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: 22m 11s
THEME: TIN … some squares are filled in with the word TIN, used as a syllable in many answers.
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1: STINGER: The Stinger missile is more properly called the FIM-92 Stinger. It is a heat-seeking missile that is relatively small and portable, and can be fired by an individual on the ground.
6 GRATIN: The French word for “to scrape” is gratter, and it is the root of the word gratine meaning “crust”. To cook au gratin is prepare something in a shallow dish with a crust of bread or cheese on top. In American we tend to think mainly of potatoes prepared this way, but the technique can be used for many different dishes. Notably, what we call French onion soup, is called a gratine in France, an onion soup with some bread and cheese baked on top.
14 A GAME: NPR’s flagship sports program is “Only a Game“, hosted by Bill Littlefield and aired on Saturdays.
15 UELE: The Uele River is a tributary to the Ubangi River, and is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Uele is the 5th longest river in Africa.
17 ILIAD: William Shakespeare wrote his tragedy “Troilus and Cressida” in 1602. It is perhaps more than inspired by “The Iliad“, and instead a retelling of events during the Trojan War leading up to the death of Hector.
18 I’M AS: “Look at me, I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree …” “Misty” was written in 1954 by one Erroll Garner. Johnny Mathis had a hit with it five years later, and it was to become his signature tune. The song of course features prominently in the 1971 Clint Eastwood thriller “Play Misty for Me“.
39 RIN TIN TIN: The original Rin Tin Tin was an actual dog, a puppy found by a GI in a a bombed-out kennel in France during WWI. The soldier named the pup Rin Tin Tin, the same name as a puppet given to American soldiers for luck. On returning the US, “Rinty”, was trained by his owner, and spotted doing tricks by a film producer. He featured in some films, eventually getting his first starring role in 1923 in the silent movie “Where the North Begins”. Legend has it that this first Rin Tin Tin died in the arms of actress Jean Harlow.
46 FT. DODGE: Fort Dodge, Iowa dates back to the original fort built by soldiers in 1850, at the junction of the Des Moines River and Lizard Creek.
63 CLARA: Santa Clara, California: the center of Silicon Valley (and why I moved out here, many moons ago!).
64 KALE: Both kale and scratch are slang words for money.
66 TINY TIM: Tiny Tim is of course the invalid in the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol“, which tells the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge. The book is so popular that it has never been out of print since it was first published in December 1843.
4 EMAIL: You can read your email on your Personal Digital Assistant. I hate the darn things …
6 GUINEA: Guinea lies north of Liberia on the west African coast. Like much of Africa, it was for many years a French Colony (French Guinea). Guinea declared independence in 1958, but has suffered from autocratic rule since then, so that it is one of the poorest countries in Africa.
7 REMO: The Italian city of San Remo sits on the Mediterranean, right on the border with France. In Italian the city is named Sanremo, just one word, although the spelling of San Remo dates back to ancient times.
9 TIMES: One finds the tines of a fork opposite the handle, I guess …
11 MARTINI: 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.
12 A SIGN: Although I love Petula Clark songs, I can’t say I know “A Sign of the Times”. It was released in 1966.
24 UNSTINTINGLY: What lovely word. I use it to mean “not holding back” but apparently it can also mean “being given freely or generously”, which I suppose is similar.
26 OGRE: “Magic: The Gathering” is a card game, not played with a regular deck, but with themed cards. It is a relatively recent invention, by a math professor called Richard Garfield. It was introduced to the public in 1993, and has a large following today, and an online version.
27 GLEN: Valley Glen is in Los Angeles.
30 ASTIN: John Astin is best known for playing Gomez, the head of the household on “The Addams Family” TV series.
32 I, TINA: “I, Tina“, the 1986 autobiography of Tina Turner. The book was so successful, it was adapted into a movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It?“, released in 1993 and starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner.
37 DAHL: The Pet Rock lives on history, even though the fad really only lasted about 6 months, in 1975. It was enough to make Gary Dahl a millionaire though. His next idea, a “sand farm”, didn’t fly at all.
43 CFCS: ChloroFluoroCarbons, These were the propellants that used to be in aerosols> They make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). Not a good thing …
49 DRAKE: Sir Francis Drake was a Vice-Admiral in the Elizabethan navy, and second in command when the Royal Navy defeated the Spanish Armada. He was also a sanctioned pirate for the Queen, and reeked havoc on the Spanish merchant fleet. His most famous ship was the Golden Hind, in which he circumnavigated the world between 1577 and 1580.
51 SCOLD: A termagant is a quarrelsome woman, a scold.
54 ALL YE: According to Dante’s “Divine Comedy” the inscription at the entrance to hell is “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”.
56 OLDE: Olde English 800 can be string stuff, depending on where you buy it. The alcohol content can be as high as 8.0% in the brew produced for Canada.
57 LILA: You might recognize Lila Kedrova from “Zorba the Greek“. She won an Oscar for playing Mme. Hortense.
59 ERIK: The reference here is to Richard Wagner’s opera “The Flying Dutchman“. Erik is a hunter, and the main tenor role. He chases after his ex-love, Senta, the soprano in the piece.