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: Didn’t finish (had an evening out … not a good crossword thing!)
ANSWERS I MISSED: Lots!
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Place to use a rake : CRAPS TABLE
If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around a very long time, and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard”, also played with two dice, and which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came into the country via the French and first set root in New Orleans, where it was given the name “crapaud”, A French word meaning “toad”.
20. Closer’s triumph : SAVE
A closer in baseball is a relief pitcher who comes on during a close game. Should he pull off the win, then he is said to have earned a “save”.
21. The “I” of E. I. du Pont : IRENEE
The full name of the Du Pont company is E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. This American chemical company was founded as a gunpowder mill in 1802 by one Eleuthere Irenee du Pont. Du Pont was born in Paris, and immigrated to the US with his rather large family in 1800 and settle in Brandywine Creek in Delaware. Back in France, du Pont had been an assistant to the celebrated French chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (“father of modern chemistry” and the man who discovered and name “oxygen”).
22. Person getting into one’s head? : RUSTLER
A rustler might be getting into, and stealing, one’s head of cattle.
27. She loved Endymion : SELENE
Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon, the equivalent of the Roman deity, Luna. Selene gave her name to the word “selenology”, the study of the geology of the moon, and also gave her name to the chemical element “selenium”. According to mythology, Selene fell in love with the handsome hunter/shepherd Endymion, a mere mortal.
28. See people : POPES
The noun “See”, meaning the “position of a bishop”, dates back to about 1300. It comes from the Latin word “sedes” which translates as “seat”, and so “See” has the same roots as our words “sit” and “sedentary”.
34. Use excessively, briefly : OD ON
35. Takes form : JELLS
Jell is an alternate spelling of the word “gel”.
37. What an investor builds : PORTFOLIO
“Portfolio” comes in to English from Italian, in which “portafoglio” is a case for carrying loose papers. Portafoglio comes from “portare” (to carry) and foglio (sheet, leaf).
40. See 23-Down : URCHIN
41. Peak on the Pakistani-Chinese border : K TWO
K2 is the second highest mountain on the planet (at 28, 251 ft), with Mount Everest being higher by over 700 feet. K2 is known the “Savage Mountain” as it is relatively difficult to climb, having claimed 1 in 4 mountaineers who have attempted to reach the summit. It has never been climbed in winter. The name K2 dates back to what was called the Great Trigonometric Survey, a British survey of the geography of India carried out during the 19th century. Included in this survey were the heights of many of the Himalayan peaks, including Everest. The original surveyor, a Thomas Montgomerie, included two peaks he first called K1 and K2. He discovered later that the locals called K1 Masherbrum (the 22nd highest mountain in the world), but the remote K2 had no local name that he could find, so it was christened Mount Godwin-Austen. This name was rejected by the Royal Geographic Society although it does still appear on maps. So, the most common name used is K2, that original note in a surveyor’s notebook.
50. ___ fide : MALA
Mala fide means “in bad faith” and is in essence the opposite to bona fide (“in good faith”). Bad faith is a concept defined by the law, which addresses the motives behind certain actions.
51. Moniker for a ballplayer with a bat named Wonderboy : THE NATURAL
Bernard Malamud wrote the novel “The Natural”, published in 1952. I tells the story of a baseball player called Roy Hobbs, who gets shot early in his career and makes a remarkable comeback many years later. Although Roy Hobbs is a fictional character, the story is apparently based on the real-life Phillies player Eddie Waitkus, who was indeed shot in his hotel room by an obsessed fan in 1949. The film adaptation released in 1984 is an excellent movie starring Robert Redford as “The Natural“.
54. Indexing abbr. : ET AL
Et alii is the equivalent of et cetera, with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names.
56. QB O’Donnell : NEIL
Neil O’Donnell played for various teams in the NFL from 1990-2003. When O’Donnell retired he had the lowest interception percentage in NFL history (a record that has since been surpassed though).
59. Kind of pliers : NEEDLE NOSE
I use needle-nose pliers mainly for working with electrical wire, but they are great for getting into those awkward places, wire or no wire.
1. Precious, in Poitiers : CHERI
Cheri is a form of familiar address in French, meaning “dear, darling, precious”. Cheri is the form used when talking to/of a male, and cherie for a female.
Poitiers is a city in west central France. Interestingly, the inhabitants of Poitiers are called “Pictaviens”.
2. Exploration vehicle : ROVER
There were five rovers sent to Mars in all. Mars 2 landed in 1971, and failed. Mars 3 landed the same year, and also failed. Mars Pathfinder landed in 1997 (what a great day that was!) and operated from July to September. Spirit landed in 2004, and is still operating today, 6 years after its mission was due to end. However, it is now bogged down in sand, but will continue to operate as a stationary science platform. Opportunity also landed in 2004, and it is still going, going, going … because the Energizer Bunny is driving it …
3. Dennis the Menace’s mom : ALICE
“Dennis the Menace” is a comic strip that first appeared in 1951, originally drawn by Hank Ketcham. The strip made the jump over the years from the newspaper to television and the silver screen. Dennis’s full name is Dennis Mitchell, and his parents are Henry and Alice (Johnson) Mitchell. Dennis’s nemesis is his neighbor, Mister George Everett Wilson. Hank Ketcham drew his inspiration for the story from his real life. When he introduced the strip he had a 4-year-old son called Dennis, and a wife named Alice.
4. Traffic guide : PYLON
Pylon is another word for a traffic cone (and is also used in the sense of an electricity “pylon”).
5. Small organs : SPINETS
A spinet is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as thje harpsichord, piano or organ. They were developed, and are still made today, as smaller, cheaper versions of full-size instruments.
13. Café de Paris setting : VIA VENETO
Via Veneto is (actually Via Vittoria Veneto) is an upmarket street in Rome, the site of many of the pricier hotels. It was made famous in Frederico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”, and is still the home to Harry’s Bar and Café de Paris, both featured in the movie.
23. With 40-Across, meal for a wolf eel : SEA
40-Across. See 23-Down : URCHIN
Sea urchins are globular, spiny creatures found just about everywhere in the ocean.
Wolf eels include sea urchins in their diet. Wolf eels can be quite large, growing to up eight feet long. They have strong jaws that crush those sea urchins as well as other marine life.
25. Donkey, in Düsseldorf : ESEL
The German word for donkey is “esel”.
Düsseldorf lies in the west of Germany, fairly close to the border with France, and sits on the River Rhine.
26. Ilia ___, figure skater who won Olympic gold in 1998 : KULIK
Ilia Kulik is a Russian figure skater, born in Moscow and now living in Newport Beach. I’ve seen him skate on the “Stars on Ice” tour. The ladies love when he takes off his shirt …
29. Something good for the sole? : ODOR EATER
Odor Eater insoles were first introduced in the early seventies, and are manufactured by Combe. Combe sponsors a national contest held every year in Montpelier, Vermont, called “The Odor Eaters Rotten Sneakers Contest”. Very pleasant …
35. Swift, e.g. : JONATHAN
Jonathan Swift was an Irish author and cleric. He is most famous perhaps for his 1726 novel “Gulliver’s Travels”, and we Irishmen remember him also as the Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.
42. Pop maker : WEASEL
“Pop! Goes the Weasel” is an English nursery rhyme, and a relatively young one that probably dates back only to the mid-1800s. No one really knows for certain the significance of the “pop” and the “weasel”.
44. “___ Magic Changes” (“Grease” song) : THOSE
Do you remember the band “Johnny Casino & The Gamblers” in the movie “Grease”? That was actually the real-word group Sha Na Na. Johnny Casino and the Gamblers sang “Those Magic Changes” at the high school dance, in between “Rock n’Roll Is Here to Stay” and “Hound Dog”. Sha Na Na got together in the sixties, and are still performing today.
47. Home of an America East Conference team : ORONO
The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine, founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers.
48. Fly holders : PANTS
The term “fly” is used to describe the flap covering the buttons or zipper in the front of a pair of pants. Before “fly” was used for pants, it was the name given to a tent flap.
49. Professeur’s concern : ELEVE
A professeur (teacher) in France should show concern for his eleves (pupils).