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: N/A (watching “Return to Cranford” on DVD)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
16. Slide presentation? : AMEBA
An ameba is single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats or reproduces.
19. “Snow Falling on Cedars” star, 1999 : HAWKE
The film “Snow Falling on Cedars” is based on a novel by David Guterson. It tells of a Japanese-American living in Washington state, accused of murder. The trial occurs against the background of anti-Japanese sentiment immediately after WWII. Ethan Hawke plays a reporter covering the story, himself a WWII veteran who lost an arm fighting against the Japanese.
22. Shooter who co-created the zone system : ANSEL ADAMS
As an amateur photographer, I have been a big fan of the work of Ansel Adams for many years, and must have read all of his books. The zone system is a way of controlling exposure in an image, particularly when there is a high contrast in the subject. Although the technique was developed for black & white film primarily, it can even apply to digital images. In the digital world, the main technique is to expose on image for the highlights, and one or more images for the shadows. These images can then be combined giving a final image with a range of exposures.
28. Bolt : HIE
To hie is to move quickly, to bolt.
32. Candy man : REESE
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented by Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese. Peanut Butter Cups were originally called penny cups, reflecting the price at which they were sold. The inflation took over …
35. Some neckwear : CRAVATS
The cravat originated in Croatia, an accessory used with a military uniform. They were introduced to the fashion-conscious French by Croatian mercenaries enlisted into a regiment of the French army. The English placed a lot of emphasis on the knot used for the cravat, and in the period after the Battle of Waterloo the cravat came to be known as a “tie”. The French word today for what we now call a tie is still “cravate”.
42. 1970 Tony winner for Best Play : BORSTAL BOY
“Borstal Boy” is an autobiographical novel by Irish writer Brendan Behan. Borstal is a term used in the British Isles for juvenile detention. Behan was quite a character, famous for being a heavy drinker (a drinker with a writing problem, as he described himself). The drink eventually put him in an early grave, at 41 years. I used to walk to school in Dublin right past the pub where he spent many hours every day.
45. P.R. is found in it : ATL
Puerto Rico is found in the Atlantic Ocean. Puerto Rico is the Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call Puerto Rico Borinquen, the Spanish form of the original name used by the natives, Boriken.
49. “Meet John Doe” director, 1941 : CAPRA
Frank Capra’s delightful comedy-drama “Meet John Doe” stars Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Gary Cooper agreed to the role without even reading the script, as he had such respect for Capra after working with him on “Mr Deeds Goes to Town”.
1. “Three Sisters” sister : MASHA
Anton Chekhov wrote his paly “Three Sisters” using as his inspiration the lives of the three Bronte sisters and their brother. Masha is Maria Sergeyevna Kulygina, the middle sister.
6. Indian restaurant serving : NAN
Nan is a delicious flat-bread served with my favorite ethnic food. I am very partial to nan with aloo gobi, one of the most delicious of Indian dishes.
7. Mast-to-tackle rope on a ship : TYE
A tye can be a rope, or even a chain on larger vessels. The tye is used to hoist and lower spars.
9. Ostentatious accessories : STOLES
A stole is a lady’s accessory, a narrow shawl. It can be made of quite light, decorative material, or can be heavier especially if made of fur.
10. Fall cuisine? : MANNA
According to the Book of Exodus, manna was a food eaten by the Israelites as they traveled out of Egypt. It “fell” to Earth during the night six days a week, and was gathered in the morning before it had time to melt.
13. First string? : ABC
My kind of clue …
14. ___ Axton, co-composer of “Heartbreak Hotel” : MAE
Mae Axton was known as the “Queen Mother of Nashville”. It was she who made the introduction between Elvis Presley and his life-long manager Colonel Tom Parker.
22. Old Hamburger? : ALTE
Alte is the German word for an “old man”.
23. One who might celebrate Pi Day : NERD
The first three digits of the number constant pi are 3.14, so Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th, every years since 1988, when it was inaugurated at the San Francisco Exploratorium. In countries where the day is usually written before the month, Pi Day is July 22nd, reflecting the more accurate approximation of pi as 22/7. Interestingly, March 14th is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.
24. El ___ (Peruvian volcano) : MISTI
El Misti is also known as Guaga-Putina, and lies in Southern Peru near the city of Arequipa.
25. Biblical spot? : SEEST
As in the very “to see”. Thou doth see … seest thou?
26. Place for some relics : APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half dome as a roof, and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for important relics.
27. Jamie Lee Curtis’s “Freaky Friday” role : TESS
“Freaky Friday” is a well-known children’s novel, written by Mary Rodgers and published in 1972. The basic story is that one Friday, a mother and her teenage daughter have their bodies switched due to the effects of an enchated fortune cookie. Hilarity ensues! In the 2003 screen adaptation, Jamie Lee Curtis plays the mother, Dr. Tess Colman, and Lindsay Lohan the daughter, Anna.
30. Heavens: Prefix : URANO
Urano- comes from the Greek ouranos, denoting the heavens.
32. First name in raga performance : RAVI
Raga isn’t really a type of music as such, but has been described as the “tonal framework” in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar is perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and is most famous for his sitar playing.
35. Fatally poisoned royal, for short : CLEO
Cleopatra was the last of the Egyptian pharaohs to rule her country. To bolster her position with the powerful Roman Empire, Cleapatra first had a liaison with Julius Caesar, and after his assassination with his ally Marc Antony. The downfall came when the combined forces of Cleopatra and Mark Antony were defeated by forces of Octavian, putting Octavian in full control of the Roman Empire and relegating Egypt to the status of Roman province. After the defeat at the Battle of Actium, Marc Anthony committed suicide by stabbing himself with his own sword. Soon after, Cleopatra too her life by goading an asp to bite her.
38. Stains : IMBRUES
To imbrue something is to stain it, especially with blood.
41. Reinforced ring support? : OLE OLE
Another cleverly worded clue …
43. Mitchell of “Step by Step” : SASHA
“Step by Step” was a sitcom aired from 1991 to 1998, with Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers at the top of the cast roster. Sasha Mitchell played alongside Duffy in “Dallas” in the role of J. R. Ewing’s illegitimate sos, making Duffy his on air “uncle”. In “Step by Step” Mitchell played Duffy’s nephew again, this time as the character Cody Lambert.
44. Little ___ (big toy company) : TIKES
Little Tikes is an American toy company based in Hudson, Ohio. One of the company’s more famous products is the Cozy Coupe toy car, the world’s best selling car, outselling the Honda Accord and the Ford Taurus!
45. Orchard pest : APHIS
What we commonly call aphids belong to the genus “aphis”.
46. It flows through Gainsborough : TRENT
Gainsborough is town on the River Trent in Lincolnshire, England. The alleged story about King Canute demonstrating his lack of divine power by being unable to turn back the tide, that was supposed to have taken place in the tidal waters of the River Trent at Gainsborough.
47. Pads : LARDS
To pad, and to lard, are both verbs that mean to embellish or add extra material to some speech or writing.
49. Rabbit fur : CONY
Cony, or coney, is an old English word for rabbit or rabbit fur. Indeed, Coney Island in New York takes its name from the same root. The Dutch named it “Conyne Eylandt” (Rabbit Island) after the large population of rabbits that was hunted there.
50. Longfellow’s bell town : ATRI
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Sicilian’s Tale; The Bell of Atri”, a narrative poem set in the small town of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
51. It has a domestic counterpart: Abbr. : GNP
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country is the value of all the goods and services produced within a country. The Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all the goods and services produced by a country’s residents, no matter where they live. So, if you live in the US and make some money out of a foreign investment, then that would not be included in the GDP (it’s outside the borders) but would be included in the GNP (you’re a resident). On the other side of the coin, goods produced by a foreign company on US soil would be included in the GDP (it’s produced within US borders), but would not be included in GDP (the company owners aren’t US residents).
53. Suite composition: Abbr. : RMS
In Embassy Suites for example, you get two rooms (rms.)
54. Bygone bird : MOA
Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand, and are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which in turn caused the extinction of the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man.