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: 30m 25s
THEME: TAKE A STEEP NOSEDIVE … all the theme answers start with an across answer, then TAKE A STEEP NOSEDIVE through a down answer and continue in an across answer e.g. DIAGN/OSE/THE PROBLEM
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Find out what’s wrong : DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM
1 across –> 5 down –> 20 across
6. Squad leader, e.g.: Abbr. : NCO
A squad leader is a Non-Commissioned Officer in the army or Marines.
14. Like Moses’ wife, per Numbers 12:1 : ETHIOPIAN
According to the King James version of the Book of Numbers, Moses married an Ethiopian woman, although this translation may not portray the original intention. According to the Hebrew version of the same text, Moses married a Cushite i.e. a descendant of Cush or someone from the land of Cush.
16. Cawdor title : THANE
According to William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, Macbeth was hailed by one of the famous witches as “Thane of Cawdor”. Thane was a hereditary title for a tenant of the crown in Scotland, and Cawdor is a village and parish in the Highlands of Scotland.
18. “A great flame follows a little spark” writer : DANTE
The quotation “A great flame follows a little spark” is from “Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri. “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. Dante is led on a journey by the poet, Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell, on which are written the words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.
19. Monogram of 1964’s Nobel Peace laureate : MLK
Martin Luther King, Jr.was only 35 years old when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, making him the youngest person so honored. He was given the award for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination using non-violent means. The following year he was awarded the American Liberties Medallion by the American Jewish Community.
24. Downhill : TO SEED
When something or someone goes downhill, it is said to go to seed.
28. Coffin nails : CIGS
It seems that cigarettes are quite correctly called “coffin nails”. The statistics show that each cigarette smoked shortens lifespan by 11 minutes, and half of smokers die earlier then they should, by an average of 14 years.
30. “Huh?!” : IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME
30 across –> 33 down –> 47 across
34. ___ acting : METHOD
Method acting is a term referring to acting techniques in which actors really try to get into the thoughts and emotions of the character in order to give a better performance. By contrast a classical actor would simulate the thoughts and emotions by using external means such as tone of voice or facial expression.
38. Key combination : CHORD
I would have thought that a chord is a combination of notes rather then keys, but then, I am no musician, just one who tries to appreciate it.
UPDATE: Oops! A chord is a combination of piano keys, as someone pointed out below! Sometimes I can’t see the wood for the trees …
41. Ignition system expert? : PYRO
Pyro is the combining form of the Greek word for “fire”. A pyromaniac (a pyro) is someone with an abnormal desire to start fires, or with a general obsession with fire.
42. Augur : BODE
The verb “augur” means to “bode”, to “serve as an omen”. The word comes from the name of religious officials in Ancient Rome, augurs, whose job is was to interpret signs and omens.
43. Jug handle, in archaeology : ANSA
Ansa is the Latin word for handle, so an archaeologist might dig up a pot, for example, with an ansa. The term is also used to describe anatomical structures that are shaped like a handle, froming a loop or an arc.
45. U.S.S. Enterprise crewman, to Kirk : MR SULU
Mr Sulu was of course played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. He has had lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he played the helmsman who steers the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 in the 1963 film?
51. “Scream” actress Campbell : NEVE
Neve Campbell is a Canadian actress whose big break came with the “Scream” horror film trilogy. I hear there’s another “Scream” movie on it’s way, with Campbell starring. I don’t do “horror”, so I will be giving it a miss …
52. Doo-wop syllable : SHA
Doo-wop developed in the 1940s, and can be described as a vocal-based R&B music. Even though the style has been around since the forties, the name doo-wop wasn’t introduced until the early sixties.
61. Plummet … or what this puzzle’s theme answers do? : TAKE A STEEP NOSEDIVE
61 across –> 63 down –> 72 across
64. Deg. held by George W. Bush : MBA
President George Walker Bush attended Harvard Business School to earn his MBA, and is the only US president with an MBA.
65. Senescence : AGING
The word “senescence comes from the Latin word “senex” (old man, old age).
66. Robert Langdon’s field in “The Da Vinci Code” : SEMIOTICS
Semiotics is a branch of linguistics, and is the study of signs and symbols.
“The Da Vinci Code” is an excellent story, written by Dan Brown. However, Brown’s first book to feature the character Robert Langdon was even better in my opinion, “Angels & Demons”.
68. Period before après-midi : MATIN
Matin (“morning”) comes before apres-midi (afternoon) in France.
70. Milan-based fashion label : PRADA
Prada was started in 1913 as a leather goods shop in Milan, by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the business, as he didn’t believe women should be involved in business (!). Ironically, when he passed on, his son had no interest in the business, so it was daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter.
1. “Philadelphia” director Jonathan : DEMME
Jonathan Demme is best known for directing “The Silence of the Lambs” for which he won an Oscar. His next movie was “Philadelphia”, which won an Oscar for the star, Tom Hanks.
2. “A Farewell to Arms” setting : ITALY
“A Farewell to Arms” is a somewhat auto-biographical novel written by Ernest Hemingway, telling the story of an American ambulance driver serving with the Italian army during WWI. The most famous screen adaptation is probably the 1957 version starring Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones.
4. Jazz great Evans : GIL
Gil Evans was a jazz musician who collaborated with Miles Davis.
6. Actor in the Best Picture winners of 1975, 1983 and 2006 : NICHOLSON
Jack Nicholson acted in at least three movies that won the Oscar for Best Picture:
– “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)
– “Terms of Endearment” (1983)
– “The Departed” (2006)
Nicholson won the Academy Award himself for Best Actor in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, and the Best Supporting Actor for “Terms of Endearment”.
8. Without assignment : ON SPEC
To do a job “on spec” is to do it without a guarantee of payment, without it being formally assigned, usually in the hope of winning future business.
9. Old Army base on the Santa Fe Trail, briefly : FT DODGE
Fort Dodge was in Kansas, on the Santa Fe Trail (connecting Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico). The fort was named after Major General Grenville M. Dodge who was in charge of the army presence in the area. The fort gave its name to Dodge City, Kansas, that grew nearby the fort.
10. I Kings king : AHAB
Ahab was one of the kings of Israel. Herman Melville used Ahab’s name for his famous Captain Ahab, hero of his novel “Moby Dick”.
15. Peppermint ___ : PATTIE
A York Peppermint Pattie is a very rich candy produced by Hershey under license from Cadbury’s in the UK. It shouldn’t be confused with Peppermint Patty (a different spelling), the character in the comic strip “Peanuts”.
21. Site of Germany’s surrender in W.W. II : REIMS
The city of Reims is the de facto capital of the Champagne region of France, being the biggest city in the area. Reims was badly damaged during both world wars, including extensive damage to the much loved cathedral during WWI by German bombardment. It’s perhaps fitting that the German forces surrendered to General Eisenhower on the 7 May 1945, ending the WWII in Europe.
27. Having a permit : OKD
OKd … given the okay.
29. Subject in many a joke : ST PETER
But I’m not going to tell one …
30. Part of the U.S. arsenal : ICBM
An InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with the range necessary to cross between continents. Being ballistic (as opposed to a cruise missile) is it is guided during the initial launch phase, but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity to arrive at its target. It is defined as intercontinental as it has a range greater that 3,500 miles. ICBMs are really only used for delivering nuclear warheads. Scary …
31. Onetime part of the U.S. arsenal : THOR
Thor was the name of the first ballistic missile to go into operation for the US military (actually operated by the US Air Force). Thor didn’t qualify as an ICBM in that it’s range was limited to 1,500 miles, and so was classified as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The Thor family of missiles was somewhat rushed in to service as a stop-gap measure while ICBMs were being developed, in the fear that the Soviets would get long range missile capability before the US. When ICBM missiles went into service, the Thor missiles were quickly retired, th elast being withdrawn in 1963.
32. Some ’60s hipsters : MODS
Mod is short for modernist, and described a subculture that originated in London in the late fifties. Mods tended to wear tailored suits, listen to pop music and drove around on Italian motor scooters. Mods came in to conflict with another subculture that emerged at the same time in the UK, the rockers. Rockers were into rock and roll music, and drove motor cycles. I remember as a young kid in school having to declare myself as either a mod or a rocker. I don’t think our “gangs” back then were quite the same as they are today …
36. City near Provo : OREM
Orem, Utah was originally known as Sharon (the Biblical name), and then Provo Bench, and in 1914 it was given the name Orem, the family name of a local railroad operator.
37. Republican candidate between Bush and Bush : DOLE
Despite all Bob Dole‘s success in the world of politics, he is remembered by many as the VP candidate who lost to Walter Mondale (and Jimmy Carter) and the presidential candidate who lost to incumbent Bill Clinton. The man is a true war hero. He joined up in 1942 and fought with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Italy. In 1945 he was hit by machine gun fire in his right arm and back, so badly injured that his comrades could only dose him up with morphine, write “M” on his forehead with his own blood (so that another, fatal dose of morphine would not be administered) and continue fighting the battle. Dole had to wait nine hours to be evacuated from the battlefield, and wait another three years before being discharged from hospital back in the States.
40. Mortgage giant founded in 1938 : FANNIE MAE
The Federal National Mortgage Association is commonly called Fannie Mae, a play on the acronym FNMA.
43. Clara and Harriet, in 1960s TV : AUNTS
“Bewitched” ran from 1964-72. Clara was the lovable but bumbling aunt of Samantha, played by Marion Lorne. Lorne won a posthumous Emmy for her performances.
Aunt Harriet was the maternal aunt of Dick Grayson (Robin) in the sixties TV show “Batman”. Aunt Harriet was played by actress Madge Blake, it being her most famous role. Aunt Harriet’s appearances became fewer and fewer towards the end of the series as Madge Blake struggled with failing health.
44. Short circuit? : REV
A circuit would be a revolution, so a short circuit would be a “rev.”
46. “Mangia!” dish : LASAGNA
Mangia! is Italian for “eat!” and is often used in the names of Italian restaurants or in brand names of Italian foods.
52. Perforation site : STAMP
Postage stamps were first introduced in 1840 in the UK, with the first stamp sold being the famous penny black, adorned with the head of Queen Victoria. Perforations weren’t added to stamps for some time, first being used in 1854.
53. Viking in a Dik Browne strip : HAGAR
“Hagar the Horrible” was created by the late Dik Browne, and is now drawn by his son, Chris Browne. “Hagar the Terrible” (not “Horrible”) was the nickname given to Dik by his sons.
54. Dog breed Helen Keller introduced to the U.S. in 1937 : AKITA
The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, the Akita Prefecture in Japan. Helen Keller visited the Akita Prefecture in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. In 1938 the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog in 1938. Supposedly these were the first of the breed to be introduced into the US.
58. Friends of Florence : AMICI
Amici is the Italian word for “friends” (singular “amico”).
59. “More colorful” sloganeer : NBC TV
The current NBC slogan is “More Colorful” which replaced “Chime In” in 2009.
60. Café cup : TASSE
Tasse is the French word for “cup”.
62. Children’s author Blyton : ENID
Enid Blyton wrote stories for children that were very popular when I was growing up in the British Isles. Just a few months ago I purchased and reread my favorite of her stories growing up, “The Secret Island“.
67. Whisper : TAD
Just a whisper, just a tad, not too much …