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, or leave a comment below.
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: 6m 33s
THEME: ‘Tis the season … The four theme answers include each of the four seasons (as a plural) e.g. COLORADO SPRINGS, BUFFY SUMMERS etc.
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
7 CASSAVA: The cassava plant is a woody shrub native to South America, grown largely for its carbohydrate-rich tubers. In fact, the cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for food (for humans) in the world. Ordinarily, the carbohydrate is extracted from the plant and dried as flour, called tapioca.
16 COLORADO SPRINGS: When the USAF Academy graduated its first class in 1959, it became the youngest of the five service academies to do so. Significantly, female candidates were first accepted by the academy in 1976, and today the graduating classes include over 20% women.
21 TEXAS: I’ve often heard the phrase “six flags over Texas” but as an emigre, I din’t fully understand the significance till today. The first European flag to fly over the area we now call Texas was that of Spain. The French had a colony there as well, albeit for a short length of time. Of course Mexico controlled the territory for a long time, until Texas became independent in 1836. Texas joined the Union in 1845 (the 28th state). During the Civil War Texas sided with the Confederate States of America, and then after the war, the stars and stripes flew again. That does make six …
27 BUFFY SUMMERS: The character Buffy Summers first appeared in the 1993 film of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” played by Kristy Swanson. In the subsequent television series she was played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. As I have said before, I don’t do vampires, so I haven’t seen either.
39 ANA: The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. because they are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, the air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the falls, it becomes drier and heats up, so that the relative humidity can even be below 10% as it hits the coast.
45 WICHITA FALLS: Wichita Falls really started to grow as a city with the arrival of the railroad in 1882. The town was named for the nearby waterfall on the Wichita River, a waterfall that was destroyed by a flood in 1886. Unknowing visitors would flock to Wichita Falls to see the non-existent falls, giving rise to the town’s decision to “create” its own waterfall. The artificial falls are 54 feet high, and are located in Lucy Park by the river.
49 YEATS: William Butler Yeats was the first Irishman to be honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1923. He had been a prominent figure in Irish and British literature, and was a founder of the famous Abbey Theater in Dublin.
53 ALAN: Chester Arthur was 21st President, and came to power after the assassination of James Garfield in 1881. President Arthur was known to be very socially adept, and was very conscious of his role in society. He was always immaculately attired, apparently even changing his pants several times in a day. He was called “Chet” by family and friends, and sometimes answered to his middle name, Alan.. However, he insisted that Alan be pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, Al-an.
56 CNBC: “Mad Money” started airing in 2005, and is hosted by the ebullient Jim Cramer. Cramer recommends essential funds, such as those reserved for retirement, be safely locked away in conservative investment vehicles. Any money left over (still looking for that here!) is classed as “Mad Money” and can be invested in more risky stocks.
2 ROLEX: My most prized possession is a stainless steel Rolex watch that my uncle bought while serving in the RAF in Canada during WWII. The Rolex watched were made available to the Canadian servicemen at that time as they were shipping overseas. My uncle brought his Rolex home to Ireland after the war. He needed money for booze one weekend and so sold the watch to my Dad, for five pounds. My Dad gave it to me just before he died last year, as he knew I loved the watch, and my brothers weren’t interested in it. Not so long ago I had it appraised ($3,000!), and my brothers all of a sudden became more interested! Still, it’s not something that will ever be sold, that’s for sure.
3 ONO: John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in 1969 in Gibraltar, and famously spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam, in a very public “bed in” designed to bring attention to wars and conflicts around the world. Later that year, Lennon added “Ono” to his own name, in a ceremony held on the roof of Apple Records in London.
11 ARNO: The 1966 Arno flood was the worst in centuries, resulting in deaths and destruction of priceless art treasures particularly in Florence.
12 VEGA: Because the direction of the Earth’s axis moves, albeit very slowly, the position of North relative to the stars changes over time. The bright star hat we see in our lifetimes that is closest to true north is Polaris, and so we call Polaris the pole star. 14,000 years ago, the nearest bright star to true north was Vega, and it will be so again in about 12,000 years time.
14 ICE-T: Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles. maybe he should have stuck to his real name, Tracy Marrow. Then again, maybe not …
34 MATA: Mata Hari was a stage name. Margaretha Geertuida Zella was born in the Netherlands in 1840. After an unsuccessful, and somewhat tragic, marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer, and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in the various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When she was found guilty by the French of passing information to the Germans, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad in 1917, at the age of 41.
42 SHA NA NA: The group Sha Na Na got together in the sixties, and in some form are still performing today. Do you remember the band “Johnny Casino & The Gamblers” in the movie “Grease”. That was actually Sha Na Na.
51 TORTS: The word “tort” comes to us directly from the French word, meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. It’s a good word, as tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another, in an action that is outside of the scope of criminal law.
57 B’WAY: Broadway really is, and always has been, the Main Street of New York City. It started out as the Wickquasgeck Trail that was trampled into the Manhattan brush land by the Native Americans of the area. In the days of the Dutch, the trail became the man road though the island of Manhattan, down to the New Amsterdam settlement in the south. The Dutch described it as a “Breede weg”, a broad street or broad way. The name Broadway was adopted as the offical name for the whole thoroughfare in 1899 … on Valentine’s Day.