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 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are working on the New York Times crossword in any other publication, you are working on the syndicated puzzle. Here is a link to my answers to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword. To find any solution other than today’s, enter the crossword number (e.g. 1225, 0107) in the “Search the Blog” box above.
This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today …
Completion Time: 13m 43s
Theme: GLOBAL WARMING (spelled out in a circle, by the circled letters). All the themed answers suggest the warming of somewhere around the globe i.e. LONDON BROIL, BAKED ALASKA and ROAST TURKEY
Answers I missed: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
11 FTD: Back in 1910, fifteen florists from around America agreed to fulfill each others orders using the telegraph system, and so set up what they called the Florists’ Telegraph Delivery. The concept grew so large that in 1965 the group started offering international service, and changed its name to Florists’ Transworld Delivery.
14 TALON: The claw of a bird of prey is a talon, and may be found most times on the branch of a tree.
15 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 her own words at a particular point in a performance, to promote a feeling of spontaneity.
19 NEV: The design for Nevada’s commemorative quarter was arrived at via a state-sponsored competition. A panel selected the five “best” submissions, and 60,000 Nevada residents voted to select the galloping mustang design.
20 LONDON BROIL: London Broil is purely an American dish, and has nothing to do with London in England. London Broil is usually grilled, marinated flank steak, that is then cut into thin slices. It’s important to cut across the grain, in order render more tender a relatively tough cut of meat.
22 TAI: The Mai Tai is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but it was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curacao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice, and then a float of 6 parts dark rum.
27 GAO: The Government Accounting Office, established as a branch of the US Congress in 1921, was renamed the Government Accountability Office in 2004. A much better name, I think …
30 ISLA: The Island of Majorca (Isla Mallorca) is Spain’s largest island, and is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The population of the island ballooned over the past few decades as it is a mecca for tourists from all over Europe.
33 DANIEL: Daniel was cast into a den of lions for continuing to practice his faith, but he was miraculously spared by the beasts.
35 BAKED ALASKA: A dish called a Norwegian Omelette (ice cream, flash-baked in a sponge or meringue crust) has been around since the 1800s. What we know as Baked Alaska was introduced in Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City in 1876, in recognition of the territory of Alaska that was recently acquired by the United States.
40 ECHO: In Greek mythology, Echo is one of the Oreads, the mountain nymphs. She fell in love with the vain Naricissus, and followed him into the forest one day. Narcissus heard her following him, and called out, “Who’s there?”. Echo answered, “Who’s there?” Again he called out, and again Echo echoed his words back to him.
45 A LA MODE: In French, a la mode simply means “fashionable”. In America it has come to describe a way of serving pie, usually with ice cream, or as I recall when I lived in Upstate New York, with cheese.
48 GIL: Gil Hodges played most of his career with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, as a first baseman. He also managed the New York Mets, notably when they won the 1969 World Series.
51 TIM: Tim Pawlenty is the current Governor of Minnesota, now in his second term. He has decided not to run for reelection this year (2010), and is considered by many to be a strong Republican candidate for the Presidential race in 2012.
56 ARTOO: Kenny Baker is a British actor, who stands just 3 ft 8 ins tall. He has been the man inside the R2-D2 droid for all six of the “Star Wars” movies.
57 NOLAN: Director Christopher Nolan is best known for “rescuing” the floundering Batman movie franchise. He directed “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight“.
59 MILAN: Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Otello” was first performed in 1887 at the La Scala Theater in Milan.
1 STALAG: Stalag was the term used for a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany. Stalag is an abbreviation for Stammlager, which in turn is the short form of Mannschartsstamm und Straflager, literally meaning “crew master and prison camp”.
3 ALONZO: Alonzo Mourning played most of his career with the Miami Heat, and in 2009 was the first person to have his number retired. In 2003 he had a kidney replacement, a donation from a cousin that he had not seen in 25 years.
5 ENDOR: According to the First Book of Samuel, the Witch of Endor called up the ghost of the deceased Samuel.
7 ODER: The Oder rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland.
11 FANTASIA: “Fantasia” was Disney’s third feature length movie, released in 1940. The film had a disappointing critical reception, pushing the Disney company into financial difficulties. RKO took over the film’s distribution in 1941, cutting the running time of 2h 21m by a full hour, and giving the movie a successful run. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to do so. It’s a real delight.
13 DEVISAL: Devisal (I just confirmed) is the act of inventing, devising or contriving.
29 UN AMI: Albert Camus’ “Lettres a un Ami Allemand” (Letters to a German Friend) were published in various papers from 1943 to 1945, and deal with the subject of “absurdism”. His message was very zen, that happiness was just a fleeting feeling, and that everything human must eventually die. He promoted this concept in the hope that one would better appreciate one’s life.
31 CAROM: A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. It has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball of the side of the table.
35 BAHAMIAN: Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas used to be called Charles Town. After having been burnt to the ground by the Spanish in 1684, it was rebuilt and name Nassau in honor of King William III of England, a Dutchman from the House of Orange-Nassau (i.e. William of Orange).
36 LONG TONS: The long ton is the name given to the “ton” in the imperial system, to distinguish it from the short ton used in the United States. A long ton is equal to 2,240 pounds, and a short ton is equal to 2,000 pound. Dear, dear me … let’s all just go metric!
41 BEATLE: George Harrison was known as “the quiet Beatle”. It was he who first embraced mysticism, and opened up the minds of his colleagues to the eastern philosophies.
42 TOKLAS: Alice B. Toklas met Gertrude Stein in Paris in 1907, and the two were life partners until Stein died in 1946. Cleverly, Stein published her own memoirs in 1933, but calling the book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”. It was to become her best selling title.
44 WAYNE’S: “Wayne’s World” was a Saturday Night Live sketch starring Mike Myers (as Wayne) and Dana Carvey. The sketch was so successful it was parlayed into two hit movies, in 1992 and 1993. Not my cup of tea …
49 LUNAR (ECLIPSE): A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into the shadow cast by the earth from the light of the sun. In other words, when the earth is positioned directly between the sun and the moon.