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: 6m 22s
THEME: Board Games (PASTIMES) … The last word of each of the theme answers is a board game i.e. SORRY!, CLUE and RISK.
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. As a result : ERGO
Ergo is the Latin word for “therefore”, “as a result”.
10. Furry creature allied with Luke Skywalker and the Jedi knights : EWOK
The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars episode VI: Return of the Jedi“. They’re the cute and cuddly guys that look like teddy bears.
15. Deadly virus : EBOLA
The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name comes from the site of the first known outbreak of the disease, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
16. Caster of spells : MAGE
Mage is an archaic word for a magician.
17. “My deepest apologies” : I’M TERRIBLY SORRY
Sorry! is a classic board game, with a long and respected history. The original version of the game dates back to about 500 BC in ancient India, where it was called pachisi. In this version, the maximum moves a player can make in one turn is 25, giving the game its name, as “pachis” is the Hindi word for 25. The first real American adaptation of the game was called Parcheesi, a game with which all American kids are familiar. The game was marketed as Ludo in my part of the world when I was growing up. The more contemporary version called Sorry! originated in the UK, with a patent being filed for Sorry! in 1929, and the game being introduced in 1934. It’s the simplest of games, and I think it is great family fun.
21. Coffee orders with foamy tops : LATTES
The name latte is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning coffee (and) milk. Note that in the original spelling of latte, the Italian word for mil, there is no accent over the last “e”, an error that we see a lot, perhaps suggesting that the word is French. In fact the French equivalent of a “latte” is “cafe au lait”.
22. Actress Gardner and others : AVAS
Ava Gardner is perhaps notable not only for her association with some big movies, but also for her association with some big names when it came to the men in her life. In the world of film, she appeared in the likes of “Mogambo” (1953), “On the Beach” (1959), “The Night of the Iguana” (1964) and “Earthquake” (1974). The men in her life included husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra. After her marriages had failed (and perhaps before!) she had long term relationship with Howard Hughes, as well bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin whom she met through her friend Ernest Hemingway.
28. Car navigational aid, for short : GPS
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The US military have been working on the satellite technology used in GPS since the days of the first Russian satellite in space, Sputnik. The modern GPS system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan, because he directed that GPS be made available to the public for the common good. He was moved to this after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, when it accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace.
34. “No idea” : I HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland, as outside the US Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was introduced in 1949 by th4e famous British board game manufacturer, Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), the weapons are a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays.
38. Elvis ___ Presley : ARON
Elvis Aron Presley was the younger of two identical twins. is brother was stillborn, delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, though born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.
52. “Let’s take that gamble” : IT’S WORTH THE RISK
Risk is another fabulous board game, that was first released in France in 1957. The game was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. The original French version was called “La Conquete du Monde” (The Conquest of the World). A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house.
54. And others: Abbr. : ET AL
Et alii is the equivalent of et cetera, with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names.
55. “Live Free ___” (New Hampshire motto) : OR DIE
“Live free or die” has to the most infamous of all the state mottos. It was composed by a General John Stark in 1809, with the full quotation being “Live free of die: Death is not the worst of evils”.
57. “Star ___,” biggest movie of 1977 : WARS
The “Star Wars” franchise of movies ranks number three on the list of highest earning franchises. “James Bond” comes in at number one, and “Harry Potter” at number two.
3. Golden ___ Bridge : GATE
The Golden Gate is the opening of San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. The bridge that spans the Golden Gate was opened in 1937, and at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the most eerie things about the Golden Gate Bridge is that is the most popular place in the whole world to commit suicide. Steps have been taken to reduce the number of suicides, including suicide hotline telephones placed along the walkway, but still there is one suicide every two weeks on average throughout the year. There are plans to place a purpose built net below the bridge as a deterrent.
6. Theater awards : OBIES
The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. They are given annually, and decided by “The Village Voice” newspaper.
23. Golden Fleece pursuer : JASON
Jason is a hero from Greek mythology, most noted for leading the quest for the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram. For his quest, Jason assembles a group of heroes who were given the name Argonauts, as they journeyed on the ship called the “Argo”.
26. Author Zora ___ Hurston : NEALE
Zora Neal Hurston was an American author, most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God“. Like the author, the main character in the novel is an African American woman, a part played by Halle Berry in a television movie adaption that first aired in 2005.
36. “___ Fideles” : ADESTE
The lovely hymn “Adeste Fideles” was written by one John Francis Wade in the the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time.
41. BlackBerry rival : TREO
The Treo is a smartphone that was originally developed by a company called Handspring. Handspring was bought by Palm Inc, and Palm continues to develop and sell the Treo line, although the 2009 Palm Pre seems to be pushing aside the Treo brand name.
46. Jazzy James : ETTA
Etta James is best known for her rendition of “At Last“. Sadly, she discloses in her autobiography, Etta James has lived a life that has been ravaged by drug addiction, leading to numerous legal and health problems.
47. Peter the Great, for one : TSAR
Peter the Great was perhaps the most successful of the Romanov tsars, famous for modernizing Russia and expanding the country’s sphere of influence, creating the Russian Empire. He ruled from 1682 until his death in 1725.
48. Highest degrees : PHDS
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosphiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”.
49. They’re often double-clicked : MICE
The first computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Englebert. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money out of his amazing invention.
50. “Cómo ___ usted?” : ESTA
Spanish for “how are you?”
51. 32-card game : SKAT
When I was a teenager in Ireland, I had a friend with a German father. The father taught us the game of Skat, and what a great game it was. It originated in Germany in the 1800s and is to this day the most popular game in the country. I haven’t played it in decades.