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: N/A (listening to the Healthcare Reform Debate)
THEME: Anagrams of LADE e.g. let’s make a DEAL, over Hill and dale & take over the LEAD
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. J.F.K.’s predecessor : DDE
President Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower, but by the time he made it to the White House, he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower. Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when “Ike” enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.
4. Thesaurus creator : ROGET
Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. He was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine to combat depression, a condition he suffered with for most of his life. He published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.
14. Film critic Reed : REX
Rex Reed used to be the co-host of the television show “At the Movies”, which used to be chaired by Siskel & Ebert. Reed shared the limelight with Bill Harris.
29. “Hel-l-lp!” : SOS
The combination of three dots, three dashes, three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress signal in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS, although there is no pause between the letters, so this is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also only mnemonics, introduced after the Morse signal was adopted.
30. Dashing actor Flynn : ERROL
Errol Flynn was born 1909 in Tasmania, Australia, where he was raised. In his twenties he lived in the UK, where he pursues his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the is latter film he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. His non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.
33. Horse color : SORREL
The horse color sorrel is a copper-red, although it is often used these days to describe any horse with chestnut coloring.
38. Last words of “Green Eggs and Ham” : SAM I AM
You know, I probably should read a Dr. Seuss book some day. They weren’t big where I grew up. I understand that the character called Sam in the book, is also known as “Sam-I-Am”.
41. Passover meal : SEDER
The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish passover holiday.
42. Caboodle’s partner : KIT
The idiomatic expression is “the whole kit and caboodle”. Caboodle (sometimes spelled “kaboodle”) is an informal term for a bunch of people, or sometimes the “the whole lot”.
45. Sleepless princess’ bane : PEA
Although “The Princess and the Pea” is a fairy tale from the pen of the great Hans Christian Andersen, he actually heard the basis of the tale as a child, possibly from Swedish (and not Danish) folklore.
49. River of Arles : RHONE
I had the privilege to live a short car ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although it has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a tremendous influence over the cities design. It has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place that Vincent van Gogh often visited, and where he painted his famous “Cafe Terrace at Night” and other masterpieces.
51. Richard’s partner in the Carpenters : KAREN
Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing them in high school, as a member of the high school band. After she left school, she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time. Sadly, of course, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.
60. Rice field : PADDY
A paddy field is the flooded piece of land used to grow rice. The water reduces competition from weeds allowing the rice to thrive. The word “paddy” is an anglicized version of the word “padi”, the Malay name for the rice plant.
2. Danny of “Throw Momma From the Train” : DEVITO
The 1987 “Throw Momma from the Train” is a comedy remake of the superb 1951 Hitchcock thriller “Strangers on a Train“. Danny DeVito co-stars with Billy Crystal in the comedy, and there is even a cameo from Oprah Winfrey.
5. Kabuki sash : OBI
An obi is a sash worn in from dress in Japan, both by men and women, although there tend to be many different ornate versions for women.
7. Night school subj. : ESL
English as Second Language (ESL) can also be called English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
8. Buddy Holly’s “___ Be the Day” : THAT’LL
Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison composed “That’ll Be the Day” after they saw the western “The Searchers” in a movie theater. An oft-repeated line by John Wayne in the film is “That’ll Be the Day”. And if you’ve never heard it, you should check out the cover version of the song by the Quarrymen made in 1958. It was the first track ever recorded by the group, who later changed their name to … the Beatles.
9. “The Treasure of the Sierra ___” : MADRE
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” was a very successful John Huston film released in 1948, starring Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt and Walter Huston (John Huston’s father). The movie is based on the 1927 novel by B. Traven.
11. Scattering of an ethnic group : DIASPORA
Diaspora is a Greek word meaning “a scattering of seeds”. I guess I’m one of those seeds …
12. Internet connection faster than dial-up : DSL
DSL originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.
23. Former Texas senator Phil : GRAMM
Phil Gramm started his life in Congress as a Democratic Representative, and last served as a Republican Senator.
24. “___ la Douce” : IRMA
“Irma la Douce” is a wonderful Billy Wilder movie released in 1963. It stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Lemmon plays a maligned Parisian policeman, and MacLaine is the popular prostitute Irma la Douce (literally “Irma the Sweet”). Don’t let the adult themes throw you, it’s a very entertaining movie.
27. Pitcher Hershiser : OREL
Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. He now lies in Las Vegas, and when he isn’t working for ESPN, he is apparently at the poker tables at least five times a week.
28. ___ Aviv : TEL
The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chose in 1910.
30. “Born Free” lioness : ELSA
Elsa’s life story was told by game warden Joy Adamson, who had a very close relationship with the lioness since she was orphaned as a young cub. Adamson wrote the book “Born Free” about Elsa, and then “Living Free” which told the story of Elsa and her three lion cubs. In the 1966 film “Born Free” Virginia McKenna played Joy Adamson.
31. Title before Rabbit or Fox : BR’ER
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. His stories are adaptations of African American folk tales that he collected across the American South.
34. German/Polish border river : ODER
The Oder rises in the Czech Republic, and forms just over a hundred miles of the border between Germany and Poland.
42. N.B.A.’s ___ Abdul-Jabbar : KAREEM
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s name at birth was Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor. He changed his name when he converted to Islam.
55. Energy inits. in the South : TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority has to be one of America’s great success stories when it comes to economic development. Created in 1933, the TVA spearheaded economic development in the Tennessee Valley at the height of the Great Depression. Central to the success was the federally funded construction of flood control and electricity generation facilities.