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: 20m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
11. “The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers” writer : ELIA
“The Praise of Chimney Sweepers” is an essay, published in a collection simply entitled “Essays of Elia“. Elia was actually a clerk, and a co-worker of Charles Lamb. Lamb was the author.
15. Person with a shaky story? : HULA DANCER
Hula is the name of the dance, and the “shaky story” is the chant or song that the dance illustrates, known as the mele.
16. Dosage units : RADS
A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels, but is largely obsolete now. It has been superseded by the rem.
20. Joyner joiner? : KERSEE
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is retired now, but in her day was one of the greatest heptathletes in the world, as well as an Olympic medal winner in the long jump. Jackie was named Jackie Joyner at birth, after Jackie Kennedy. She got the Kersee joiner when she married her coach, Bob Kersee in 1986.
22. Bitter herb : RUE
Rue is so bitter that it is used far less today in cooking that it was in the past. There’s a flavored grapa produced in Italy though that uses rue, grappa alla ruta.
23. Jason of “I Love You, Man” : SEGEL
I don’t recognize the name or the films, but you might. He appeared in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall“, “Knocked Up” as well as “I Love You, Man“. On TV he appears in “How I Met Your Mother“.
25. They change people’s profiles : NOSE JOBS
A nose job is more correctly called rhinoplasty. The “father of surgery” was a physician in ancient India called Sushruta who lived around 1500 B.C. Sushruta performed reconstructive surgery on noses even in his time, largely as there was a demand for the procedure with punitive nose amputation being a favored punishment of the day.
27. Subject of Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution : TREASON
Treason is a serious crime committed against the nation (or the sovereign). One who commits treason is termed a traitor. In the past, the term treason also applied to lesser crimes (like a woman killing her husband) so there was a differentiation between high treason against the king, and “petit treason”, against a more common citizen.
31. Schaefer alternative : STROHS
Schaefer Brewing Company was founded in 1842 in New York City by the two Schaefer brothers. Early in the 20th century Schaefer’s beer was the biggest selling brand in the world! I like one of their advertising slogans “Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one”. Stroh’s bought the Schaefer label. The Stroh family was also German, and established its brewery up in Detroit. Both labels have been owned by Pabst since 1999.
34. Davis of “Evening Shade” : OSSIE
Ossie Davis was a very successful African-American actor, but also a director, poet, playwright and social activist. In the CBS sitcom “Evening Shade“, he was the narrator.
40. Coup de ___ (sudden impulse: Fr.) : TETE
The literal translation of “coup de tete” is “blow of the head”, so as well as meaning “sudden impulse” the phrase can mean “head butt”.
47. Person from Moscow : IDAHOAN
At its founding, it was suggested that the city be called “Hog Heaven”, but the wive’s in particular objected and the name “Paradise Valley” was adopted instead. A few years later, in 1871, the name was changed to Moscow. No one seems to know for sure how the name Moscow was chosen, but the suggestion is that the origin is Moscow, Pennsylvania or Moscow, Iowa, rather Moscow in Russia.
54. Physicist with a unit of distance named after him : FERMI
Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. He moved to US just before WWII largely due to the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. It was his work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach. Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile. The unit of distance called a fermi is pretty small, one quadrillionth of a meter.
60. Like potpourri, sometimes : PINY
Potpourri sometimes smells of pine.
67. 1952 best seller set in California : EAST OF EDEN
John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” is set in the Salinas Valley, just south of here. It tells the story of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. Even Steinbeck himself regarded “East of Eden” as his greatest work. The title is a quote from the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible.
5. Author LeShan : EDA
Eda LeShan wrote “When Your Child Drives You Crazy“, and was host of the television show “How Do Your Children Grow?” on PBS.
8. Voter registration grp. founded in 1970 : ACORN
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has been in the news since the 2006 mid-term elections, with allegations of voter fraud, and more recent allegations of embezzlement of funds within the organization. Then there were the undercover videos related to the sex trade. It has got to be an interesting place to work in recent years …
9. Left to the editor? : VERSO
The left and right pages of a book or magazine are known in publishing circles as recto and verso. Recto comes from the Latin for “right”, and verso comes from the Latin word for “turned”. The idea is that the left side of the page is the “reverse” of the right side.
10. Companion of Algernon in an Oscar Wilde play : ERNEST
The full title of Oscar Wilde’s play is “The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People“. If you haven’t seen it, it is great stuff … absurdly silly and very enjoyable. The two lead characters are Algernon and Ernest.
12. It was last an official Olympic event in 1908 : LACROSSE
Even though lacrosse was dropped at the Olympics after the 1908 games, it is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity outside of North America.
21. First name in design : EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in America for his unique designs for public buildings, such as Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK.
24. Allied transport, for short : LST
LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs were the large vessels with doors at either ends, from which tanks and other vehicles could roll off onto beaches. The concept persists to this day, in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off ferries, all inspired by the LST.
28. Plata’s partner : ORO
Oro y Plata means “gold and silver”, and is the state motto of Montana. The motto was written in Spanish, purely because “it had a nice ring to it”.
32. Female octopus : HEN
Many years ago I was SCUBA diving in Hawaii and came across two octopi “holding hands”. It was a fascinating sight, and i was able to get a few photographs without disturbing the happy couple. We later labelled the images “octo-porn”. You see, the male reproductive organ is found on one of his tentacles …
33. Religious mystic : SUFI
A Sufi is a Muslim mystic.
35. 1994 Michael Keaton film in which real journalists have cameo roles : THE PAPER
“The Paper” is a pretty enjoyable film, with a good performance (as usual) by Glenn Close. There were cameos by former New York Post editor Pete Hamill and columnist Mike McAlary.
37. Spanish seaport : ALICANTE
Alicante is a Spanish port on the Mediterranean. The city was given its name by the Moors, Arabic for “city of lights”.
42. Gen ___ (demographic group) : XERS
The term Generation X originated in the UK, the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of her study of British youth in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. However, Canadian author Douglas Coupland was responsible for the popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture“. By the latest accepted definition, Gen Xers were born from 1961 to 1981.
49. A in physics? : AMPERE
The unit of electric current is the ampere, abbreviated correctly to “A”. It is named after French physicist Andre-Marie Ampere, one of the main scientists responsible for the discovery of electromagnetism.
50. Pathfinder producer : NISSAN
The Nissan Pathfinder is an SUV, sold in Japan and the rest of the world as the Nissan Terrano.
52. Patty Hearst alias : TANIA
Famously, Patty Hearst joined forces with her 1974 kidnappers, the Symbionese Liberation Army. At the same time she took on an assumed name, Tania. Patty Hearst spent almost two years in jail for her illegal activities with the group, but was released when her sentence was commuted by President Carter. President Clinton’s last official act before leaving office was to grant Patty Hearst a pardon.
58. Roaring Twenties look : DECO
Art Deco was the name given to the design and architecture of the 1920s, which actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe and later arriving in North America. A celebrated example of the art deco form is the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City, completed in 1930.