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: 7m 53s
THEME: SOAPS … all the theme answers end with the brand names of SOAPS i.e. (ROTARY) DIAL, (GOLD) COAST, (FLESH) TONE, (TURTLE) DOVE
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Deep-six : TOSS
The term “deep six” is of course nautical in origin. The actual expression from the days of taking soundings with a lead weight on a line would have been “by the deep six” meaning that the depth was 6 fathoms, or 36 feet. If something is deep sixed, it is deemed to be sunk so deeply it can’t be recovered.
5. Crosswise, on deck : ABEAM
The beam is the widest part of a vessel, and something pointed out as lying abeam is something that it is 90 degrees from a line through the bow and the stern, in other words, off to the right or the left.
15. Martini’s partner in wine : ROSSI
The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams.
16. Turkish title of old : AGHA
An aga, or agha, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.
20. Keypad forerunner : ROTARY DIAL
The first patent for a rotary dial mechanism for a phone was granted in 1898, and the familiar rotary dial phones (with holes for the finger) was introduced by the Bell System in 1919. This form of dialing was called “pulse dialing”. When you dialed the number 5 say, the dial would rotate back to the start position opening and closing electrical contacts five times, sending five pulses over the telephone line. I used to love rotary dial phones when I was a kid. My grandfather was a telephone engineer, and he showed me how to “tap out” the pulses on the “hook” at the top of a pay phone. I was able to make free calls that way. He definitely contributed to the corruption of a minor …
22. Safecracker : YEGG
A yegg is a slang word for a burglar, and in particular a safe-cracker. The origin of the term appears to be unknown.
23. They, in Thiers : ILS
The French word for “they”, referring to masculine nouns is “ils”. Thiers is a commune right in the center of France, in Auvergne. It is famous for its production of knives and cutlery.
32. Seat of Marion County, Fla. : OCALA
Thoroughbred horse farming in Florida started in Ocala, back in 1943. Some folks today call Ocala the “Horse Capital of the World”, but I bet that’s disputed by others …
33. Ghana, once : GOLD COAST
The name “Ghana” means “warrior king” in the local language. The British established the colony they called Gold Coast in 1874, part of the scramble by Europeans to settle as much of Africa as they could. Right next door to the former British colony called Gold Coast, was the French “protectorate”, the Ivory Coast. One of Ghana’s most famous sons is Kofi Annan, the diplomat that served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007.
39. Afternoon fare … or a hint to the ends of 20-, 33-, 41- and 52-Across : SOAPS
Soap operas take their name of course, from the days of radio, when soap manufacturers would sponsor or produce daytime radio dramas.
41. Body suit shade, perhaps : FLESH TONE
I’d never heard of the Tone brand of soap, I must admit. It’s made by the same folks that make Dial.
43. Community of plant and animal life : BIOME
I think that biome is really another word for an ecosystem.
45. Glossy fabric : SATEEN
Sateen and satin are two different things (like I’d known the difference!). Sateen is a cotton fabric, with a weave that is “four over, one under” meaning that most of the threads come to the surface giving it a softer feel.
50. Mineo of “Exodus” : SAL
Sal Mineo‘s most famous role was that of John “Plate” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. “Exodus” is the 1960 film of the Leon Uris novel of the same name. Paul Newman heads the cast, and Sal Mineo had a supporting role playing Dov Landau. Sadly, Sal Mineo was murdered in in 1976, when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment, and stabbed through the heart. An arrest was made, and the murderer apparently had no idea who his victim was, and had committed a number of robberies in the area.
60. Stiller’s partner in comedy : MEARA
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara are a husband and wife comedy duo, and parents of Ben Stiller (and Amy Stiller). Stiller and Meara met while appearing with the Compass Players (later to become Second City), and have been married since 1954.
67. Broadway honor : TONY
The full name for the Tony Award is the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre. Antoinette Perry was an American actress and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, one of the organizations that selects the award recipients.
1. Peter the Great, e.g. : 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.
2. Kent State locale : OHIO
Kent State University’s main campus is located in Kent, Ohio, one of eight campuses located around northeast Ohio. Kent State will forever be associated with the student activism and opposition to the Vietnam War in the late sixties and early seventies. The fateful day was May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students, killing four protesters and wounding nine.
4. ___ beans (miso ingredients) : SOYA
What are known as soybeans here in the US are called soya beans in most other countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”. Miso is the name of the seasoning that makes the delicious miso soup. Basic miso seasoning is made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a fungus, producing a paste. The paste can be added to stock to make miso soup, or perhaps to tofu.
7. Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI
Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Rickie Valens, and his half-brother, Bob Morales (played by Esai Morales).
8. Terrier in whodunits : ASTA
Asta was the wonderful little dog in the superb movie “The Thin Man” starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called “Skippy”. Skippy was also the dog in “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of “The Thin Man” series of films.
10. Lecherous figure of Greek myth : SATYR
The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are often the “rude” subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases.
21. Meter maid of song : RITA
“Lovely Rita” is a Beatles song on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. When the album was released in 1967, the term “meter maid” wasn’t used in the UK, although it was a slang term used in the US. Apparently the inspiration for the song was McCartney getting a parking ticket one day outside the Abbey Road Studios. He accepted the ticket with good grace, from the warden named Meta Davis. McCartney felt that Meta “looked like a Rita”, so that was the name she was given in the song.
25. Onetime Jeep mfr. : AMC
The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.
29. Cutlass or 88 : OLDS
Oldsmobile introduced the Cutlass in 1961, and used the name on a succession of models right up to 1999. The Oldsmobile 88 was a bigger car, also produced until 1999, but it was introduced much earlier, in 1949.
31. Mont Blanc, par exemple : ALPE
Mont Blanc, is the highest mountain in the Alps (or Alpes, in French). The name Mont Blanc translates into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does indeed fall within Italian territory.
37. “That was ___ …” : THEN
“That Was Then, This Is Now” is a novel by S. E. Hinton, published in 1971, and a film adaptation of the same name released in 1985 starring Emilio Estevez.
42. “Def Comedy Jam” channel : HBO
“Def Comedy Jam” ran on HBO from 1992-97, and returned in 2006. I think it is a stand-up comedy show.
47. Jewish holiday when the book of Esther is read : PURIM
Purim is a Jewish festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to wipe them out by Haman the Agagite, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.
48. Cousin of a giraffe : OKAPI
The okapi is closely related to the giraffe, although it does have markings on its legs and haunches that resemble those of a zebra. It is native to the Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
50. Fine fiddle, for short : STRAD
Generations of the Stradivari family produced violins, the most famous of which were constructed by Antonio Stradivari.
53. River to the Ubangi : UELE
The Uele River is a tributary to the Ubangi River, and is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Uele is the 5th longest river in Africa.
56. Capital on a fjord : OSLO
Oslo is an ancient city, founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624, and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV. He named the new city Christiana. In 1877, there was an official change of the name to Kristiana, and then more recently, only in 1925, the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have gone full circle, for now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, it has apparently been renamed Christiana.
57. Way to a man’s heart? : VEIN
Clever clue …