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: 24m 50s
THEME: Homonyms … the theme answers are homonyms of well-known phrases, with the “-er” sound spelled in two different ways e.g. MYNAH LEAGUE (minor league), WAYNE MANNA (Wayne Manor)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
14. The Ponte Santa Trinita spans it : ARNO
The Ponte Santa Trinita (Holy Trinity Bridge) spans the Arno in Florence. It neighbors the more famous Pente Vecchio bridge, which lies just east of the Santa Trinita bridge. The bridge was destroyed in 1944 by the Germans as they retreated from Florence. In 1958, the original stones were recovered from the depths of the Arno, and used to reconstruct the bridge. Remarkable …
16. “Lullaby,” for one : ARIA
“The Consul” is an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti. The “Lullaby” from Act II of “The Consul” is one of the highlights of the work, an emotional and moving interlude. Menotti won the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1950 for “The Consul”.
17. Areas in northern forests? : TAIGA WOODS
The word “taiga” comes from Mongolian, and is the name of ecosystem or biome that exists in northern regions around the world, largely covered in coniferous forests. Taiga is sometimes used interchangeably with Boreal Forest.
21. Amos of “Amos ‘n’ Andy” : JONES
“Amos ‘n’ Andy” was originally a radio sitcom that was on the air from the twenties right up to the fifties. It was about Amos Jones and Andy Brown, two farm workers from outside Atlanta, who head to Chicago to make good for themselves. They eventually start up the Fresh Air Taxi Company. The show was somewhat groundbreaking for the time, as it depicted African Americans for the first time in positions of influence as business owners. There was a TV adaptation that aired from 1951 to 1953, and in syndication right up to 1966. I have never seen/heard the show, but it sounds like it is a classic …
22. ISP with a butterfly logo : MSN
The Microsoft Network.
23. Chatty bird alliance? : MYNAH LEAGUE
30. “Mission: Impossible” figure : SPY
We all remember Jim Phelps (played by Peter Graves), the leader of the Impossible Missions Force team in the great television series. However, in season one, the team was led by a Dan Briggs (played by Steven Hill). Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin wrote the very, very recognizable theme music (and indeed the themes for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E”, “Mannix” and “Starsky and Hutch” among others).
31. Capital on the Dnieper : KIEV
Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine, and a beautiful city from what I heard from friends that have visited. The Dnieper River rises in Russia, and travels through Belarus and Ukraine to empty into the Black Sea.
35. Time when laboratories came into vogue? : EXPERIMENTAL ERA
40. “Celeste Aida” singer : RADAMES
“Aida” is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verde, actually based on a scenario written by a French Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette, who also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera opened in 1871, first playing in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander that falls in love with her, and then, of course, complications arise! “Celeste Aida” translates to “Heavenly Aida”.
41. Commander, in Arabic : EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
45. Late stand-up comic Richard : JENI
Stand up comic Richard Jeni‘s was cut all too short, by his own hand, in 2007.
47. Witch’s hamper? : WICCA BASKET
Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon, a neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.
51. Lightning org. : NHL
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the National Hockey League.
52. Co-producer of the film “Precious” : OPRAH
“Precious” is the 2009 screen adaptation of the 1996 novel “Push” written by Sapphire. It certainly has been very successful, helped by winning numerous awards at its opening in various film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes. It was also helped with promotional assistance from Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, two of the co-producers. Included in the cast is Mariah Carey who plays the social worker for “Precious”, the title character.
53. Wading bird with an upcurved bill : AVOCET
The avocet is found in warm climates, usually in saline wetlands where it uses its upcurved bill to sweep from side-to-side in water searching for aquatic insects on which it feeds.
55. R&B singer Shuggie ___ : OTIS
Shuggie Otis is the son of R7B musician Johnny Otis.
56. Heavenly food for the Duke? : WAYNE MANNA
Wayne Manor is where Bruce Wayne lives, the alter-ego of Batman. It is a huge manor that lies just outside Gotham City. Looking after the house is the Wayne family servant, Alfred. Beneath the grounds of the manor is an extensive cave system where Bruce Wayne put together his Batcave. Access is to the cave is via a staircase behind a hidden door. The door is opened by moving the hands of a non-functioning grandfather clock to 10:47, the time at which Wayne’s parents were murdered. It is the murder of his parents that sets Bruce off on his journey of crime fighting.
60. Beverage with a lizard logo : SOBE
The brand SoBe can be found on teas, juices and bottled waters. SoBe is an abbreviation for South Beach, the neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida.
3. One who labors for labor’s sake? : UNION REP
Wonderfully worded clue …
5. Three-term governor of New York : DEWEY
As well as being three-term governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey twice ran as Republican candidate for president, in 1944 and 1948, being defeated both times. In 1944 he lost against incumbent President Roosevelt, and in 1948 he lost to incumbent President Truman, although the Chicago Tribune got that one wrong and ran that famous headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN“. Dewey didn’t run for president in 1952, but did help General Eisenhower get the nomination, and ultimately secure the White House. If you drive along the New York State Thruway, you’ll see Dewey’s name a lot, as the highway is named in his honor.
6. Nut with a cupule : ACORN
A cupule is that “cup” on the base of the acorn, in which the nut sits.
10. Margaret Mead’s “Coming of Age in ___” : SAMOA
“Coming of Age in Samoa” sounds like a fascinating book. It was written by American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead and published in 1928. In it she examines the behavior of youths in Samoa, making some comparisons with youths in America. One major observation was the smooth transition made from childhood to adulthood of Samoan girls, compared to the more troublesome histories observed in the US.
13. Title admiral in a Paul and Linda McCartney hit : HALSEY
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” was a number one hit for Paul and Linda McCartney in 1971. Uncle Albert was Paul’s own uncle, and Admiral Halsey was the American William “Bull” Halsey.
21. Beetle’s cousin? : JETTA
The Beetle and Jetta are two models produced by Volkswagen. The name Jetta is one in a series of names used by Jetta related to winds. For example Jetta (from German for “jet stream””, Passat (from German for “trade wind”). The Beetle was the official name of the model released in the US, but it was usually referred to as a “bug” over here.
24. Temple of ___, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World : ARTEMIS
The Temple of Artemis, also known as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple locates at Ephesus, now in modern Turkey. Artemis was a Greek goddess, the twin of Apollo. , and she was depicted a virginal huntress.
25. Poet whose works were set to music by Schumann, Strauss and Brahms : HEINE
Heinrich Heine was a German romantic poet, noted for his poetry, often through the derivative lieder composed especially by Robert Schumann. Heine died in 1856, after spending the last eight years of his life bedridden. I like his last words … “God will forgive me. It’s his job.”
26. Some college srs. take them : LSATS
The Law School Admissions Test.
32. Song that people flip for? : SIDE B
Nice clue …
33. Big name on the range? : AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa.
36. Howdah occupant, maybe : RAJAH
A howdah is that carriage that sits on the back of an elephant (and is also seen on the back of camels).
39. Kazakh/Uzbek ___ Sea : ARAL
The Aral Sea is another great example of how man can have a devastating effect on the environment. In early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …
42. Sneaker symbol : SWOOSH
I remember seeing Carolyn Davidson on the television show “I’ve Got a Secret”. She created the Nike “swoosh” back in 1971 when she was a design student at Portland State. She did it as freelance work for Blue Ribbon Sports, a local company introducing a new line of athletic footwear. The “swoosh” is taken from the wing of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Years later, BRS changed its name to Nike, so I suppose the company should be grateful to Carolyn for both the great design, and a great company name.
46. Unit proposed by Leucippus : ATOM
Leucippus lived in the 5th century BC in ancient Greece. He founded the Atomist Movement. The atomists believed that the world was composed of just atoms and voids, and that the atom was an indestructible particle. How wrong they were …
49. “Winnie-the-Pooh” character : KANGA
Kanga is a friend of Winnie-the-Pooh, a kangaroo. She is the mother of Roo, who appears more frequently in the storyline.
54. Crop farmer of Genesis : CAIN
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Bible. It also features in the Qur’an, where the brothers are named Kabil and Habil.
58. The dark side : 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.
59. Soldier ___ : ANT
In an ant colony, soldier ants differ from worker ants in that they have stringer mandibles and are hence more suitable for fighting. However, when they aren’t fighting, that basically carry out the same functions as the workers.