Connecticut (UConn) until 1939, and the Huskies name has been used since 1933.
11. Football rush : BLITZ
In football, a blitz (also called “red dog”) is a maneuver by players in the line of scrimmage designed to quickly overwhelm the opposing quarterback.
12. Essman of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” : SUSIE
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” is an improv comedy show aired by HBO that was created and stars Larry David, the creator of “Seinfeld”. As an aside, Larry David sat a few feet from me at the next table in a Los Angeles restaurant a few years ago. I have such a huge claim to fame …
18. Alternative to Levi’s : LEES
The Lee company that’s famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.
24. Colorful aquarium fish : TETRA
The neon tetra is a freshwater fish that is native to parts of South America. The tetra is a very popular aquarium fish and millions are imported into the US every year. Almost all of the imported tetras are farm-raised in Asia and very few come from their native continent.
29. “Finger-lickin’ good” food establishment : KFC
The famous “Colonel” of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame was Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur from Henryville, Indiana. Although not really a “Colonel”, Sanders did indeed serve in the military. He enlisted in the Army as a private in 1906 at the age of 16, lying about his age. He spent the whole of his time in the Army as a soldier in Cuba. It was much later, in the 1930s, that Sanders went into the restaurant business making his specialty deep-fried chicken. By 1935 his reputation as a “character” had grown, so much so that Governor Ruby Laffoon of Kentucky gave Sanders the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel”. Later in the fifties, Sanders developed his trademark look with the white suit, string tie, mustache and goatee. When Sanders was 65 however, his business failed and in stepped Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s. Thomas simplified the Sanders menu, cutting it back from over a hundred items to just fried chicken and salads. That was enough to launch KFC into the fast food business. Sanders sold the US franchise in 1964 for just $2 million and moved to Canada to grow KFC north of the border. He died in 1980 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky. The Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is indeed a trade secret. Apparently there is only one copy of the recipe, a handwritten piece of paper, written in pencil and signed by Colonel Sanders. Since 2009, the piece of paper has been locked in a computerized vault surrounded with motion detectors and security cameras.
32. Achievement for Bernie Madoff or Al Capone : NOTORIETY
Bernie Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence for having operated what is described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Basically Madoff took investor’s money and instead of investing it in the markets as agreed, he put the money into a bank account. He used some of the money he collected from new investors to pay the older investors the anticipated monthly returns. This worked just fine, until too many investors started looking for the return of the original investment. The money was “gone”, paid to new investors (and Madoff), so the whole scheme collapsed.
The Chicago gangster Al Capone was eventually jailed for tax evasion. He was given a record 11-year sentence in federal prison, of which he served 8 years. He left prison suffering dementia caused by late-stage syphilis. Capone suffered through 7-8 sickly years before passing away in 1947.
34. Youngest of the fictional March sisters : AMY
“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.
35. “Attention ___ shoppers!” : KMART
Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …
37. St. Bernard during an avalanche, maybe : RESCUE DOG
The St. Bernard dog originated in the Italian and Swiss alps, and was indeed specially bred for rescue. The breed dates back at least to the early 1700s when the dogs worked from the traveler’s hospice at the St. Bernard Pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The breed took its name from this famously treacherous route through the mountains.
41. Coral formation : REEF
Polyps are tiny sea creatures that are found attached to underwater structures or to other polyps. Polyps have a mouth at one end of a cylindrical “body” that is surrounded by tentacles. Some polyps cluster into groups called stony corals, with stony corals being the building blocks of coral reefs. The structure of the reef comprises calcium carbonate exoskeletons secreted by the coral polyps.
42. Hollywood’s Lupino : IDA
Actress Ida Lupino was also a successful director, in the days when women weren’t very welcome behind the camera. She had already directed four “women’s” shorts when she stepped in to direct the 1953 drama “The Hitch-Hiker”, taking over when the original director became ill. “The Hitch-Hiker” was the first film noir movie to be directed by a woman, and somewhat of a breakthrough for women in the industry.
47. Repeated jazz phrases : RIFFS
A riff is a short rhythmic phrase in music, especially one improvised on a guitar.
51. Thumper’s deer friend : BAMBI
The 1942 Disney classic “Bambi” is based on a book written by Felix Salten called “Bambi, A Life in the Woods”. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.
54. What Tarzan’s friends advised him to do? : GO APE
In the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes was actually Englishman John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke.
55. Half of a genetic molecule : HELIX
Francis Crick and James Watson discovered that DNA had a double-helix, chain-like structure, and published their results in Cambridge in 1953. To this day the discovery is mired in controversy, as some crucial results collected by fellow researcher Rosalind Franklin were used without her permission or even knowledge.
65. Ambient musician Brian : ENO
Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the “ambient” genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, which was the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks somewhat inventively: 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.