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, 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: 19m 38s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
16 GESTAPO: Gestapo is a contraction for “Geheime Staatspolizei”, or “Secret State Police”. The Gestapo was formed in 1934, not long after Adolf Hitler took power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933.
17 RED TAPE: Back in the days of yore in England, official documents were bound in bundles with red ribbon. So, getting through all the paperwork meant “cutting through the red tape”.
21 CPR: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation used to involve the simultaneous compression of the chest to pump blood using the heart, and artificial respiration by blowing air into the lungs. Nowadays emergency services are placing more emphasis on the heart compressions, and less on the artificial respiration (I just discovered).
22 OTO: The Oto tribe used to live at the mouth of the River Platte in Nebraska.
30 NEIL ARMSTRONG: Neil Armstrong is the most private of individuals. You don’t see him often giving interviews, unlike so many of the more approachable astronauts of the Apollo space program. His famous “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” statement, was something that he came up with during the voyage itself.
40 SASHA: Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, born in 2001. She is the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant.
45 RAD: A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels, but is largely obsolete now. It has been superseded by the rem.
46 IF A: A woodchuck is just another name for a groundhog (also called a whistle-pig, and sometimes a land-beaver).
47 HANS ARP: Hans Arp was a French artist, renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. He was the son of a French mother and German father, and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German, he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French, he called himself Jean Arp. Both Hans and Jean translate into English as John.
52 KISSERS: Kissers and yaps are both slang terms for mouths.
6 SEPIA: Sepia is that lovely rich brown-grey color so common in old photographs. The name sepia comes from the pigment derived from the ink sac of the cuttle fish, with “sepia” being the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish. The sepia tone of old photographs is not a result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result a deliberate preservation process with converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Sepia toned prints can last in excess of 150 years.
8 LADS: Both Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn appear in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and the sequel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn“, and indeed in a number of other titles written by Mark Twain.
12 STERNE: “Journal to Eliza” was written in 1767 by British author Laurence Sterne, although it wasn’t published until 1904, long after Sterne had passed away. Mrs. Elizabeth Draper had also passed away, the Eliza named in the title. Mrs. Draper lived in India, and was a woman that Sterne courted in the final years of his life. Laurence Sterns is best known for his novel, “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman”.
14 DON’T TREAD ON ME: The phrase “don’t tread on me” appeared on many early American flags. The phrase usually appeared with a rattlesnake. Notably, it was included in the first Navy Jack.
15 GREAT SALT LAKE: West Jordan is named after the nearby Jordan River, and is now a suburb of Salt Lake City in Utah.
26 TITANS: The Titans were a group of twelve elder deities in Greek mythology. In the celebrated Battle of the Titans, they were overthrown by the young upstarts, the Olympians, twelve younger gods.
34 THE FIRM: “The Firm” is the book that brought John Grisham his first success, although it was the second novel that he wrote. The first was “A Time to Kill“, which garnered a lot more attention after “The Firm” took off. Personally, my favorite of his novels is “Runaway Jury“.
38 TRISTE: “Triste” is the French word for “sad”.
48 PSAT: I think the acronym PSATused to stem from Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.