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: 26m 42s
THEME: THEM’S THE BREAKS … the theme clues are well-known phrases that read differently just by “breaking” up the letters differently, specifically by moving the “S” from the start of the second part of the phrase to the end of the first part e.g. TRAINS POTTERS (trainspotters), POLICES TAKEOUTS (police stakeouts)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … KATY (KATE), DECRYPT (DECREPT!)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
11. Seven-card melds : CANASTAS
In the card game of canasta, a meld of seven cards or more is called a canasta. The game originated in Uruguay, apparently, with canasta being the Spanish word for “basket”.
31. S-s-s-subject of a 1918 hit song : KATY
“K-K-K-Katy” is a song telling the story of a young soldier who stutters when he talks to girls. It was recorded by Billy Murray in 1918, and again by Mel Blanc of cartoon fame, in 1949 using the voice of Porky Pig.
33. The “her” in the lyric “I met her in a club down in old Soho” : LOLA
“Lola” is a fabulous song, written Ray Davies and released by the Kinks back in 1970. Inspired by a real life incident, the lyrics tell of young man who met a young “lady” in a club, was dancing with her, and then discovered “she” was actually a transvestite. The storyline isnt very traditional, but the music is superb.
44. Greeting of respect : SALAAM
The word “salaam” is an Anglicized spelling of the Arabic word for “peace”. It can mean an act of deference, in particular a very low bow.
48. Where Haiku is : MAUI
The community of Haiku is on the northern side of the island of Maui. It is NOT the location of the Haiku Stairs (on Oahu) and it has nothing to do with the Japanese poetic form.
51. Word-processing acronym : WYSIWYG
What You See Is What You Get. The concept is that when editing a document in a WYSIWIG program, what you see as you edit is pretty close to what the final product will look like. This is pretty commonplace nowadays, but was a big deal 15-20 years ago, as I recall. Someone was pretty smart to come up with the acronym and the term, I think, robbing it from Flip Wilson who used it as a catchphrase for his drag character Geraldine on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”.
58. Carrier whose name means “skyward” : ELAL
El Al (Hebrew for “to the skies” or “skyward”) does not fly on the Sabbath, although this has been subject of controversy at times since the airline was founded in 1948.
59. Frist’s successor as Senate majority leader : REID
Democrat Harry Reid became the Senate Majority leader in 2007. Today’s a big day for him, I guess (with the healthcare vote in the House). Sadly, Harry Reid’s wife is in hospital right now, having broken her back in a car accident earlier this month. Reid took over from Bill Frist, who retired from politics in 2007.
66. One of two by Liszt : CONCERTO
If we are talking about piano concertos, there is in fact a third written by Franz Liszt. It was not published during the composer’s lifetime, with the pieces only pulled together from various sources in 1989. Apparently it is an older piece, with most of it being composed before the two published concertos, but possibly completed later. Concerto No. 3 was performed by Janina Fialkowska and the Chicago Symphony in 1990.
68. James who was C.I.A. director under Clinton : WOOLSEY
R. James Woolsey was head of the CIA from 1993 to 1995, under President Clinton. Apparently the relationship with his boss wasn’t too good, with them never having a one-on-one meeting during the whole time he held the post. Woolsey is quoted as saying “Remember the guy who in 1994 crashed his plane onto the White House lawn? That was me trying to get an appointment to see President Clinton.” Great comment!
72. Piscivorous flier : PELICAN
To go along with “carnivorous” and “herbivorous” we have “piscivorous”. A piscivorous animal is actually a carnivore, but one that lives on fish.
76. Founder of New York’s Public Theater : PAPP
Joseph Papp founded the Public Theater in 1967, when he got access to the decaying Astor Library Building on Lafayette Street in New York, for a rent of just one dollar a year from the City of New York. The theater’s most successful original production was “A Chorus Line” which opened in 1975. When Papp died in 1991, the Public Theater was renamed the Joseph Papp Public Theater.
81. Narrator in Kerouac’s “On the Road” : SAL
Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is largely autobiographical, telling the story of Sal Paradise (Jack K.) and the road trips that he and his friends took across the country in the fifties.
82. The blond Monkee : TORK
Peter Tork was the Monkee that was portrayed as the “dumb one” on “The Monkees” television show, but he was far from a dummy. In the early days of the band, session musicians played all the instruments for the records, except Tork. he got to play his guitar. The things that are kept from us …
87. International food company based in Paris : YOPLAIT
Yoplait started out as a farmer’s cooperative in France. It is the result of a 1965 merger between two coops, “Yola” and “Coplait”.
97. “The Five Orange Pips” sleuth : HOLMES
“The Five Orange Pips” is one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” short stories. Even though it is set in London, it involves the Klu Klux Klan back in the American South.
98. ___ buco : OSSO
Osso is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish “Osso Bucco”, braised veal shanks.
108. Group defeated in ’65 : CSA
The Confederated States of America conceded defeat on November 6, 1865.
119. Ingredient in furniture polishes : JAPAN WAX
Japan wax is so called because it is obtained from the berries that are native to Japan. It isn’t really a wax at all, but rather a fat.
4. “Chiquitita” group : ABBA
I am unashamed in my love of ABBA’s music. “Chiquitita” translates into “little girl”, I think, in Sapanish. It was released in English, and became a great hit. ABBA don’t speak Spanish, but they managed to put together a Spanish version anyway.
9. S-curve : OGEE
An ogee is indeed like an s-curve. Specifically is a a curve consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directs (like an S) but both ends of the curve end of parallel to each other (not necessarily true for an S).
12. Bee: Prefix : API
“Apis” is the Latin word for “bee”.
15. Big do : SOIREE
“Soir” is the French word for “evening” so a “soiree” is an “evening party”.
17. Japanese volcano : ASO
Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan, and is found on the island of Kyushu.
24. “The Open Window” writer : SAKI
Hector Hugh Munro was a British writer, actually born in Burma. He was most famous for his short stories, which he published using the pen name “Saki”. His most well-known story is “The Open Window”.
32. General on a menu : TSO
General Tso’s chicken is an American invention for the menu of Chinese Restaurants. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zontang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.
34. Coach Parseghian : ARA
Ara Parseghian coached Notre Dame football team from 1964 to 1974, a period known as “The Era of Ara“.
36. 45-degree wedge : OCTILE
An octile is another word for an “octant”. As such, it is an eight part of a circle, and hence has an angle of 45 degrees.
40. Funnywoman Sedaris : AMY
Amy Sedaris plays a character called Jerri Blank on the television series “Strangers with Candy“. She is the younger sister of the humorist and author David Sedaris. I heard David Sedaris speak in San Jose a few months ago. If you ever get the chance to listen to him, I recommend you take the opportunity. The man is very, very entertaining.
41. U.K. reference : OED
Oxford English Dictionary.
42. Solve, in British slang : SUSS OUT
We use this phrase all the time in Ireland too. It was originally police jargon, rooted in the word “suspect”. It’s relatively new jargon, only dating back to the fifties.
44. ___’ Pea : SWEE
Originally Popeye used the term “swee’pea” to address his girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye’s doorstep. Popeye adopts him and raises him, calling him “Swee’Pea”.
45. “The Clan of the Cave Bear” heroine : AYLA
“The Clan of the Cave Bear” is the first of a series of novels written by Jean Auel, set in prehistoric times. I haven’t read any myself, but they are on my reading to-do list as my wife recommends them. Ayla is a little Cro-Magnon girl that is orphaned and then adopted by a Neanderthal tribe. Sounds interesting …
49. “Some Like ___” : IT HOT
“Some Like it Hot” is such a fun movie, released in 1959, directed by Billie Wilder. The big three in the cast are of course Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. A couple of years ago, as I recall, a stage version of “Some Like It Hot” was playing in San Francisco, with Tony Curtis in the cast. This time he played the older man who was wooing the Jack Lemmon character in the movie.
55. Gold-certified debut album of Debbie Harry : KOO KOO
“Koo Koo” was indeed a debut album for Debbie Harry, but it was released in 1981 while she was still lead singer for Blondie.
61. Nickname for Björn Borg : ICE MAN
Bjorn Borg reacted very calmly under pressure on the court, earning him the nicknames “Ice Man” and the my personal favorite “Ice Borg”.
62. Big production company in 1950s-’60s TV : DESILU
As you would imagine, Desilu is contraction of the names of the company’s owners, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. However, the name was first given to the couples ranch in Chatsworth, California. Desilu the production company ended up producing some great shows, including the original “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible“.
66. Hair care brand since 1931 : CLAIROL
Clairol took off in the fifties, when it produced the first one-step hair coloring product for the home. You might remember the advertising slogan: “Does she…or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”
68. Knowledgeable on arcane details of a subject : WONKY
That’s a new definition to me. I use it to mean “groggy” or “unsteady”.
78. Bend for Baryshnikov : PLIE
And indeed, the French word for “bent” is “plie”.
86. ___ admin : SYS
System Administrator (int eh field of Information Technology).
89. “Eldorado” poet : POE
The poem “Eldorado” is about a gallant knight searching for the celebrated city of El Dorado. for some reason the title of the poem is one word “Eldorado”. I don’t know the poem, so have no idea why the difference.
95. Michael Jackson film, with “The” : WIZ
“The Wiz”, the 1975 musical, was written by Charlie Smalls, an African-American version of Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The film adaptation was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, with Jackson playing the Scarecrow. I haven’t seen it. “The Wizard of Oz” scares me. The flying monkeys creep me out. There, I have admitted it …
99. Mexican state south of Veracruz : OAXACA
Oaxaca is in the southern part of Mexico, and has a Pacific coast. The state takes the name of Oaxaca, its largest city.
108. Skeevy sort : CREEP
“Skeevy” … there’s a new word for me. It means “disgusting or nasty”. It comes from teh Italian word “schifo” meaning “disgust”.
109. Sealy competitor : SERTA
Serta was founded in 1931 by a group of 13 mattress manufacturers coming together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the company is owned by eight independent licensees, in a similar arrangement. Interesting …
112. Houlihan player on TV : SWIT
Loretta Swit started playing “Hot Lips” Houlihan on “M*A*S*H” in 1972. She and Alan Alda were the only actors who appeared in both the pilot and the series finale. Swit has written a book on needlepoint, would you believe? It’s called “A Needlepoint Scrapbook“.
114. Only man to win both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar : SHAW
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925, and his Oscar in 1938. he won the Oscar for his work on the film adaptation of his play “Pygmalion”. Of course years later, his screenplay was further adapted to create the musical and film “My Fair Lady“.
117. Its HQ are in Austria, which isn’t a member : OPEC
The OPEC cartel was formerly established in 1960, and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965.
118. ___ facto : IPSO
Ipso facto is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of particular act, as opposed to something that is a result of some subsequent event.
119. One of the Beverly Hillbillies : JED
Jed Clampett was played by Buddy Ebsen in “The Beverly Hillbillies“.
120. Lighter of the Olympic flame in Atlanta : ALI
Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta? Ali won a gold medal in the 1960 games, which he threw into the Ohio River after being refused service at a “whites only” restaurant. He was presented with a replacement medal during the 1996 Games.