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: N/A (watching the World Cup)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … OVERCAME (overcome), DAHL (Dohl)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
9. Engagement party? : FIANCE
Clever wording …
19. Roll : PEAL
I guess “roll” is another word for “peal” …
23. Doesn’t go swimmingly? : WADES
Another cleverly worded clue …
24. Alternative to premium : REGULAR
The difference between a a premium and regular gasoline rating is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance to the gasoline to auto-igniting, it’s resistance to igniting just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable, as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. When ignition occurs before the spark is created, the phenomenon created is called “knocking”.
28. Heathrow takeoff sound? : TATA
An Englishman might say “tata” instead of “goodbye”, well, supposedly so!
32. Winter sports arenas : ICE PALACES
Sometimes sports arenas with an ice rink are called ice palaces. Originally, the term “ice palace” was reserved for elaborate, castle-like structures made out of ice, most famously in Russia.
36. Neurotic toon : REN
The Ren and Stimpy Show ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. Not my cup of tea …
40. Elvis Presley was one: Abbr. : NCO
Elvis Presley was drafted into the US Army in 1958, as a private. Although he was only a couple of years into his recording career, he already had a “manic” following. While in basic training, he was quite certain that his success would be short-lived, and maybe could nor recover after his stint with the Army. He used his leave to record new tracks, keeping his name “out there”. Presley did basic training at Fort Hood, Texas and was then assigned to the 3rd Armored Division stationed in Friedberg, Germany. It was in Friedberg that he met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he would marry after courting her for 7 1/2 years. After two years in the Army, he came back home, to a career that was still soaring.
41. Trading center during the Klondike gold rush : WHITEHORSE
Whitehorse is the capital city of Canada’s Yukon Territory. It sits at the head of the Yukon River, and its location made it an important supply center during the Klondike Gold Rush.
42. Unit in an erg’s definition : DYNE
A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning power or force. An erg is a unit of energy, or mechanical work. “Erg” comes from the Greek word “ergon”, meaning “work”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy need to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.
44. Way to look back? : IN ANGER
“Look Back in Anger” is a play by John Osborne first performed in 1956, adapted for the big screen in 1959. The British film version starred the Richard Burton and Claire Bloom, who gave very gritty performances.
50. Court cover-up? : ASPHALT
It turns out that the ASPHALT surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete, because ASPHALT itself is just the sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. ASPHALT is used as a binder with aggregate to form the road surface, the asphaltic concrete.
60. Crude container : BARREL
The volume of one oil barrel is equivalent to 42 US gallons. A barrel is correctly abbreviated to “bbl”. Barrels aren’t really used for transporting crude oil anymore at all. It all moves in bulk through pipelines and in oil tankers. It’s really just a measurement these days.
61. Artery binder : LIGATURE
A ligature is a piece of thread tied around a blood vessel (usually) in order to shut off blood flow.
62. “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” singer in “The Sound of Music” : ABBESS
The Abbess in “The Sound of Music” sings “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” to Maria von Trapp, encouraging her to go fight for her dreams. In the famous 1965 movie, Julie Andrews of course plays Maria, and Peggy Wood plays the Mother Abbess. Peggy Wood was a respected stage actress who gave a great performance, even though she could no longer deliver song and had voice had to be dubbed. Still, her performance was good enough to earn her an Oscar nomination.
5. Prefix with -valent : OCTA
A chemical element is said to be octavalent if it has a valence of eight. This means (in theory) that the element has eight electrons to share, or needs eight electrons shared with it, in order to produce stable compounds (sort of …).
6. Gary who invented the Pet Rock : DAHL
The Pet Rock lives on history, even though the fad really only lasted about 6 months, in 1975. It was enough to make Gary Dahl a millionaire though. His next idea, a “sand farm”, didn’t fly at all.
7. 1960s-’70s Citroën : AMI
Ami is the French word for friend, and the French automaker Citroen produced the Ami from 1961-78. It was a small car, with just a 602 cc engine under the hood.
8. Grapevine cultivator? : YENTA
Yenta is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater it came to mean a busybody. The name (and busybody characteristics) is used for the matchmaker character in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof“.
9. Big name in college guides : FISKE
The “Fiske Guide to Colleges” is named after the principal author, Edward B. Fiske.
11. Colliery access : ADIT
A colliery is a coal mine, and an adit is specific type of mine access, a horizontal shaft that extends into the mine. This can be compared with the more traditional vertical shaft that is used for access into most mines, after all, most ores are “under” ground. Adits make sense, however, when the coal is located inside a mountain or hill, and the mine entrance is on the valley floor.
12. A hook might give it a hook : NOSE
Some might punch you in the nose with a hook, and leave you with a nose with a hook!
13. Columbia Pictures co-founder : COHN
Columbia Pictures was founded in 1919 as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales, by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn, and Joe Brandt. The name was changed to Columbia Pictures in 1924 when the company went public. The Columbia name became associated with the wonderful Hollywood screwball comedies of the thirties, thanks to the association with director Frank Capra, and stars like Jean Arthur and Cary Grant.
18. Knock (about) : GAD
To gad about is to move around with little purpose. The word comes from the Middle English word “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.
21. Anhydrous : ARID
Something anhydrous is without water, or arid.
25. Baltimore neighborhood that includes Marble Hill : UPTON
The Marble Hill area of Upton, Baltimore, was declared a historic district in 1985. It is full of Queen Anne and Italianate-style rowhouses, that reflect the affluent nature of the neighborhood at the beginning of the 20th century.
26. Bar mitzvah, e.g. : LAD
A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys are obviously less mature (surprise surprise!) and become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The term translates into daughter and son of the commandments.
29. Composition of some plasmas : ARGON
A plasma lamp is a light source that generates light by exciting a plasma inside a a glass container, using radio waves to create the plasma. One of the original gases used for such plasmas was argon.
30. Folks may cry after it’s shot : TEAR GAS GUN
The technical name for tear gas is a lachrymatory agent, meaning that it causes tearing (“lacrima” is the Latin for “tear”).
31. Members of the carrot family : ANISES
The essential oil in the anise plant is anethole. Anethole has licorice-like flavor, and is used extensively in cooking.
33. Loop setting, briefly : CHI
The Loop is the name given to the historic downtown area of Chicago. More correctly it is defined as the area inside a specific loop of public transit lines, but the name tends to be used for the whole of the city’s central business district.
34. 1984 hit with the lyric “Have a banana, have a whole bunch” : EAT IT
“Eat It” was a big hit for Weird Al Yankovic, and is a parody of the bigger Michael Jackson hit, “Beat It”. Yankovic had to go present the lyrics of the parody to Michael Jackson, and was pleasantly surprised to see that Jackson found it amusing, and gave permission for the project to proceed. In Australia, “Eat It” actually got to number one in the charts, while “Beat It” only made it to number three.
35. 9-mm. weapon : STEN
The name STEN is an acronym. The S and the T came from the name of the gun’s designers, Shepherd and Turpin. The EN came from the Enfield brand name, which in turn came from location of Enfield, where the guns were manufactured for the Royal Small Arms Factory, an enterprise owned by the British government.
39. St. Philip of Rome : NERI
Philip Neri lived in the 16th century in Rome, an Italian priest who came to be known as “Apostle of Rome”. He was the founder of a group of secular priests called the Congragation of the Oratory.
46. Does semi-related work? : HAULS
Semis are used in the hauler business, to transport goods. In another example of the difference in language on both sides of the Atlantic, I grew up calling it the “haulier” business.
50. Many a dinar spender : ARAB
51. Dinar spender : SERB
The Dinar is the official currency in many countries, such as Iraq and Serbia. The Gold Dinar dates back to the early days of Islam, with the name deriving from the Roman currency called “denarius” meaning “ten times” (as it was originally a coin worth ten asses).
52. Phoenix construction : PYRE
The phoenix is a fabulous bird of Greek mythology, which can also be found in the mythologies of Persia, Egypt and China. The phoenix is a fire spirit, which lives from 500 to 1000 years. At the end of its lifespan is builds nest for itself (a pyre) and self-ignites, burning itself and the nest, creating a pile of ashes. A new, young phoenix arises from the ashes and the cycle starts all over again.
53. Envelope-pushing : EDGY
The phrase to “push the envelope” is a relatively recent one, only dating back to the 1980s.
54. Cousins of fjords : RIAS
A ria is actually a drowned river valley. It is formed where the sea level has raised, and the sea has flooded a valley. As a result, a ria can be confused with a fjord. A fjord is also a drowned valley, but that valley was originally formed by glaciation and not by river erosion.
56. Grp. concerned with precedents : ABA
The American Bar Association.
57. Semana segment : DIA
In Spanish (and Portuguese), “dia” is a “day”, and “semana” is a “week”.
58. Chain-sporting star : MR T
Mr. T‘s real name Laurence Tureaud. He is famous for many things, including wearing excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left by customers at the night club, so that they could be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T.
59. Job ad abbr. : EEO
Equal Opportunity Employment is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Commission was set up by the Civil Rights Act.