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: 6m 25s
THEME: BURGER FIXINGS … The circled squares spell out the ingredients for a burger, in order i.e. starting from the bottom: BUN, BURGER, CHEESE, PICKLE, TOMATO, BUN
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
5. U.C.L.A. player : BRUIN
The UCLA Bruin mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, mascots that have evolved over the years. There were “mean” mascots, that weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” versions at the games.
14. Margarine : OLEO
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, something that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. A French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine in 1869, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”.
16. What’s seen in “Saw” : GORE
The 2004 movie “Saw” (and it’s seemingly endless sequels) is a horror film directed by James Wan, who also came up with the gruesome storyline. The basic plot is that two men are kidnapped, chained by their ankles, and deliberately left with the tools necessary to saw their way through their own limbs in order to escape. I’ve seen trailers, but that is far as I will go with this kind of thing.
19. “___ a Song Go Out of My Heart” : I LET
“I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” was a hit for Duke Ellington back in 1938.
21. Bed-and-breakfast : INN
An intimate inn (in the US) is a bed & breakfast. A bed & breakfast back in Ireland is more basic, and usually cheaper than a hotel stay.
23. Elvis ___ Presley : ARON
Elvis Aron Presley was the younger of two identical twins. is brother was stillborn, delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, though born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.
25. Drug that’s a downer : OPIATE
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sax of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.
33. Good “Wheel of Fortune” purchase for STRING BIKINI : AN I
Contestants have been buying “an I” on “Wheel of Fortune” since 1975.
34. Drano ingredient : LYE
Historically, lye was hydrated potash (potassium hydroxide). Nowadays when we purchase lye it caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). Crystal Drano was developed in 1932 by one Harry Drackett, who produced the product in his own company until it was bought over in 1965 by Bristol Myers. The crystalline form of Drano is sodium hydroxide (lye) as well as sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The product works as the lye reacts with any fats in the clog forming soap. The lye also reacts with finely divided aluminum generating tremendous heat, creating boiling and churning so that any hair or other deposits are cut by the sharp edges of the crystals. Having said that, boiling water poured down the drain is often just as effective.
38. Heckle or Jeckle of cartoons : MAGPIE
Heckle and Jeckle are those two cartoon magpies. They were created by Paul Terry, in his own Terrytoons studio, under contract to 20th Century Fox.
45. “Light” dessert? : CHERRIES JUBILEE
Cherries jubilee might be considered a light dessert, certainly not due to the calorie count, but due to the “lighting” of the liqueur that is poured over the cherries. Usually one takes cherries, pours a liqueur like Kirshwasser (German for “cherry water”) and then sets the liqueur alight and flambes the cherries. The reduced liqueur and cherries are then poured as a source over vanilla ice cream. Apparently the recipe was invented by French Chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel restaurant in London, to celebrate one of Queen Victoria’s jubilees.
49. School near Windsor Castle : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is indeed just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for generating many British leaders, including David Cameron who took power very recently. The list of Old Etonians includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell and Soviet spy, Guy Burgess.
50. 11th-century conqueror of Valencia : EL CID
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as “The Champion” or perhaps “The Lord, Master of Military Arts”. El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). After acting beyond his authorization in battle however, he was sent into exile by the king in 1080. El Cid then offered his services to the Moorish kings, and after a number of years of building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. However, at this stage El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, making it is headquarters and home. He died there, quite peacefully in 1099.
53. Starbucks size that’s Italian for “twenty” : VENTI
A venti-sized coffee at Starbucks is called that, because it is 20 fl. oz. size, and venti is Italian for twenty.
58. Sci-fi hero in the 25th century : BUCK ROGERS
Before Buck Rogers made it into the big time in the comic strip, he was a character in a pair of short stories written by Philip Francis Nowlan, the first of which was “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” In the stories, he was known as Anthony Rogers, and was given a name change when he went into the comics.
61. Stan’s pal in old films : OLLIE
Stan Laurel was an English comic actor (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson), who made a great career for himself in Hollywood, of course. He ended up at the Hal Roach studio, directing films, intent on pursuing a career writing and directing. However, Laurel, a sometime actor, was asked to step in when another comic actor, Oliver Hardy was injured and couldn’t perform. Laurel and Hardy started to share a stage together during that time, and when it was clear they worked so well together, the partnership was born.
62. Puccini’s “Nessun dorma,” for one : ARIA
“Nessum dorma” has to be the tenor aria that most tugs at the heart strings. It is taken from the last act of Puccini’s opera “Turandot”, and translates as “”None shall sleep”). Back in my part of the world, “Nessun dorma” became a hit in the popular music charts, with a version by Pavarotti being used as the theme song to the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. No other classical recording has ever done better in the charts.
63. Captain Hook’s henchman : SMEE
In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates, and his right-hand man. He is described by Barrie as Being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy!
65. Classic theater name : ROXY
The original Roxy Theater was opened in 1927 in New York City, designed to be the biggest best “motion picture palace” of the day. The first theater operator was a professional, Samuel Rothafel. As part of the deal to entice him to take the job, the owners offered to name the theater after him, and as his nickname was Roxy Rothafel, that’s the name they used.
2. ___ Romeo (Italian car) : ALFA
The Alfa in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, a company founded in 1909. The company was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915, and in 1920 the name was changed to Alfa Romeo.
9. Oui’s opposite : NON
Oui et non (“yes and no” in French).
22. Samoan capital : APIA
Apia is the capital city, indeed the only “city”, in the Pacific island nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven ships from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching, so the safest thing to do was head for open water away from land. No ship would move for fear of losing face in front of the other nations. Six of the vessels were lost in the typhoon as a result, and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.
29. Rutherford B. ___ : HAYES
Rutherford Hayes was the 19th president of the US. Long before we had to endure the dispute over the 2000 Presidential election, Rutherford Hayes found himself president after a disputed election in 1876. President Hayes came went into office having lost the popular vote to his opponent Samuel Tilden, but won the election by one electoral vote.
41. Indy 500 service area : PIT
The first Indy 500 race was held on Memorial Day in 1911. The winner that day was one Ray Harroun. He had seen someone using a rear view mirror on a horse-drawn vehicle, and decided to fit one on his Marmon “Wasp” motor car. Supposedly, that was the first ever use of a rear view mirror on a motor vehicle.
43. From the beginning: Lat. : AB OVO
Ab ovo translates literally as “from the egg”.
46. Poker variety : HOLD ‘EM
The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas Hold ‘Em is Robstown, Texas, where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was in introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts, including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion the Texas Hold ‘Em in the television line-up that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just sky-rocketing.
52. Org. protecting individual rights : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is actually made up of two non-profits. The ACLU foundation focuses on litigation and communication, whereas the arm known as the American Civil Liberties Union focuses on lobbying, mainly in Washington DC. The ACLU has its roots in the First World War, providing legal advice and support to conscientious objectors.
54. Literary Wolfe : NERO
Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for you to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: ” Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937).
55. “___ are for kids” (ad slogan) : TRIX
Trix is a corn-based breakfast cereal that has been around since 1954, produced by General Mills. Ads for the cereal feature Trix Rabbit, who would try hard to get hold of bowls of the cereal. He would always get caught though, and be admonished with, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” With 46% sugar content, the rabbit probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway …