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: 8m 17s
THEME: ROFL (ROLLING ON FLOOR LAUGHING) … the theme answers all start with a word in the social acronym ROFL i.e. ROLLING blackout, ON the half-shell, FLOOR to ceiling, LAUGHING jackass
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
5. Observant Muslim, at times : HAJI
A Haji is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person.
9. One of the sisters in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” : MASHA
Anton Chekhov wrote his play “Three Sisters” using as his inspiration the lives of the three Bronte sisters and their brother. Masha is Maria Sergeyevna Kulygina, the middle sister.
17. Utility’s power-saving stratagem : ROLLING BLACKOUT
21. Locale for Osama bin Laden : CAVE
Perhaps the location of the most famous cave that almost certainly housed Osama Bin Laden for a while was in Tora Bora in eastern Pakistan, not far (~30mi) from what used to be an even more famous spot, the Khyber Pass. Tora Bora translates to “black dust” from Pashto.
33. Have a reflection? : CAROM
A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. It has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball of the side of the table.
34. Mother of the winds, in Greek myth : EOS
In Greek mythology, EOS is the goddess of the dawn, who lived at the edge of the ocean. She would wake each morning, to welcome her brother, Helios, the sun. Eos is also the mother of the four winds:
– Boreas-north wind
– Eurus-east wind
– Notus-south wind
– Zephyrus-west wind
37. Character in Tasso’s “Jerusalem Delivered” : SATAN
Torquato Tasso was an Italian poet who lived in the 1500s. He wrote “Jerusalem Delivered” in 1580, a narrative poem telling his version of the siege of Jerusalem at the end of the First Crusade. Tasso places God on the side of the Christians, led by Godfrey de Bouillon, and Satan is on the side of the Pagans, led by King Aladine.
38. “Salute to the sun” discipline : YOGA
Asana is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose, or padmasana. A “salute to the sun” is a sequence of asanas, or poses, choreographed to maximise the benefit to the body and the mind.
39. Mexican relative : TIA
Tia: Spanish for “aunt”.
40. Red head? : LENIN
What clever wording for a clue! At the second party congress of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, a split developed. The faction with the most support was led by Vladimir Lenin, and as they were in the majority, they became known as the Bolsheviks, derived from the Russian word for “more” or “majority”. Lenin and the Bolsheviks led the October Revolution of 1917, as a result of which Lenin came to power. He headed the new Soviet State for seven years during it’s formative years.
41. Egypt’s Temple of ___ : LUXOR
The Temple of Luxor is an ancient Egyptian edifice that sits on the east bank of the River Nile in the modern day city of Luxor, that used to be called Thebes in the days of the pharaohs.
42. Fully, in a way : FLOOR TO CEILING
45. Title word after “Pineapple” or “Maple Leaf” : RAG
Ragtime music was at the height of it popularity in the early 1900s. It takes its name from its characteristic “ragged” rhythms. The most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who had a big hit with his “Maple Leaf Rag” when it was published in 1899. He followed that up with a string of hits, including the “Pine Apple Rag” (sic). Ragtime fell out of favor about 1917 when the public turned to jazz. It had a resurgence in the forties when jazz musicians started to include ragtime tunes in their repertoires. But it was the 1973 movie “The Sting” that brought the true revival, as the hit soundtrack included numerous ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, including the celebrated “The Entertainer” originally published in 1902.
46. 1994 Jodie Foster role : NELL
“Nell” is a thoughtful drama film from 1994 starring Jodie Foster in the title role, playing a young woman who had been raised by her mother in isolation, away from all human contact. She is discovered as an untamed child and gradually introduced into society. The movie is a screen adaptation of a play by Mark Handley called “IdioGlossia”.
56. Kookaburra : LAUGHING JACKASS
The Kookaburra is a bird, a large type of kingfisher, native to Australia and New Guinea. They have a very distinctive call, very similar to a human laugh, and their Aboriginal name is chosen as it is onomatopoeic of its call. The Laughing Kookaburra in particular has a distinctive sound, and it was originally known as the Laughing Jackass.
59. ___ Davis, first African-American to win a Heisman : ERNIE
I don’t know a lot about American football, to be honest. But, I did watch the absorbing 2008 movie “The Express” that told the story of Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Ernie Davis’s story isn’t really a happy one. He was headed to play for the Cleveland Browns after his amazing success with Syracuse University, but never got to play a professional game. He was diagnosed with leukemia soon after the draft in 1961, and passed away in 1963.
62. When repeated, capital city of 11,000 : PAGO
Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa in the South Pacific. The island was used by the US Navy during WWII but managed to largely escape the conflict, with the only incident being shelling of the harbor at Pago Pago by a Japanese submarine. A more devastating event was the tsunami that hit Pago Pago and surrounding areas in 2009 causing widespread damage and numerous deaths.
1. Soil: Prefix : AGRO
The prefix agro- (and agri-) come from the Greek word “agros” meaning “field”.
4. Curer : SALT
Salt is used to “cure” meats. Curing is a preservation process. The salt kills and inhibits the growth of microorganisms by sucking the water (osmosis) out of the microbe’s cells.
6. Lee with a 2005 Oscar : ANG
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre, not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense and Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, and “Brokeback Mountain”. He won an Oscar in 2006, for the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain”.
9. Tiny electrical measure : MICROHM
A microhm is one millionth part of an ohm, the unit of electrical resistance. It is also known as a micro-ohm.
10. Saturated hydrocarbon : ALKANE
Technically, a saturated hydrocarbon is an organic compound with no double or triple bonds between carbon atoms. Because it has no double or triple bonds it is “saturated” with hydrogen, has the maximum number of hydrogen atoms that each carbon atom can take. This is particularly important to us when talking about saturated fats (generally unhealthy, animal-sourced fats) and unsaturated fats (generally, healthy plant-sourced fats).
13. Case worker: Abbr. : ATTY
An attorney works on cases …
25. End piece? : OBIT
At the end of one’s life, one might merit an obituary …
28. “John Adams” airer : HBO
If you haven’t done so, you have to see the HBO miniseries “John Adams“. John Adams is played very ably by Paul Giamatti, in what has to be his best work. The critics loved it too, and it won more Emmy Awards (13) than any other mini-series ever. It’s great stuff.
29. Essential part of a grand tour : FRANCE
The Grand Tour was a rite of passage for young, wealthy men, especially in the 18th century. Rich families (especially the English) would send their sons off after finishing their schooling to be exposed to the various cultures across Europe. Essential stops along the way were Paris, Venice and Rome. Can’t think why many didn’t stop off in Dublin …
30. Pope with a 27-day pontificate : LEO XI
Pope Leo XI ascended to the papal throne on April 1, 1605, almost seventy years old at the time. he became sick and died within a month. For obvious reasons he was nicknamed “Papa Lambo”, the Lightning Pope …
31. Prepare to tweet, say : LOG ON
I have never tweeted in my life, and have no plans to do so. Twitter is a micro-blogging service, that limits the post sent to just 140 characters. In a sense, it is similar to this blog. Here I send out a post once a day containing information that I think might be useful to folks (thank you for reading!). I don’t think I could send much of interest using just 140 characters. So, people who do tweet tend to send out messages like “I’m at dinner now. I am having sushi”. Nope, I don’t think so. But, if someone knows how tweeting could help me provide a better New York Times Crossword service, just send me an email!
35. Puppeteer Tony : SARG
Tony Sarg was a German-American puppeteer and illustrator. He was hired by Macy’s in 1928 to build helium-filled “puppets” for their Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, a tradition that was to last a long time. In 1935 he designed and built the puppets and displays in Macy’s windows for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
37. Composer Prokofiev : SERGEI
Sergei Prokofiev was a great Russian composer and pianist, certainly one of the most admired of the 20th century composers. Prokofiev left Russia not long after the October Revolution of 1917, with his first port of call being San Francisco. He spent a couple of years in America, but never settled. He moved to Paris next, then to Bavaria, and back to Paris where he settled for many years. However, when things settled down in the Soviet Union, and the attitudes towards the arts made favorable changes, he moved back home permanently. He ended up living in Moscow, very close to Red Square. He had the misfortune to die on the very same days as Josef Stalin. His funeral had to be delayed as family and friends could not get Prokofiev’s body out of his apartment due to the throngs of mourners for Stalin.
38. Broadway’s Brynner : YUL
Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor, well known for his great performances, but also for his shaved head and his deep, rich voice. He first encountered the “hairstyle” while playing the King of Siam in the stage version of “The King and I”, and he stuck with it.
41. Subject for Chagall and Cassatt : LILACS
One of Russian painter Marc Chagall’s works was “Lovers in the Lilacs” painted in 1930, which is held in some private collection. American painter Mary Cassatt painted “Lilacs in a Window” in 1880.
44. Sun Bowl city : EL PASO
The Sun Bowl is an annual college football game played in El Paso. The Rose Bowl is the oldest of the bowl games, but the Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl come in second. The first Sun Bowl was played on New Year’s Day 1935. To be fair to the sponsors, the full name today is the Brut Sun Bowl …
50. Presumptuous sort : SNIP
The use of “snip” to mean an impertinent or mischievous person, is an informal one.
52. ___-Ball : SKEE
Skee Ball is that arcade game where you roll balls up a ramp trying to “bounce” it into rings for different numbers of points. The game was first introduced in Philadelphia, in 1909.
55. Onetime J.F.K. arrivals : SSTS
SuperSonic Transports, like the Concorde, broke Mach 1, the speed of sound. They’re all grounded now.
57. TV-over-breakfast inits. : GMA
Good Morning America …
58. It’s often said to be “up” : JIG
A jig can be a trick or a joke, so the phrase “the jig is up”, means the trick has been discovered, the joke is seen by all.