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 24s
THEME: IT’S OK WITH ME … all of the theme answers contain the “words” OK and ME i.e. coOKing tiME, brOKen hoME, pOKer gaME, smOKed MEat
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
14. Disney’s “little mermaid” : ARIEL
In the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid“, the title character is given the name Ariel. In the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, which dates back to 1836, the Little Mermaid is given no name at all, so “Ariel” is a creation by Disney. There is of course a famous statue of the unnamed Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen Harbor in Andersen’s native Denmark, although the statue is currently “on tour”. It is visiting Shanghai on the occasion of Expo 2010, the first time it has left Copenhagen since its installation in 1913.
16. French “a” : UNE
“Une” is the French word for “a”, but only when used with a feminine noun (like “une dame”: a lady).
21. Lure for Simple Simon : PIE
The first verse of the English nursery rhyme is:
“Simple Simon met a pieman,
Going to the fair;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Let me taste your ware.”
24. Persian Gulf leader : EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
33. Fat used for tallow : SUET
Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal is called “suet”. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily, so it has to be “rendered” or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call “lard”. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as “tallow”.
34. Captain of Jules Verne’s Nautilus : NEMO
In the 1954 movie version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea“, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne, the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the assumption is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’s Locker.
35. Name in a family restaurant chain : DENNY
Denny’s was the first restaurant I ate at on my first visit to the US over 30 years ago. I thought I was in heaven. I’ve changed my opinion a little since then! Denny’s is famous for being “always open” (almost), something that blew my mind as a visitor from Ireland back in 1980. Denny’s was founded in 1953 in Lakewood, California, and originally went by the name “Denny’s Donuts”. The infamous “Grand Slam” breakfast has been on the menu since 1977.
37. Football scores, for short : TDS
50. Gradually slowing, in music: Abbr. : RIT
Rit. (or sometimes ritard.) is the abbreviation for ritardando, the musical direction to slow down the tempo.
51. Pacific island garment wrapped around the waist : SARONG
Sarong is the Malay word for “sheath” and was originally the garment worn by Malay men and women around their waists. The Malay sarong is actually a tube of fabric, about a yard wide and two-and-a-half yards “long”. The many variations of the sarong are worn all over South Asia and the Pacific Islands. I had occasion to wear one in Hawaii many years ago, and found it very … freeing!
53. Pastrami, for one : SMOKED MEAT
In the US, pastrami was originally called “pastrama”, a dish brought to America by Jewish immigrants from Romania in the second half of the the nineteenth century. The original name may have evolved from the Turkish word “pastirma” meaning “pressed”. “Pastrama” likely morphed into “pastrami” under the influence of the Italian meat, salami.
56. Greek liqueur : OUZO
Ouzo is an aperitif from Greece that is colorless, and flavored with anise. It is similar to pastis from France, and has a flavor like sambuca from Italy.
58. Spain’s Costa del ___ : SOL
Spain’s Costa del Sol (“Coast of the Sun”) is in Andalusia in the South of Spain. It lies sandwiched between two other “costas”, the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical. The city of Malaga is on the Costa del Sol, as well as the famous European tourist destinations of Torremolinos and Marbella. The Costa del Sol was made up of sleepy little fishing villages until the 1980s when the European sun-seekers descended on the region. I wouldn’t recommend it for a holiday quite frankly …
61. Rope-a-dope boxer : ALI
The Rumble in the Jungle was that celebrated fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, broadcast from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The fight was set in Zaire because of financial arrangements between promoter Don King and Zaire’s President Mobuto Seko. Rope-a-dope was the term coined by Ali to describe his incredibly successful strategy in the contest. From the second round onwards, Ali adopted a protected stance on the ropes, letting Foreman pound him with blows to the body and head, using his arms to take most of the punches. He kept this up until the eighth round, then opened up, and downed the exhausted Foreman with a left-right combination. I hate boxing, but have to say, that was an interesting fight.
67. IV adjusters : RNS
Registered Nurses are qualified to adjust a patient’s Intra-Venous drip.
2. Certain triathlete : IRONMAN
An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked to come up with the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finished first “we’ll call him the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is still the event that everyone wants to win.
3. Treat as a celebrity : LIONIZE
The term “lionize” dates back to the late 1700s when there were lions kept in the Tower of London. The lions were quite famous, and attracted many visitors. Hence, the term “lionize” means to treat someone as a celebrity.
7. Slugger Mel : OTT
I don’t think Mel Ott took steroids! At 5′ 9″ he weighed just 170 lb.. Yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958, at age 49 years.
8. Kimono closer : OBI
An obi is a sash worn in from dress in Japan, both by men and women, although there tend to be many different ornate versions for women.
9. Hoover ___ : DAM
When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world’s largest concrete structure. The dam is named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days …
10. Gertrude who wrote “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” : STEIN
Gertrude Stein was a great American writer, who spent most of her life in France. Gertrude Stein met Alice B. Toklas in Paris in 1907, and the two were life partners until Stein died in 1946. Cleverly, Stein published her own memoirs in 1933, but calling the book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas“. It was to become her best selling title.
28. Old Testament books labeled I and II : KINGS
The Books of Kings recount events that took place between the 10th and 6th centuries BCE. The two books were actually written as one narrative. It was when the Old Testament was translated into Greek, that the Book of Kings (and other books) was divided into two parts. Later printed versions have continued to recognize the relatively arbitrary division.
35. Jeans fabric : DENIM
The name “denim” comes from the sturdy, cotton fabric known as serge, which was manufactured in the city of Nimes in the south of France. The fabric was universally known as “serge de Nimes”, and over time was shortened to “denim”. The first denim pants were made in Genoa in Italy. The French name for Genoa is Genes, which morphed into our word “jeans”.
36. Family rec facility : YMCA
The YMCA is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of “a healthy spirit, mind and body”. The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.
39. Many a northern Iraqi : KURD
Most of the Kurdish people live in a region known as Kurdistan, which stretches into parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey as well as northern Iraq.
42. “Now We Are Six” poet : A. A. MILNE
“Now We Are Six” is a collection of children’s verses by A. A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. It was published in 1927, and illustrated by E. H. Shephard, the man behind the illustrations for the Winnie the Pooh stories as well as Kenneth Graham’s equally famous “The Wind in the Willows”. Indeed, eleven of the verses in “Now We Are Six” are illustrated with images of Winnie the Pooh. Sounds like one for the grand-kids …
47. They help digest food : ENZYMES
Enzymes are basically catalysts, chemicals that act to increase the rate of a particular chemical reaction. So, for example, starches will break down in to sugars over time, especially under the right conditions. However, in the presence of the enzyme amylase (found in saliva, say) this production of sugar happens very, very quickly.
49. Vacation at Vail, maybe : SKI
The Vail Ski Resort in Colorado is the largest single mountain ski resort in the whole country. The resort was opened in 1962, basically in the middle of nowhere. It was given the name Vail after Vail Pass which runs by the mountain (now also called Vail Mountain). The town of Vail, Colorado was established four years later in 1966, and now has a population of about 5,000.
59. Turkey’s currency : LIRA
The name “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. It comes from the Latin word for a pound, and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. The Turkish lira has been around since the mid 1870s.
65. “___ on a Grecian Urn” : ODE
John Keats wrote a whole series of odes in 1819, including the very famous “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and Ode to a Nightingale”. The first in this series of poems was “Ode to Psyche”, with Psyche being the mortal girl who was loved by Cupid.