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: Didn’t finish 🙁
ANSWERS I MISSED: Quite a few in the top left
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Big wheel’s overseer : PAT SAJAK
Pat Sajak took over the hosting of “Wheel of Fortune” back in 1983, and has been doing the job ever since. He had a short run as a talk show host in 1989/1990, and has subbed quite often for Larry King and Regis Philbin.
15. Pool exhibition : AQUACADE
An aquacade is an exhibition of swimming and diving etc, usually set to music. One of the most famous examples of the genre was Billy Rose’s Aquacade that was first produced in 1937. The star line up included Johnny Weissmuller and a very young Esther Williams.
17. Hieronymus Bosch, for one : DUTCHMAN
Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch painter who worked late 15th and early 16th centuries. Perhpas his most recognized work is his triptych titled “The Garden of Earthly Delights”
20. Dark force : YIN
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin, and the bright side is the yang.
21. San Diego County beach town : DEL MAR
Del Mar translates into English as “of the sea” aptly enough. Also aptly enough, this upscale beach town started out as a purpose built resort developed for the rich and famous, back in 1885. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball had a house there for many years, as did Burt Bacharach. Skate boarder Tony Hawks grew up in Del Mar.
28. Dance move : DO-SI-DO
The term do-si-do is actually a corruption of a French phrase “dos-a-dos”, meaning back-to-back. And parenthetically, this is just the opposite to the familiar French term “vis-a-vis”, meaning face-to-face. In the dance move, the partners start facing each other, then advance past each other’s right shoulder, and then move to the right without turning so that they are now facing away from each other (back-to-back). They complete the move facing in the same directing, passing each other’s left shoulders by moving backwards until they return to the starting position.
30. Dance move : PLIE
The French word for “bent” is “plie”, and in a plie, the knees are bent.
32. Bridge builder’s grp. : ADA
The American Dental Association members at times have to build bridges between teeth.
41. Big name in auto parts : AC DELCO
Delco Electronics took its name from Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company. Often seen as ACDelco, the AC stands for Albert Champion, famous for his work to develop the spark plug.
42. Reptilian toy in “Toy Story” : REX
In the excellent film “Toy Story“, Rex is of course a tyrannosaurus, and a pretty clumsy one. He is voiced by actor Wallace Shawn, whose name is perhaps less familiar than his face. He played the neighbor on “The Cosby Show” as well as many, many other supporting roles on TV and the big screen.
43. Brand discontinued by Keebler : HI-HO
Sunshine Biscuits was an independent producer of cookies and crackers. In 1996 it was absorbed by the Keebler Company and among brands that were discontinued because of the merger, was Hi-Ho Crackers.
48. Show featuring an alien from the planet Gallifrey : DR WHO
Dr Who is an iconic BBC sci-fi television series, first broadcast in 1963, and it is still running today. As such it is the longest running sci-fi television show in the world. Dr. Who is a time traveler from the planet Gallifrey, who travels in his famous TARDIS spacecraft, that outwardly looks llike a police call box from the 1950s. TARDIS is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. The doctor “regenerates” from time to time (pun intended!) so that a new actor fits seamlessaly into the storyline. We are just being introduced to a new doctor on BBC America this month.
50. Prince in Baum’s “Rinkitink in Oz” : INGA
L. Frank Baum wrote a whole series of books about the Land of Oz, and “Rinkitink in Oz” is the tenth in that series (“The Wizard of Oz” was the first).
52. Palooka : LOUT
The word “palooka” was originally used to describe a mediocre prizefighter and dates back to the 1920s. Then there was a comic strip called “Joe Palooka”, and I guess the meanings got melded somehow.
55. Lee of Hollywood : ANG
Ang Lee was born and raised in Taiwan, and moved to the US in 1979 to finish school, eventually opting to study film. He has directed many successful yet varied genres of movie. Believe it or not, he directed the outstanding 1995 adaptation of Jame Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility“. He is more famously linked with his 2000 “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“, and 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain” for which he won an Academy Award.
57. Domain of the Normandy campaign: Abbr. : ETO
The Normandy campaign was of course fought in the European Theater of Operations in WWII under the command of “Ike“.
59. Giant in photography : FUJIFILM
Fujifilm is the world’s largest photographic and imaging company. I am a bit of a photo buff, and moved to digital a few years ago, but before that I just loved using Fuji Velvia film, especially on bright days. The saturated colors are stunning.
61. Kind of cartridge : INKJET
Inkjet is a very accurate and descriptive name for the type of printer. Printing is done by shotting fine jets of ink onto the page.
63. 1957 Oscar nominee for “A Farewell to Arms” : DESICA
Vittoria De Sica was an Italian director, an also a respected actor. In the wonderful film “A Farewell to Arms“, De Sica played Major Rinaldi, a supporting role to Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones.
64. Safari sights : WEBPAGES
Clever clue. Safari is Apples’s flagship Internet browser, mainly used on its Mac line of computers. Personally, I recommend and use Google Chrome.
2. Time’s 1986 Woman of the Year : AQUINO
Corazon Aquino was the first woman to hold the office of President of the Philippines. She led the popular revolt against the Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 which led to the restoration of democracy in the country. She came to lead the movement against Marcos upon the assassination of her husband, the most visible opponent of Marcos. She took to the role reluctantly, proclaiming herself a “plain housewife”. I lived in the Philippines for a couple of years, when Aquino’s successor Ferdinand Ramos was in power. Based on what I learned there, President Aquino transformed the country.
4. Fox’s relative : SAC
The Sacs are a group of Native Ameircans, who probably originated in the northeast along the St. Lawrence River. Over time, they migrated south and west, and after a turbulent journey ended up on reservations in Oklahoma. The Meskwaki tribe is also known as the Fox, had similar origins as the Sacs, and similar migrations. The two tribes merged into the Sac and Fox Nation.
6. Acid jazz band with the 1996 hit “Virtual Insanity” : JAMIROQUAI
Jamiroquai are an English band. The name is a portmanteau of the phrase “jam session” and “Iroquois”, the Native American tribe.
7. Major Joppolo’s town : ADANO
“A Bell for Adano” is a novel written by John Hersey, about an Italian-American US Army officer, Major Joppolo, who found a replacement for the town’s bell stolen by the fascists. It was made into a film in 1945, the same year the novel won a Pulitzer.
8. Boy toy surnamed Carson : KEN
Barbie’s counterpart doll is Ken, and Ken’s family name is Carson. Barbie’s full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts.
12. Japanese tourist city on Kyushu : MIYAZAKI
Unlike so many cities in Japan, Miyazaki is relatively young, being founded in 1924.
14. Bygone union member: Abbr. : SSR
The Soviet Socialist Republics were part of the USSR.
23. Delphic figure : SIBYL
The word, and name, sibyl, comes from the Greek word “sibylla” meaning “prophetess”. There were many sibyls, but most famous is probably the Delphic Sybil.
29. “___ Juvante” (Monaco’s motto) : DEO
Deo Juvante is Latin for “with god’s help”. But the independent principality of Monaco also needs the help of France, as France is responsible for its defense!
31. Classic caper film, with “The” : ITALIAN JOB
The original 1969 “The Italian job” was great in its day, and was most notable for hits great car chase in the old Mini Cooper cars. Michael Caine played a great villain too. But I must say, the 2003 remake is an excellent movie too.
35. “Prosit!” relative : SKOAL
Prosit is a German toast, meaning “may it benefit”. Skoal is a Scandinavian toast, derived from the Danish and Norwegian words for a drinking cup.
36. Toward l’Arctique : NORD
That would be French, moving north towards the Arctic.
39. Screen abbr. : LCD
Liquid Crystal Displays are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and flat panel computer screens. They basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube screens, the old television technology.
47. Plant pores : STOMAS
Stomata (the usual plural of stoma, not “stomas”) are pores found under almost every leaf, clearly visible under a simple microscope. The pores take in air through the stomata, rich in carbon dioxide. Through the process of photosynthesis, the plants generate oxygen, which is released into the air though the same stomata.
49. Certain pilgrim : HADJI
Hadji is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The word Hadji actually translates into English as “pilgrim”.
54. Skippy’s most famous role : ASTA
Asta was the wonderful little dog in the superb movie “The Thin Man” starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called “Skippy”. Skippy was also the dog in “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of “The Thin Man” series of films.
56. Hitch : GIMP
Both hitch and gimp are words for a limp or a limping gait.
60. Org. concerned with touchdowns : FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration is very concerned with touchdowns, and takeoffs too …