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. 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: 26m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Mimeographs, e.g. : DUPLICATORS
A mimeograph is a cheap printing press that applies ink to the paper through a stencil wrapped around a rotating drum. Mimeographs are still around, but have largely been replaced by offset printers and photocopiers.
16. Dentiform : tooth :: pisiform : ___ : PEA
The Latin for “pea” is pisum, so pisiform means resembling a pea in shape and size. In fact, there is a small, pea-shaped bone in the wrist called the pisiform bone.
17. 1970s woe : STAGFLATION
Stagflation is a portmanteau word, as on might expect, formed from the words stagnation and inflation. Stagflation is the condition when a country’s inflation rate is high, and at the same time unemployment is high (i.e. the economy is stagnating). So our recent economic woes wouldn’t fall into the category of stagflation, because even though the unemployment rate has climbed (the economy is stagnating), inflation remains under control and low.
19. Alliterative pro team name : TENNESSEE TITANS
The Tennessee Titans are a football team based in Nashville. The team relocated to Nashville from Houston in 1997, and was called the Tennessee Oilers for two seasons, before switching to the Titans name.
22. Actress Balsam who was once married to George Clooney : TALIA
Talia Balsam is an American actress with a long list of relatively minor roles in famous television shows. I know her from the great AMC series “Mad Men” in which she plays Mona Sterling, the wife of one of the lead characters, Roger Sterling. Roger Sterling is played by John Slattery, Talia Balsam’s husband in real life. She was indeed married to George Clooney, from 1989-93, after which marriage Clooney has said that he will never marry again!
23. Western wear : STETSONS
Stetson is a brand name of hat, manufactured by John B. Stetson Company of St. Joseph, Missouri. The so called “cowboy hat” that Stetson pioneered was such a success for the company that it became the largest hat maker in the world, producing over 3.3 million hats per year.
27. “___ vile” (epithet for Falstaff) : VARLET
Sir John Falstaff is the lead character in Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (as well as two other of his plays). He is a self-promoting, obese and cowardly man, and is referred to as a “varlet vile” by Pistol, one of his “followers”.
28. Van Gogh’s “Portrait of ___ Tanguy” : PERE
Julien “Pere” Tanquy ran a paint store in Paris, a place where many artists used to hang their paintings (including Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh). Pere is the French for “father”, and Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Pere Tanguy” today hangs in the Rodin Museum in Paris.
29. Nielsen count : VIEWERS
Arthur Nielsen founded his Nielsen Media Research company to track brand advertising. He quickly moved into market analysis of radio audiences in the thirties, and today the company is famous for tracking television audiences. I remember watching the last episode of the TV series “Becker”, in which Ted Danson played a doctor. Given that the show had been ordered off the air, there’s a great line when Becker asks for the chart of a patent called “Nielsen”. He looks at the lab results and announces “I don’t know what everyone is talking about … these numbers aren’t so bad!” Good stuff …
36. Possible causes of sleep apnea : TONSILS
Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possible due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.
37. Runner’s place : BASE
In baseball, the runner moves from base to base.
41. Song involving an 8-Down, in part : ALOUETTE
The French-Canadian children’s song starts, “Alouette, gentille alouette …” Alouette is the French word for a bird, the lark. The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark he/she will pluck of the lark’s head (TETE), nose, eyes, wings and tail.
44. Place for pick-ups : NAPE
Some animals pick up their young by the nape of the neck.
52. Receiver of contributions, for short : IRA
Nice clue … 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).
57. Ingredients in everything bagels : SESAME SEEDS
An “everything” bagel has “everything on it”, a variety of traditional seasonings like poppy seeds, salt, and sesame seeds.
1. “After whom ___ thou pursue?”: 1 Samuel : DOST
The full text of the verse is: “After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.”
3. Snack brand : PLANTERS
Planters is the company with the Mr. Peanut icon. Mr. Peanut was the invention of a first grader called Antonion Gentile, a young man who won a design contest in 1916. Remarkable legacy, I’d say …
4. Low-grade coal : LIGNITE
When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because what can form then is peat. If the peat bogs get covered over with sedimentary matter, then over time, pressure and heat can dry it out the peat forming a soft brown material called lignite. Given further heat and pressure, and time, this lignite coverts to coal. So, lignite is a material with characteristics between peat and coal, and if often called “brown coal”.
6. Locations for Pluto, sometimes : CELS
Pluto is Mickey Mouse’s pet dog, as well as a star in his own right. Pluto is an unusual Disney character in that he is portrayed basically as a dog, as opposed to a “humanized” version of a dog, as the other Disney characters.
7. Part of a famous conjugation : AMAS
Amo, amas, amat … in Latin, I love, you love, he/she loves …
8. Something plucked in 41-Across : TETE
See the gruesome tale in the comments about ALOUETTE in 41-across.
9. Slobbery cartoon character : ODIE
Odie is Garfield’s best friend, and a slobbery beagle.
20. Clippers’ skippers, e.g. : TARS
A Jack Tar was a seaman at the height of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to the sailors’ various uses of tar in those days, including waterproofing of their clothes, and using tar in their hair to slick down their ponytails.
25. Edges : NIPS
I guess to “nip” is to edge out, to beat by a small margin.
26. Alternative to grayscale : SEPIA
Grayscale is the equivalent of a black-and-white image in the digital world. Sepia is that lovely rich brown-grey color so common in old photographs. The name sepia comes from the pigment derived from the ink sac of the cuttle fish, with “sepia” being the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish. The sepia tone of old photographs is not a result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result a deliberate preservation process with converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Sepia toned prints can last in excess of 150 years.
27. It’s left in a book : VERSO
The left and right pages of a book or magazine are known in publishing circles as recto and verso. Recto comes from the Latin for “right”, and verso comes from the Latin word for “turned”. The idea is that the left side of the page is the “reverse” of the right side.
33. Item in Commissioner Gordon’s office : BATPHONE
The Batphone was introduced in the Batman comic books before gaining notoriety in the Batman television series of the sixties. The Batphone was Commissioner Gordon’s secure line to Batman. The term is used quite a bit now in business, describing a private telephone number that is handled as a priority above the regular lines.
35. Simple top : TEE
A tee-shirt …
36. Dash part : TACH
The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. The “tach” measures the Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) of the engine, and is found on the dashboard of a car.
37. Epithet for the mouse in “To a Mouse” : BEASTIE
The infamous Robert Burns poem, “To a Mouse” describes the little creature as a “wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie”. There’s another, oft-quoted line later in the poem “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley.” John Steinbeck used this as inspiration for the title of his 1937 novel “Of Mice and Men”.
38. Do lines? : BRAIDS
Lines in a(hair)do, might be braids.
39. Jo’s suitor in “Little Women” : LAURIE
Theodore Laurence (known as “Laurie”) is the next-door neighbor to the March family (of “little women”). Laurie falls in love with Jo, and asks for her hand in marriage, only to be refused.
42. Quarterback nicknamed the Golden Arm : UNITAS
Johnny Unitas was nicknamed “the Golden Arm” as well as “Johnny U”. He played in the fifties through the seventies, mainly for the Baltimore Colts. He holds the record for throwing touchdown passes in consecutive games (47 games).
46. ___ Fonck, top Allied fighter ace of W.W. I : RENE
At the end of WWI, of all the allied nations, Rene Fonck was the top flying ace. He was credited with 75 victories.
48. Optic layer : UVEA
The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball.
51. “Chariots of Fire” beat it for Best Picture : REDS
“Reds” lost out for best picture, but director “Warren Beatty” did win for Best Director. Two great films, but I’d watch “Chariots of Fire” over “Reds”.