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: 45m 20s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 5 … JAMAL (JAMUL), LEGER (SEGER), FOCAL (FOCUS), ROYKO (ROYKE), OLETA (ELETA)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Early 20th-century mode of transportation : ZEPPELIN
The zeppelin airship was developed by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the design of which was granted a US patent 1899. When zeppelins went into service, they were operated by the company Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG (DELAG), making the company the world’s first commercial airline, operating flights even before WWI. Famously, that big spire at the top of the Empire State Building was designed to be a docking point for zeppelin airships, but after several attempts to use it as such, the idea was abandoned as the updrafts coming up from the streets below made docking to hazardous a maneuver.
9. Tree that’s home to Rafiki in “The Lion King” : BAOBAB
The baobab tree is also known as the bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree.
Rafiki from “The Lion King” is a mandrill-baboon hybrid that lives in a baobab tree. He is the old and wise character in the film/musical, and often serves as the narrator. In the movies, Rafiki is a male character, voiced by Robert Guillaume. In the follow-on musical version, Rafiki is a female character, and sings one of the great songs from “The Lion King”, “Circle of Life”.
15. Poland Spring rival : AQUAFINA
Aquafina is Pepsico brand of bottled water, that just comes from regular public water but is purified. Poland Spring is a Nestle brand of bottled water, that has been around since the late 1800s. The water comes from various sources around the state of Maine, and is the top-selling spring water in the US.
18. Gangster’s piece : ROSCOE
Roscoe is a slang term for a gun, especially a handgun when used in gangster circles of old.
22. Bunny lover : HEF
Hugh Hefner is from Chicago. His first job was in the military, where he worked as a writer for an Army newspaper (from 1944-46). He went to college after his military service, and then worked as a copywriter for “Esquire” magazine. He left “Esquire” to found his own magazine, “Playboy”, which was first published in 1953. It has been around ever since.
23. Some exciting plays: Abbr. : INTS
I guess this stands for “interceptions”.
27. Davis in Hollywood : GEENA
As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer, and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. She is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …
31. Many 61-Across : ONE-AS
The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System. In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).
33. French caricaturist Daumier : HONORE
Honore Daumier was a French caricaturist, but also a respected painter, sculptor and printmaker.
34. Baba Looey was his deputy : QUICK DRAW MCGRAW
Quick Draw McGraw was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon show starring Quick Draw the horse, a sheriff in the old West. His deputy was also an equine creature, Baba Looey, a Mexican burro. When I was a little kid I had curtains on my bedroom window featuring Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. Happy days …
38. Longtime drink nickname, with “the” : UNCOLA
7 Up was introduced to the world as “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”, and was a patent medicine that contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug. Paradoxically, it came on the market in 1929, just two weeks before the Wall Street Crash. The “Uncola” campaign dates back to 1967 would you believe?
39. Rapper/actor Woolard who starred in “Notorious“, 2009 : JAMAL
Jamal Woolard (aka Gravy)is an American rapper, and also an actor. He played the title role in the 2009 movie “Notorious” which was about the tragically shorted life of fellow rapper, Christopher Wallace (the Notorious B.I.G.). Wallace was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997.
40. Chemistry Nobelist Joliot-Curie : IRENE
Along with her husband, Frederick, Irene Joliot-Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. Irene was the daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie, who also won Nobel Prizes. Irene died when she was 58 years old, suffering from leukemia brought on her exposure to high doses of radiation. Her mother, Marie, died from aplastic anemia, also caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Marie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.
41. “East of Eden” twin : CAL
John Steinbeck considered “East of Eden” his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.
42. “Tubism” artist : LEGER
Fernand Leger was a French painter, and among his works was a series of paintings called “La Grande Parade”. I quite like his “Still Life with Beer Mug”, painted in 1921. Anything with beer! Leger painted a lot of cylindrical shapes in some works, his quirky version of cubism. As a result, one critic described Leger’s style as “tubism”.
46. Front : NOSE
I guess for something to be in front of you, it is under your nose.
47. Author of the best seller “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago” : ROYKO
Mike Ryko was a celebrated columnist who wrote for all the major Chicago newspapers. He also wrote several books, including the most famous, “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago” published in 1988. This unauthorized biography of the famous Chicago Mayor, portraying him as corrupt and a racist. The title spent 26 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
49. Pearl Harbor code word : TORA
The pre-determined code word to be used by the Japanese if they managed to achieve surprise in their attack on Pearl Harbor was tiger, or tora in Japanese. This gave the name to the excellent 1970 movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!”.
53. Overseas 4-Down : AMI
Ami is the French word for “pal”, if it’s a guy pal.
56. “Eureka!” : I’VE GOT IT
Eureka translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes as he stepped into his bath. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine the volume of a crown, something he needed to determine if it was made of pure gold, or was a forgery.
59. Opposite of garrulous : RETICENT
To be garrulous is to be tiresomely talkative. To be reticent is to be inclined to keep one’s thoughts to oneself.
60. Mavens : ADEPTS
I’ve always loved the word “maven”, another word for an expert. Maven comes into English from the Yiddish “meyvn”, someone who understands (I think).
1. Well-proportioned : ZAFTIG
A woman who is “zaftig” has a full and shapely figure. This comes from the Yiddish word “zaftik” meaning “juicy”. I am not going to touch that one …
3. Spanish bridge : PUENTE
Puente is the Spanish word for “bridge”.
4. Alter ego : PAL
An alter ego is normally used in the sense of being another side to one’s own personality. However, it can also be used to describe an intimate friend or a constant companion.
5. Bog youngsters : EFTS
Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals in the world. They are found all over the world, living on land or in the water depending on the species, but always associated with water, even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start of as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants, unlike the eggs of frogs and toads which float freely. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.
6. Bushrope : LIANA
Liane is better known as liana, and is the name give to vines that generally grow in moist areas such as rain forests. They grow using the trees in teh forest as support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines.
7. Labyrinth : INNER EAR
A labyrinth is another word for a maze, and is named after the maze in which the Minotaur was confined in Greek Mythology. In anatomical terms, the complex interconnecting cavities of the inner ear are known as the labyrinth.
8. Like all new deliveries? : NAKED AS A JAYBIRD
The phrase “naked as a jaybird” dates back at least to 1943. Before that, back into the late 1800s, the equivalent phrase was “naked as a robin”. Going back further in time, there was a phrase “naked as a needle” used in the late 1500s.
9. Uninvited cornfield guest : BORER
The Corn Borer is a pest found in cornfields, and is actually a moth whose larvae bore into the woody parts of the corn.
10. Parts of décadas : ANOS
In span, anos (years) are grouped into decadas (decades).
11. Covert W.W. II grp. : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. Within a few years of the end of the war, the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency, chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
13. Healing helper : ALOE VERA
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically active compounds that have been extensively studied. Regardless of the studies, aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.
21. Sound from the anteater in “B.C.” : ZOT
“B.C.” is a comic strip that was drawn by Johnny Hart, and now since Hart’s passing, is produced by his grandson. Hart introduced “B.C.” in 1958. One of the non-human characters in the strip is the Anteater, who sucks up ants with his sticky tongue making a ZOT! sound. Hart’s Anteater is the inspiration for Peter the Anteater, the team mascot for UC Irvine. Johnny Hart’s other famous comic strip is the the brilliant “The Wizard of Id”.
24. Summer treat : SNO-CONE
A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Italian ice is made with ice that is flavored before the water is frozen, whereas the flavoring is added to the ice in a sno-cone.
26. Flapper feature : RINGLET
Flappers were the so-called new breed of young women of the twenties. The flappers wore their hair short (with ringlets), wore short skirts, and generally rebelled against the accepted norms of the time. The term “flapper” comes from the 1920 movie “The Flapper” starring Olive Thomas as a young woman who lived the more liberal lifestyle that was emerging.
28. What an espadrille may be tied around : ANKLE
An espadrille is sandal, with its origins in the Pyrenees. The shoe is traditionally made from rope and canvas, and often laces would extend from the shoe and wrap around the ankle to secure the shoe to the foot.
30. Middle : FOCAL
I guess something described as “focal” could be said to be “middle”.
32. Soprano Christiane ___-Pierre : EDA
Christiane Eda-Pierre is a French soprano, originally from Martinique.
34. Track betting option : QUINELLA
The bet called a “quinella” is one in which the better must name the first two finishers, but not necessarily in the right order. The term comes from the French word “quine”, the word which also gave us the name of the casino game, Keno.
36. Devil’s wear? : ICE SKATE
The New Jersey Devils are the professional ice hockey team based in Newark. The club was founded in 1974, in Kansas City, originally as the Mohawks, but was quickly renamed the Scouts. The franchise moved to Denver in 1976, becoming the Colorado Rockies. The move to Newark happened in 1982, when the team was renamed the New Jersey Devils.
41. Stroking coordinator : COX
The coxswain of a boat is one in charge, particularly of its steering and navigating. The name is shortened to “cox” particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.
44. Regal trim : ERMINE
Ermine is another name for the stoat. The stoat has dark, brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is reserved for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty, often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.
45. John of Broadway and his Grammy-winning daughter : RAITTS
Bonnie Raitt is a blues singer, originally from Burbank, California. She has one nine Grammies for her work, but she is perhaps as well known for her political activism as she is for her music. She was no fan of President George W. Bush, and she sure did show it.
Bonnie’s father, John Raitt, was an actor and also a singer. He was best known for his stage work and leading roles in the great Broadway musicals. His only film lead was in the 1957 movie “The Pajama Game”, starring opposite Doris Day.
48. River that drains the Everglades into Biscayne Bay : OLETA
The Oleta River runs just north of Miami, and drains the northern Everglades into Biscayne Bay. The Oleta River shoreline runs for about 7 miles and is undeveloped, a haven in the middle of the the largely built-up Miami-Dada County.
51. Opposite of bas : HAUT
In French, things can be bas (low) or haut (high).
52. Office workers’ letters : TGIF
Thank God It’s Friday is a relatively recent expression, first used in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR, in the early seventies.
57. 10, at times: Abbr. : OCT
In our Gregorian calendar, October is the tenth month of the year. In the old Roman calendar, it was the eight month, hence the name “October”, with “octo” as Latin for “eight”.