0303-10 New York Times Crossword Answers 3 Mar 10

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 bill@paxient.com, or leave a comment below.

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This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today …

COMPLETION TIME: N/A (watching the disaster movie “2012” … fascinating, scary and entertaining all at the same time!)
THEME: VIVIEN LEIGH … and her OSCAR-winning roles

10 SPED: The phrase “like the dickens” means “a lot”. It has been around a long time (long before Charles Dickens, for example), and was even used by Shakespeare in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in 1600. “Dickens” is a euphemism for “the devil”, and may have migrated through an older word “devilkins”.

Mel Stottlemyre autographed Baseball Card (New York Yankees) 1973 Topps Card14 MEL: Mel Stottlemyre was a pitcher for the New York Yankees, and later a pitching coach for the Yankees, Mets, Astros and Mariners.

16 AH SO: The expression “ah so” comes from the Japanese “ah so”, short for “ah so desu ka”. It translates into “oh, that’s how it is”. So, as we use “ah so” seems spot on.

23 HALAS: The NFL’s George Stanley Halas, Sr. was nicknamed “Papa Bear”. He also earned the nickname “Mr Everything”, well deserved as he was a player, coach, inventor, jurist, producer, philanthropist, philatelist and NFL owner. He led the Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1967.

Gone with the Wind24 SCARLETT O’HARA: As casting proceeded for the movie version of “Gone With the Wind“, Clark Gable was a shoo-in from day one. The role of Scarlett was considered very desirable in the acting community, with Bette Davis on the short list, and Katherine Hepburn demanding an appointment with producer David O. Selznick to discuss the role. Vivien Leigh was an unlikely contender, an English actress for the definitive Southern belle role. Selznick chose her though, despite a lot of protests.

29 DELANEY: Kim Delaney played Detective Diane Russell on the “N.Y.P.D. Blue“, the ABC cop show that ran from 1993 to 2005.

32 ASCOT: An Ascot tie is that horrible looking (I think!) wide tie that narrows at the neck, only really worn at weddings these days. It takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race, a day when punters still turn up in formal wear as Ascot race course in England.

37 ROLL: If you play craps, there are a number of ways to roll an eight with the two dice. Eight, the easy way, is 2-6 or 6-2, 3-5 or 5-3. Getting eight with a 4-4 is “the hard way”.

An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World's Biggest Problems40 BECK: Glenn Beck as a political commentator leans to the right, and so is a big star on the Fox News Channel. He has a had a rough life. His parents divorced, and his mother committed suicide by jumping out of a small boat in Puget Sound. Glenn Beck himself go divorced from his first wife, with her leaving him due to his struggles with substance abuse. He is now married for a second time, and living the quiet life in Connecticut.

41 CSI: CSI gets a lot of criticism from the law enforcement agencies for its unrealistic portrayal of the procedures and science of criminal investigation. I don’t care though. It’s a fun show to watch.

42 EDY’S: Dreyer’s ice cream sells it’s products under the name Dreyers in Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin44 HAMELIN: The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is the tale is an allegory.

46 GARR: Ralph Garr is a former left-handed batter who played for the Braves, White Sox and Angels.

48 BLANCHE DUBOIS: Blanche DuBois is of course a character in Tennesse Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire“. Vivien Leigh played the role on the London stage (directed by her husband at the time, Laurence Olivier). In 1951, this experience stood her in good stead, when she was cast in the role for the Hollywood movie. By the way, Desire is the name of a neighborhood in New Orleans, a destination for a streetcar line, hence the title, “A Streetcar Named Desire”.

55 I’M A: Frank Sinatra co-wrote the song “I’m a Fool to Want You“. He wrote the song about his tempestuous relationship with his ex-wife, film legend Ava Gardner.

Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh57 VIVIENNE LEIGH: Vivien Leigh had a remarkable film and stage career, but she had difficulties to overcome in her life. She had to deal with bipolar disorder, as did her entourage, so she had a reputation for being very difficult to work with. She also suffered from tuberculosis for decades, the disease that eventually killed her when she was 54-years-old.

63 CARNES: Kim Carnes has an incredible, raspy voice. Perhaps her most famous release was “Bette Davis Eyes“, one of my favorite songs.

64 A LA: A dish prepared “a la king” (usually chicken or turkey), is food prepared in a cream sauce, with mushrooms, pimentos, green peppers and sherry.

65 NERO: The emperor Nero had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old he married his stepsister, Claudia Octavia. He also had executed his mother and stepbrother.

My Fair Lady3 ELIZA: Eliza Doolittle is the Professor Henry Higgins’s speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion“. Of course “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

4 SSR: Both Lithuania and Estonia were once Soviet Socialist Republics.

8 REN: The Ren and Stimpy Show ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. Not my cup of tea …

9 EDD: Ed McMahon used to announce Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show“, and when Johnny retired, Edd Hall replaced McMahon as announcer, introducing Jay Leno.

19 WHALE: The most famous whale-hunting ship in fiction has to be Herman Melville’s Pequod, from his novel “Moby Dick“. Starbuck was the young first mate of the whaler. Starbuck’s name was lifted and used by a Seattle-based coffee company.

Captain Blood21 ERROL: Errol Flynn played the archetypal swashbuckler in the 1935 film “Captain Blood“. The movie was the second of three adaptations of the novel of the same name by Rafael Sabatini. Of course Captain Blood had to be an Irishman …

38 ODIN: In Norse mythology, Odin is the chief of the gods. His wife, Frigg, is the queen of Asgard, and the deity that gave us our English term Friday (via Anglo-Saxon).

43 DRU: Joanne Dru’s most famous roles were in the movies “Red River” and “All the King’s Men“. She had a celebrity younger brother, Peter Marshall, the original host of “Hollywood Squares“.

45 EL NINO: When the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean rises, or falls, more that half a degree centigrade, then there are said to be El Nino conditions, or an El Nino episode. The temperature change is associated with climatic changes, right across the globe. El Nino is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. It was given this Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

Project Gemini Pocket Space Guide (Pocket Space Guides)46 GEMINI: President Kennedy famously launched the Apollo space program in 1961. The Mercury program was the project that put Americans into space, and NASA decided that more development work was need to bridge the gap in capabilities needed between what was known from Mercury, and what was need to land a man on the moon, the objective of the Apollo program. So, the Gemini program was born, in which astronauts learned to spend extended periods in orbit, rendezvous and dock spacecraft, walk in space, and improve the re-entry and landing stage of a space flight.

49 HIERO: The prefix hiero-comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in hieroglyphics, the “sacred carving”, the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.

51 ITALY: Orvieto is in central Italy, in southwestern Umbria. It is apparently a spectacular city, built on a butte, with sheer walls all around. The impressive setting is enhanced by defensive walls around the city built from the same stone found in the cliffs.

Stripes (Unrated Extended Cut)53 IVAN: Ivan Reitman was born in Slovakia, the son of an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor. He was educated in Canada, and works in the United States now directing and producing mainly comedy films. Examples of his work are “Stripes“, “Ghostbusters” and “Kindergarten Cop“.