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: 36m 55s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … CLAROS (CHAROS), ALALA (AHALA)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
20. Capital 7,200 feet above sea level : SANAA
Sana (also Sanaa) is the capital city of Yemen. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site.
21. Poltergeist output : NOISES
A poltergeist is a spirit or ghost that makes its presence known by making noises or by moving objects. The term poltergeist is German, coming from “poltern” meaning “to rumble” or “to make a noise”, and “Geist”, the German for “ghost” or “spirit”.
22. It’s south of Sp. : MOR
Morocco is lies just 9 miles south of Spain, across the Straits of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea.
23. Tree line stats. : ALTS
Tree line is noted at a particular altitude (alt.).
26. “Is ___?” : IT I
Perhaps the most famous rendition of the words “Is it I”, comes from the Bible, Matthew 2:25. When Jesus is talking of his pending betrayal, Judas asks Him, “Is it I?”
27. Keebler’s head elf and others : ERNIES
The famous Keebler Elves have been appearing in ads for Keebler since 1968. The original head of the elves was J. J. Keebler, but he was toppled from power by Ernest J. Keebler in 1970.
28. Dressing holder : CRUET
A cruet is a small glass bottle for holding a condiment or perhaps a dressing. The word “cruet” comes from the Old French word for an earthen pot.
31. Sitcom sports agent Michaels : ARLISS
“Arli$$” is an HBO sitcom about a sports agent, Arliss Michaels, played by Robert Wuhl. Nearly every episode of the show features a guest appearance by some real personality from the world of sports. The most frequent guest to make an appearance is broadcaster Bob Costas (5 times) and fellow sportscaster Van Earl Wright coming in second at 4 appearances.
32. What goes around at a hoedown? : DO-SI-DO
The term do-si-do is actually a corruption of a French phrase “dos-a-dos”, meaning back-to-back. And parenthetically, this is just the opposite to the familiar French term “vis-a-vis”, meaning face-to-face. In the dance move, the partners start facing each other, then advance past each other’s right shoulder, and then move to the right without turning so that they are now facing away from each other (back-to-back). They complete the move facing in the same directing, passing each other’s left shoulders by moving backwards until they return to the starting position.
33. Big Dipper star : ALIOTH
If you look up at the Big Dipper in the sky, the first star in the handle, the one closest to the bowl of the dipper, that is Alioth. The name Alioth comes from the Arabic word “alyat” meaning “fat tail of a sheep”.
34. Bath hub? : CENTRE
I once spent a lovely Christmas in the gorgeous city of Bath in the south west of England. It is an old spa town established by the Romans, hence the name of the city. If you ever visit, be sure to tour the old Roman baths.
35. Sowing pioneer : APPLESEED
Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman. By all accounts, Johnny was a remarkable man, someone who would have fitted right in with today’s culture as we become more environmentally conscious. He lived a minimalist lifestyle, going barefoot in summer to save on shoe leather. He was a vegetarian, and had great respect for all animal life, including insects.
38. Court whizzes : ACERS
Acers are real whizzes on a tennis court.
39. Some smokes : CLAROS
A claro is mild cigar made with light-colored tobacco. The name comes from the Spanish for “clear”.
40. Peace Nobelist Kim ___ Jung : DAE
Kim Dae-jung was the President of South Korea from 1998 to 2003. He had a policy of engagement with North Korea, and even even had an official meeting with Kim Jong-il in 2000 in Pyongyang. Although his approach, called the Sunshine Policy, did not appear to yield much success, his efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.
41. Italian novelist Morante : ELSA
Elsa Moranta was an Italian novelist, married to fellow novelist Alberto Moravia. She lived in Rome for almost all of her life, only leaving there for part of WWII as both she and her husband were half-Jewish. That flight from Italy was inspiration for her most famous work, “Las storia” (The history).
43. 47-Across personnel: Abbr. : DIRS
There are lots of directors working at Universal Studios.
44. Screened city dweller? : SIM
“SimCity” is a very clever computer game, in which players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. “SimCity” first came out in 1989, and to this day is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.
45. Tennis’s Fraser and others : NEALES
Neale Fraser is a former tennis player from Australia. Fraser won Wimbledon in 1960, and the US Open in 1959 and 1960. He also captained the Australian Davis Cup team for 24 years, during which Australia won the tournament four times.
46. High-profile defendant of 1992 : GOTTI
John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family from 1985 (when his predecessor was gunned down, allegedly on Gotti’s orders) until he was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Gotti died of throat cancer after ten years behind bars, in 2002.
47. “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” producer : UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
Universal Studios gained quite a reputation for producing “monster movies” in the thirties. Included in the list of hits was the 1931 “Dracula”, starring Bela Lugosi, and “Frankenstein” from the same year starring Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.
50. Clio maker : RENAULT
The Renault Clio is a small car first produced in 1990. It is still being manufactured, now in its third generation. It is hugely successful for Renault, helping to restore it’s reputation after a difficult time in the 1980s.
52. What MapQuest requests : ADDRESS
MapQuest produced its first maps online in 1996 (although didn’t use the name MapQuest until 1999). The company had been around in various forms though since 1967, making maps in various formats, mainly under the name GeoSystems Global Corporation.
4. Cantina cookware : OLLAS
An olla is a ceramic jar, usually used for cooking stews.
5. Gran Bretaña, e.g. : ISLA
In Spanish, Gran Bretaña (Great Britain) is an isla (an island).
6. Start of the second half? : NOP
The second half of the alphabet starts with the letters: N, O, P.
8. Sting participant : STOOLIE
Stoolie is short for “stool pigeon”, a police informant. The term “stool pigeon” comes from the practice of tying a pigeon to a stool to attract other pigeons.
9. First and last quarters, e.g. : PHASES
The first and last quarters reference is to the phases of the moon.
11. Participants in the annual Safety Dance : ELIS
The largest annual dance at Yale is an 80s-themed party at Silliman College, called the Safety Dance. The name comes from 80s hit from Men Without Hats, called “The Safety Dance“. Oh, and Eli is the nickname for a student at Yale, taken from the university’s benefactor, Elihu Yale.
12. One of four in Mississippi: Abbr. : SYL
There are four syllables in “Mississippi” … go ahead, count them …
13. Revealing issue : SWIMSUIT EDITION
The first swimsuit edition of “Sports Illustrated” magazine was published in 1964, a successful attempt to boost sales during the slow winter months.
19. They were black and yellow in old medicine : BILES
Greek and Roman physicians ascribed to the theory that the body had four basic substances, the so-called four humors. All diseases were caused by these four substances getting out of balance. The four humors were:
– Black bile (melancolia)
– Yellow Bil (cholera)
– Phlegm (phlegma)
– Blood (sanguis)
Clearly, some of those ancient terms have found their way into modern medicine.
25. Jimmy Johnson title comics character and others : ARLOS
The comic strip “Arlo and Janis” is written by Jimmy Johnson.
27. 10-Down commanders : EMIRS
Emirs are “robed” commanders in the Middle East. In English, emir can also be written as amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).
30. Senate stars? : ASTRA
In the old Roman Senate, people talked about the “stars” in Latin, so they would have called them “astra”.
33. Social time at the lodge : APRES-SKI
Apres-ski is a French term, meaning “after skiing”, and refers to the good times to be had after coming off the slopes.
34. Bard’s break : CAESURA
In poetry, a caesura is an audible pause that breaks up a line of verse. An example would be (from Alexander Pope): “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
35. Brown-tinged Hawaiian crow : ALALA
The alala is also known as the Hawaiian Crow. Sadly, the alala is now extinct in the wild. It is thought likely that diseases deliberately introduced into the general bird population by man were probably to blame.
42. Blackbirds : MERLS
A merl (or merle) is often called a blackbird over in Europe. The male merl is completely black, with a yellow beak.
45. ___ Zürcher Zeitung (leading Swiss daily) : NEUE
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung is one of the oldest newspapers that is still published, first appearing in 1780. The name translates to the “New Zurich Newspaper”.
46. Magazine contents : GUNS
The word “magazine” was originally used to denote a place for storing goods, particularly military arms and ammunition. This usage dates back to the late 150os. The first use of “magazine” in the sense of a periodical or journal dates back to 1731, with the publication of “Gentleman’s Magazine”. The title was used as “magazine” had come to mean a printed list of military stores, and the idea was that the new periodical was to be a “storehouse” of information.
48. Dictionary abbr. : VAR
Dictionaries list variants of words.
49. “___ so appalling – it exhilarates”: Dickinson : ‘TIS
“‘Tis so appalling – it exhilarates” is a poem that Emily Dickinson wrote, exploring the Gothic style, coupling words with apparent opposite meanings, such as “appalling” and “exhilarates”.