0503-10 New York Times Crossword Answers 3 May 10

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 bill@paxient.com, 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 The Graham Norton Show on BBC America … hilarious!)
THEME: FIT TO BE TIED … the end of the theme answers are words that all go together with the word TIED
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
Across
Country Hits and Cowboy Classics11. Country singer Ritter : TEX
Tex Ritter’s real name is Woodward Maurice Ritter, and as well as singing, did a bit of acting. Of course his son did a lot of acting too, John Ritter of “Three’s Company”. After a successful career in the field of entertainment, Tex Ritter decided to have a go at politics and entered the race for the republican nomination for the US Senate in 1970. His famous name wasn’t enough to carry him though, and he was soundly defeated.

15. Vietnam’s capital : HANOI
Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state, and Saigon, the larger city, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City.

19. Provision for old age, in brief : IRA
I have to tell you, when I first came to the US from Ireland, it was pretty confusing seeing big signs along the freeway touting contributions to the IRA! Back in Ireland, that was pretty illegal (where IRA means the Irish Republican Army).

22. Excellent, in slang : GNARLY
News to me, but “gnarly” is slang for remarkable; outstanding.

Frommer's Portable Aruba30. Caribbean resort island : ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands. The ABC Islands is the nickname given to the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

31. “Sesame Street” airer : PBS
Back in 1966, the Carnegie Institute allocated money to study the use of television to help young children prepare for school. They gave an $8million grant to set up the Children’s Television Workshop with the task of creating an educational TV program for children. The program began to come together, especially after Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) got involved. The name “Sesame Street” was chosen simply because it was the “least disliked” of all names proposed just before the program was to air.

36. Five-digit postal number, informally : ZIP
ZIP codes were introduced in 1963. The acronym ZIP stands for Zone Improvement Plan, a name indicating that mail travels more efficiently when the codes are included in the postal address.

37. Slow-moving primates : LORISES
Lorises are relatively small primates, just over a foot tall at maturity. They do move slowly, and are usually called “slow lorises”. They are native to Asia, and are an endangered species. Sadly, they are hunted for their unusually large eyes, which are used in traditional medicines by locals.

Rio de Janeiro (City Guide)41. ___ de Janeiro : RIO
The name Rio de Janeiro translates into “January River”. The name reflects the discovery of the Bay on which Rio sits on January 1, 1502.

42. Canadian gas brand : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company, as it uses the initial letters of Standard and Oil (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but it is still used all over the rest of the world.

44. Former Mideast inits. : UAR
The UAR, United Arab Republic, was a union between Egypt and Syria, made in 1958 and dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.

Greatest Hits-Strauss51. Waltz composer : STRAUSS
Of the many classical composers with the Strauss name, “The Waltz King” was Johann Strauss II. Among the many beautiful waltzes he penned are “The Blue Danube”, “Tales from the Vienna Woods”. He also composed the famous operetta “Die Fledermaus”.

54. Love god : EROS
As always seem to be the case, the Greek gods Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, but Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male.

57. Drunk’s road offense, for short : DWI
In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.

Ravel: Boléro66. “Boléro” composer : RAVEL
Ravel’s Bolero is a remarkable piece of music, with a very insistent theme that just builds and builds with instruments being added to the mix as the piece develops. Famously, Bolero played a significant role in the 1979 film “10” starring Bo Derek, Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews. Great movie …

Down
2. Antibug spray : RAID
Raid insecticide has been killing bugs since 1956.

4. Gore and Green : ALS
Al Gore is the star of Oscar winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (and Vice President!). Al Green is the soul singer with hits like “Let’s Stay Together” and “You Oughta Be With Me”.

Centaur5. Like dragons and centaurs : MYTHICAL
The centaur is found in Greek mythology, a creature with the upper body of a human, and lower body of a horse.

6. Yiddish for “small town” : SHTETL
The Yiddish word for “town” is “shtot”, and so “shtetl” is the diminutive form meaning “small town”.

7. Cooking fat : LARD
Lard is pig fat. If you have to use pig fat, I’d suggest that using it to make soap is probably better than using it in food.

9. Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, for one : MONGOOSE
In Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, one of the short stories is titled “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, the story about a mongoose, the brave pet of an English family that protects them from a succession of snakes.

The Definitive Collection 1983-199712. Country star Steve : EARLE
Steve Earle is an American songwriter and performer, with a reputation as a man who has lived a hard life. His brushes with the law and drug addiction problems, have earned him the nickname “the hardcore troubadour”.

18. Actress Ward : SELA
Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. She played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show. I do know her from “House” though. She played the hospital’s lawyer, and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought.

24. Triangular sail : JIB
The jib is a triangular sail that is set at the bow of a sailboat.

25. Banned pollutants, briefly : PCBS
Polychlorinated biphenyls were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors.

Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller27. Literary Leon : URIS
Leon Uris as an American writer. His most famous books are “Exodus” and “Trinity“, two excellent stories, in my humble opinion.

43. “The Rubáiyát” poet ___ Khayyám : OMAR
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with may talents beyond writing poetry. He was also an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”.

50. Oakland paper, informally : TRIB
The Oakland Tribune is a paper published not too far from here. It was founded in 1874, originally a free publication. Famously, the Oakland Tribune stepped in after the 1906 earthquake when the newspaper offices of all the San Francisco newspapers were destroyed by fire. The Tribune, located safely on the other side of the Bay, loaned out its presses and printed a combination San Francisco paper called the Examiner-Chronicle-Call.

Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen51. Biblical queendom : SHEBA
No one knows for sure where the kingdom of Sheba was actually located. Sheba is mentioned in the Bible several times. The “Queen of Sheba” is mentioned as someone who traveled to Jerusalem to behold the fame of King Solomon.

52. It’s inserted in a mortise : TENON
One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon, basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. In a dovetail joint, the projecting tenon is not rectangular but is cut at a bias, so that when the dovetails are joined they resist being pulled apart. You’ll see dovetail joints in drawers around the house.

56. Hot times on the Riviera : ETES
Etes, the French for “summers”.

The Economist58. Timespan for The Economist : WEEK
The Economist” is a British publication, dating back to 1843. It is very successful here in North America, as the region accounts for half of the sales revenue.

62. Airport worker’s org. : TSA
The Transportation Security Administration was of course created in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks.

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