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 …
THEME: ST-PA TRICK … the theme answers are common phrases with ST and PA swapped, e.g. STIR SKATING (pair skating), TAKE HOME STY (take home pay)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
Happy Paddy’s Day, everyone. I have a bottle of Guinness waiting for me when to finish up this evening, so I had better get cracking!
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. U.S. political scandal involving a fictional sheik : ABSCAM
The FBI set up a sting operation in 1978, eventually targeting corruption within Congress. Central to the “scam” was a front company called “Abdul Enterprises, Ltd”, so the whole operation earned the nickname “Abscam”. At the end of the say, one senator and five House members were convicted of bribery and conspiracy. Kraim Abdul Rahman was the fictional sheikh that gave “his” name to the front company.
15. Classic theater name : ROXY
The original Roxy Theater was opened in 1927 in New York City, designed to be the biggest best “motion picture palace” of the day. The first theater operator was a professional, Samuel Rothafel. As part of the deal to entice him to take the job, the owners offered to name the theater after him, and as his nickname was Roxy Rothafel, that’s the name they used.
16. Alley ___ : OOP
French people, and French circus acrobats in particular, use the phrase “allez hop!” as words of encouragement, sort of like our “let’s go!”. The phrase was anglicized to “alley oop”.
21. Setting of an April marathon : BOSTON
The first modern Olympic marathon race was held in the first modern games, in 1896 in Athens. The very next year, Boston held it’s first annual marathon, making it the oldest of the numerous annual marathons held in cities right around the world. The race is held on the third Monday of April each year, Patriots’ Day.
23. Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
Uma Thurman‘s father, Robert Thurman, was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and gave his daughter Uma her name as it is a phonetic spelling of a Buddhist name, Dbuma.
29. Louvre Pyramid architect : PEI
When I. M. Pei became the first foreign architect to work on the Louvre in Paris, he not only designed the famous glass and steel pyramid, but also worked on renovations throughout the museum. Hi design was very controversial, causing a lot of ill feeling among the public. Eventually, when the work was complete, public opinion became more favorable. Personally, I think it is magnificent, both inside and out.
37. March figure … or, when split into three parts, a title for this puzzle : ST. PATRICK
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. He lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. he was brought to Ireland first at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. He managed to escape and return home, where he studied and entered the Church. He returned to Ireland as a bishop, and a missionary, where he lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th, although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.
42. Onetime South African P.M. Jan : SMUTS
Jan Smuts first came to power as Prime Minister of South Africa in 1919. Long before the policies of apartheid, he set up structures designed to segregate the black and white populations.
46. Reuters competitor : UPI
United Press International was one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. It ran foul of the change in media formats at the end of the last century, and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands of people, still exists but with only a handful of employees.
56. Imam, e.g. : CLERIC
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the one in charge of a mosque, or perhaps a Muslim community.
60. Ice hockey in prison? : STIR SKATING
The slang word “stir”, meaning a prison, probably has its roots in Start Newgate prison in London, where it was a nickname for the establishment.
63. “The Raven” writer’s inits. : EAP
“The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most famous poems ever written. It brought Poe a lot of celebrity within his own lifetime, as it was published not only in a collection of poems, but also in newspapers. it first appeared in the New York Evening Mirror in 1845.
66. Banned bug spray : DDT
DDT is DicholoroDiphenylTricholoroethane (don’t forget now!). It was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring“, suggesting there was a link between DDT and cancer, and between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book that led to the ban on the use of DDT in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.
67. Some valuable 1920s-’40s baseball cards : OTTS
At 5′ 9″ Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb.. Yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958, at age 49 years.
5. Prenatal exam, briefly : AMNIO
Amniocentesis is the prenatal test in which a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the foetus is removed using a hypodermic needle. The fluid naturally contains some fetal cells, the DNA of which is then tested to determine the sex of the child and is examined for genetic abnormalities.
8. Polynesian paste : POI
I am a big fan of starch, and being an Irishman I love potatoes however they are prepared. That said, poi is horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant, by cooking the corm in water and mashing it with water until the desired consistency is achieved.
11. Horace’s “Ars ___” : POETICA
The full name of Horace’s work is “Ars Poetica, Episula ad Pisones” (The Art of Poetry, Letters to Piso). The work describes the technical aspects of poetry in Ancient Rome, and so the term “ars poetica” has come to mean the poetry of the period.
13. Glittery glue-on : SPANGLE
A spangle is another word for a sequin.
25. Make up galleys for printing : SET TYPE
Galleys are the metal trays into which a printer would arrange type to make up a page. The galleys had clamps that could be used to hold the loose type in place. Even today’s world of electronic publishing, apparently the term “galley proof” is still used as the name for some version of a layout that is not yet final.
33. Hawaiian Tropic no. : SPF
In theory, the Sun Protection Factor, is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with SPF say of 20, then you will need 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn with lotion on, than without it. I say, just stay out of the sun …
36. RKO film airer, maybe : TCM
The wonderful RKO Pictures was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-Orpheum theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The resulting new company was called Radio-Keith-Orpheum Pictures, or RKO.
44. End of life as we know it? : SILENT E
The E on the end of the word “lif-e” is SILENT. Nice clue …
58. One of four Holy Roman emperors : OTTO
The name “Otto” is of Germanic origin, and means “wealthy”. The first three Ottos of the Holy roman Empire ruled in succession from 912 to 1002, and made up what is called the Ottonian dynasty. Otto IV ruled from 1175 to 1218.