The name’s William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m retired now, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world. I answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at email@example.com
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This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today …
Completion Time: 18m 29s
Answers I missed: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1 GEOMETRIC SERIES: In a geometric series of numbers, there is a constant ratio between each term and its successor. In the example in the clue, each term is 1/3 of it’s predecessor.
17 THE DECENT OF MAN: Charles Darwin’s first great work was “On the Origin of the Species” published in 1859, which introduced the concept of evolution. His second work, published in 1871, was the “The Descent of Man“, which applies his theory of evolution to humans. Some of the concepts he introduced are controversial, to say the least (like the superiority of men to women!!!).
18 STAINLESS STEELS: In order to resist the tendency to rust, stainless steel (as opposed to carbon steel) has about 11% chromium. It does in fact tend to rust, but just not as easily as regular, carbon steel.
25 L’ARC: Tir a l’arc is the French term for “archery“, literally translating as “pulling at the bow”.
30 OZONE: Ozone gets its name from the Greek word ozein, meaning “to smell”. It was given this name, as its formation during lightning storms was detected by the gas’s distinctive smell.
36 ALLA: The Italian term alla francese means “in the style of the French”, and is often used in the world of cuisine.
37 POKY: Poky means slow, dawdling, or “puttering”.
38 AIOLI: To the purist (especially in Provence in the South of France), aioli is prepared by grinding just garlic with olive oil. However, other ingredients are often used, particularly egg yolks.
39 LEE: Truman Capote grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. There he met, and became lifelong friends with fellow novelist Harper Lee. Capote was the inspiration for the character “Dill” in Lee’s celebrated work “To Kill a Mocking Bird“. In turn, Harper Lee is the inspiration behind the character “Idabel” in Capote’s “Other Voices, Other Rooms“.
40 JAKE: Both “jake” and “ducky” are slang words meaning “fine”, as in things are just ducky.
43 FOB: A fob is attached to another object to make access to it easier. In this case we are talking about a watch fob, attached to a pocket watch so that it can be retrieved easily. There are also key fobs, of course.
55 EDMONTON ESKIMOS: Historically, the Edmonton Eskimos are the most successful franchise in the Canadian Football League. The Grey Cup is awarded to the League’s champions each season, and the Eskimos have won it more times than any other team.
1 GATS: A gat is a slang word used by “hoods” for a gun. It of course comes from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the machine gun. It was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent the Gatling gun, so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure …
2 ECHT: Echt best translates into English as “really” or “truly”, as in something was really bad, or truly awful.
6 TESLA: The Tesla unit measure the strength of a magnetic field, and is named after the Yugoslavian-American physicist Nikola Tesla.
13 IS ME: “This is Me… Then” is the Jennifer Lopez’s fourth studio album, and has sold over 6 million copies worldwide. It includes a track “Dear Ben”, referring to her fiance at the time, Ben Affleck.
22 AZOLE: I hope you never have to do this, but if you check out a tube of anti-fungal cream, it’s active ingredient is likely to be some sort of azole.
23 JOULE: James Joule was an English physicist who spent much of his life working as in the family brewing business. His work in the brewery inspired him in his work studying the relationship between heat and mechanical work.
24 ANKA: Canadian-born Paul Anka’s big hit was in 1957, “Diana“. He followed this up with “It’s Time to Cry” in 1958. Paul Anka was the subject of a much-lauded documentary film in 1962, called “Lonely Boy”.
25 LATKE: A latke is a delicious potato pancake (I’m Irish … anything made with a potato is delicious!).
31 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.
40 JANSEN: Speed skater Dan Jansen had to suffer through many difficulties, some tragic, in his attempts to win an Olympic gold medal. Most difficult must have been the 1988 games, when his sister died of leukemia the night before his big race. He finally won his gold, in his last ever Olympic race, in 1994.
41 COOKE’S: Alistair Cooke was famous for his wonderful “Letter from America“, a BBC radio show that ran from 1946 to 2004, the longest-running speech radio program in history. He was perhaps more well-known in the US as host of PBS’s great series “Masterpiece Theater”.
43 FLITE: The Top-Flite brand is currently owned by Calloway, after picking it up when Spalding’s golf division went bankrupt in 2003.
48 ALAN: Alan Lightman’s “Einstein’s Dreams” is a fictionalized account of Einstein’s life as he is working on his theory of relativity, and the dreams that troubled him during that period of his life. I haven’t read it, but it sounds like my kind of book.