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: 32m 00s
THEME: As Elmer Fudd would say … all the theme answers are well-known phrases, but heard as from Elmer Fudd (who has a lisp) e.g. SO SHALL YE WEEP (so shall ye reap), TOWEL WHACKS (towel racks)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … MENOTTI (MANOTTI), AVEDON (AVADON)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
8. Deadly African biter : MAMBA
The mamba, and most famously the black mamba, is a highly venomous snake, that used to be responsible for a great number of fatalities, before anti-venoms became available. Mamba enom is a deadly mix of neurotoxins that attack the nervous system, and cardiotoxins that attack the heart, so a bite if untreated causes the lungs and the heart to shut down.
19. Like a bogey or double bogey : OVER PAR
The term Bogey originated at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England, in 1890, and was used to indicate a total round that was one over par. The name Bogey came from a music hall song of the time “Here Comes the Bogey Man”. In the following years it became popular for players trying to stay at par to be “playing against Colonel Bogey”. Then, during WWI, the marching tune “Colonel Bogey” was written, and named after the golfing term. If you don’t recognize the name of the tune, it’s the one that’s whistled by the soldiers marching in the great movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.
22. “Amahl and the Night Visitors” composer : MENOTTI
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” has a special place in the repertoire, in that it is the first opera specifically composed for American television. It was commissioned by NBC and written by Gian Carlo Minotti, and first performed at the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve, 1951. In today’s world of commercially-driven television, I don’t see that happening again …
23. Part of a biblical warning against growing onions? : SO SHALL YE WEEP
(So shall ye reap)
The commonly quoted lines “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” is not actually a direct quote from the Bible, although the sentiment is expressed at least twice. In the Book of Job is the line “They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same”. And in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians is the line “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.
29. French wine classification : CRU
“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry, and it means “growth place”. So, it is the name of the place where the grapes were grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing “great” wines. Grand cru is reserved for the very best vineyards, with premier cru the level just below.
30. Some locker room tomfoolery? : TOWEL WHACKS
36. Jerusalem’s Mosque of ___ : OMAR
The Siege of Jerusalem took place in the year 637. The Rashidun Army lay siege to Jerusalem which was in the hands of the Byzantine Empire. In order for the city to surrender, the Caliph Omar had to travel himself to Jerusalem. As victor, Omar was invited to pray in the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Out of respect for the Christian edifice, Omar refused to go into the church and instead prayed outside in the courtyard. Just over 500 years later, the Mosque of Omar was built on the site where Omar prayed, right opposite the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The phrase “life of Reilly” dates back to at least 1919. it may originate from a song from the 1880s about a man called O’Reilly, and how he became rich and lived an easy life.
The Road Runner’s nemesis in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons is the hapless Wile E. Coyote. Clearly, the name “Wile E.” is a play on the word “wily”.
49. Cartesian conclusion : I AM
Anything pertaining the philosophy of the great Rene Descartes can be given the adjective “Cartesian”. He made the famous statement, in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum” … “I think, therefore I am”.
50. “___ Ben Jonson!” : O RARE
Ben Johnson was a contemporary of William Shakespeare, and just like Shakespeare, Jonson was a dramatist, poet and actor. Jonson is buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey in London. The inscription on the slab covering his grave reads ” O Rare Ben Johnson”. There is much debate over the meaning of the inscription. Does it mean what it says, “Oh, you rare one, Ben Jonson!”, or should the inscription really be “Orare Ben Johnson”, translating from Latin into “Pray for Ben Jonson”. A conundrum indeed …
52. OPEC unit: Abbr. : BBL
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.
Ralph Nader has run as a third party candidate for the office of President of the United States four times now, in every election since 1996. Nader’s name was first linked with the presidential race in 1971, when the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock offered to stand aside as candidate in the 1972 race if Nader would agree to run, but he declined.
“Nader’s Raiders” is the name given to the hundreds of young activists that came to Washington to help Ralph Nader in work investigating government corruption.
63. Georgetown hoopster : HOYA
The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from a traditional “cheer” yelled out at Georgetown games, as far back as 1893: “Hoya Saxa”. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word “hoya” meaning “such” or “what”, and “saxa” translating from Latin as “rocks” or “small stones”. The cheer is usually rendered into English as “what rocks!”.
65. Buck : CLAM
“Buck” and “clam” are both slang terms for “a dollar”. The term “buck” has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days. It has been suggested that “clam” has a similar derivation, a throwback to the supposed use of clams as units of currency in ancient cultures.
68. Pretty fat, actually? : THIN AS A WHALE
(thin as a rail)
74. Garb for Gandhi : DHOTI
A dhoti is a tradition garment worn by men in India, It is a rectangular piece of cloth, really quite large, perhaps around 7 yards long. It is wrapped around the waist and legs, and knotted at the waist.
75. First Baseball Hall-of-Famer, alphabetically : AARON
The great Hank Aaron has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.
77. Tabriz native : IRANIAN
Tabriz is a large city in the very northwest of Iran.
79. Marco Polo’s destination : ORIENT
Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice, and famous traveler throughout Asia. He journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco is the one we remember today because he documented their travels in the book “Il Milione“.
80. React to a bitter mouthwash? : GARGLE AND WINCE
(gargle and rinse)
85. Mae West’s “___ Day’s a Holiday” : EVERY
Not only did Mae West play the lead role of Peaches O’Day in the 1937 movie “Every Day’s a Holiday“, but she was also the co-writer of the script. I’d say that would be worth watching …
86. 2003 disease scare : SARS
Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a viral disease in humans that went pandemic in 2003/2003. There were over 8,000 confirmed cases, and 12 confirmed deaths from the disease during that outbreak. There have been no known cases since 2003, although the disease has not yet been declared as “eradicated”.
87. Battle of Normandy town : ST-LO
Saint-Lo is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads, and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After the bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.
92. PBS staple since 1974 : NOVA
When I was growing up in Ireland I used to watch a wonderful BBC television science show called “Horizon”, that had been on the air since 1964. In 1974, PBS struck a deal with the BBC to co-produce a very similar show for American audiences called “Nova”. Often today, a “Horizon” show will simply be a “Nova” episode voiced over by an English narrator, and vice versa. Anyway, for my money, “Nova” is one of the best shows on television …
93. Barney of Mayberry : FIFE
Barney Fife is a deputy sheriff in the sleepy old town of Mayberry. Barney was played by comic actor Don Knotts.
94. Sloven in the coven? : FILTHY WITCH
98. Author Umberto : ECO
Umberto Eco is an Italian writer, probably best known for his novel “In the Name of the Rose” published in 1980. “In the Name of the Rose” was adapted for the big screen in 1986, in a movie of the same name, starring Sean Connery.
99. Timbales player Puente : TITO
After serving in the navy in WWII for three years, Tito Puente studied at Julliard, gaining a great grounding in conducting, orchestration and theory. He parlayed this education into a career in Latin Jazz and Mambo. As well being called El Rey, he was known as “The King of Latin Music”.
Timables are a Cuban invention, shallow drums in a metal casing.
100. Loose smock : CAMISE
A camise is just that, a loose shirt or tunic.
101. ’33 Chicago World’s Fair style : DECO
Art Deco was the name given to the design and architecture of the 1920s, which actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe and later arriving in North America. A celebrated example of the art deco form is the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City, completed in 1930.
The 1993 World Fair in Chicago went by the name of “A Century of Progress International Exposition”. One of the major events during the fair was the arrival of the Graf Zeppelin, the German airship. The magnificent vehicle circled Lake Michigan in sight of the fair for two hours before landing at a nearby airport. However, the sight of the German airship was a reminder of the rise to power of Adolf Hitler earlier that year, and created some trouble within the German-American community in the day’s following the visit.
102. Advice to someone going to the Egg-Beaters’ Convention? : TAKE A BIG WHISK
(take a big risk)
2. Photographer Richard : AVEDON
Richard Avedon was an American photographer. He was the inspiration for the character “Dick Avery” played by Fred Astaire in the wonderful film “Funny Face” starring Audrey Hepburn in the title role. Avedon’s most famous portrait is a close up Audrey Hepburn, whom Avedon referred to as his muse.
3. Gets more InStyle, say : RENEWS
InStyle is a monthly fashion magazine for women. I had no idea …
6. Singer : RAT
If you sing to sing to the cops, you’re a rat.
7. Singer Yearwood : TRISHA
Trisha Yearwood is an American country music singer. She was discovered by the man who is now her third husband, country music legend Garth Brooks.
10. Nine daughters of Zeus : MUSES
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses seems to be debated a lot, but the most popular view is that there are nine:
Calliope (epic poetry)
Erato (lyric poetry)
Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
11. Curmudgeonly cries : BAHS
Curmudgeon the my wife’s favorite term for describing me. A curmudgeon is a bad-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions. I am sure she means it very affectionately …
12. ___ king : A LA
A dish prepared “a la king” (usually chicken or turkey), is food prepared in a cream sauce, with mushrooms, pimentos, green peppers and sherry.
13. Actress Meadows : JAYNE
Jayne Meadows is an American actress, actually born in China (her parents were Episcopal missionaries). Jayne is the sister of Audry Meadows, the actress that played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners”. Jayne was also married to comedian Steve Allen, until his death in 2000.
14. ___ of Solomon : ODES
The Odes of Solomon are a group of 42 religious poems that have been attributed to Solomon, one of the Kings of Israel.
21. Totally wasted : BLOTTO
The term “blotto” meaning “drunk” dates back to the early 1900s. It supposedly is derived from the word “blot”, in the sense that being drunk you must have soaked up whole load of booze.
27. Added-on Medicare provisions : PART B
Medicare is divided into four parts:
A: Hospital Insurance
B: Medical Insurance
C: Medicare Advantage Plans
D: Prescription Drug Plans
32. Saddam reportedly hid them, briefly : WMDS
The first recorded use of the term “Weapon of Mass Destruction” (WMD) was in a 1937. The words were used by Cosmo Gordon Lang, the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, in reference to the bombardment Guernica in Spain during the Spanish Civil by the German Luftwaffe. He said, “Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new weapons of mass destruction?”
33. Tips, in a way : DOFFS
One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”.
34. ____-flam : FLIM
Flim-flam is another word for a confidence trick. The term has been in use since the 1500s, would you believe?
37. Beer brand originating in Brooklyn : PIELS
The Piels Brewery in Brooklyn was found by the three Piels brothers back in 1883. It must have been a great place to work, because the Piels employees were apparently guaranteed cold beer on tap 24 hours a day by virtue of their union contract.
38. Marshy tract : SWALE
A swale is a narrow tract of low-lying land that is usually wet or marshy. It can be naturally occurring or man made. One might create a swale to help manage drainage of adjacent land.
41. Gossipy Hopper : HEDDA
Hedda Hopper was a gossip columnist, famous for her long-running feud with her rival gossip columnist Louella Parsons.
42. Nobel laureate Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel is a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” which tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
44. Calf bone : FIBULA
The fibula is the calf bone, and lies beside the tibia, with both bones sitting under the femur.
46. Clay, e.g. : ORATOR
Henry Clay was a statesman from Kentucky well known for his gift as an orator. He was very persuasive in his arguments in favor of war with Britain resulting in the War of 1812. In 1957, a Senate committee chaired by John F. Kennedy declared Henry Clay one of the five greatest senators in american history.
47. Golden Globe winner Pia : ZADORA
Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Her most famous role was in 1982 film “Butterfly” in which she got to work with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel “The Butterfly” by James M. Cain, and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.
52. Rite for a newborn Jewish boy : BRIS
A mohel is a man who has been trained in the practice of Brit milah (circumcision). Brit maleh is known as “bris” in Yiddish.
53. 1958 #1 hit by Domenico Modugno : VOLARE
The song we know as “Volare” doesn’t actually have that name. It’s real name is “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (In the Blue Painted Blue). The Italian lyrics tell of how the singer feels like he is flying when he is with his lover. And “Volare”, is the Italian for “to fly”. The original version has a prelude, which helps put the blue and the flying in perspective … “I think that a dream like that will never return; I painted my hands and my face blue, then was suddenly swept up by the wind and started to fly in the infinite sky.”
54. King Arthur’s burial place : AVALON
Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legends. The name Avalon probably comes from the word “afal”, the Welsh word for “apple”, reflecting the fact that the island was famous for its beautiful apples. Avalon is where King Arthur’s famous sword (Excalibur) was forged, and supposedly where Arthur was buried.
59. “The Fountainhead” writer Rand : AYN
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” in 1957. Back in 1951, Ayn Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the “founding members” was future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan.
60. New Deal inits. : TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority has to be one of America’s great success stories when it comes to economic development. Created in 1933, the TVA spearheaded economic development in the Tennessee Valley at the height of the Great Depression. Central to the success was the federally funded construction of flood control and electricity generation facilities.
61. “To life!” : L’CHAIM
“L’Chaim” is a Hebrew toast meaning “to life”, as “chai” is the Hebrew word for “life”.
64. So-called “Giant Brain” of 1946 : ENIAC
The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. ENIAC was the first general-purpose electronic computer. It’s first job was make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb, and it was later used to create artillery firing tables. Given its uses, it’s not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.
69. “___ soit qui mal y pense” (old motto) : HONI
“Honi soit qui mal y pense” is the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter. It translates (loosely) as “Evil be to him who evil thinks”. Apparently the motto dates back to King Edward III was dancing with Joan of Kent. Poor Jane suffered the humiliation of having her garter slip down her leg to her ankle, creating some laughter from onlookers. The king, made light of the incident, and placed the garter on his own leg saying, “Honi soit qui mal y pense”. The incident led to the naming of the Order, and the Order’s motto.
74. Rapper with the 6x platinum album “2001” : DR DRE
Dr. Dre won Grammy’s for the single “Let Me Ride” and the album “2001”.
76. Taj Mahal city : AGRA
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth, delivering the couple’s 14th child!
89. Nicks on a record? : STEVIE
Cleverly worded clue … Singer Stevie Nicks came to fame as the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac. She has a very distinctive voice, heard at its best in the famous 1977 album “Rumours”.
90. Sign of stress : ACCENT
Another clever clue … an accent is used to indicate when to stress a particular letter in a word.
94. Renaissance ___ (historical reenactment) : FAIRE
Renaissance Faires are usually set in the time of Elizabeth I of England, although other eras are often represented, and often at the same fair.
99. “Cheerio!” : TATA
An Englishman might say “tata” or “cheerio” instead of “goodbye”, well, supposedly so!
100. Carp family fish : CHUB
There is a whole family of fish called “chubs” including, European chubs, lake chubs, hornyhead chub, creek chubs, and a whole host of others.
104. New Deal inits. : WPA
The Work Progress Administration was the largest of the New Deal agencies. It employed millions of people during the Depression, putting them to work on various public works projects. The total spending through the WPA from 1936 to 1939 was nearly $7 billion.
106. Any of the Marquises, par exemple : ILE
The Marquesas Islands are known in French as the “Iles Marquises”. The Marquesas are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia in the Southern Pacific. In the 1500s the population of the Marquesas has been estimated at over 100,000. Then along come Western explorers, and western diseases. The Marquesas were hit the hardest by the introduction of diseases to which they had no resistance. By 1900 the ravaged population had been reduced to just over 2,000 people.
107. Child-care writer LeShan : EDA
Eda LeShan wrote “When Your Child Drives You Crazy“, and was host of the television show “How Do Your Children Grow?” on PBS.