Although I am still making daily Blog posts, I am on vacation until August 15th. I am on an extended road trip around this lovely country, so some days I may not have Internet access and maybe late posting. If a post is missing, please check back later. Apologies for any inconvenience.
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: 7m 12s
THEME: WHAT A DEAL! … All the theme answers might cause one to respond with the words, “What a deal!” e.g. TRIPLE MILES, THREE FOR ONE
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Point that marks the beginning of a change : CUSP
The word “cusp” comes from the Latin “cuspis” meaning “point”.
9. Blunder : GAFFE
Our word “gaffe” , meaning a social blunder, comes from the French word “gaffe” meaning “clumsy remark”, although it originally was the word for “boat hook”. The exact connection between a boat hook and a blunder seems to be unclear.
14. Palo ___, Calif. : ALTO
The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for “the tall stick”) that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall, and over a thousand years old.
16. Affliction said to be caused by worry : ULCER
A peptic ulcer, until fairly recently, was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in associated with a particular bacterium.
17. One of 12 for the Alcoholics Anonymous program : STEP
Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935, by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. As the organization grew, the guiding principles established by the founders was formatted into a 12-step program that was in place by the time the forties rolled round.
18. Robust : HALE
“Hale” is an adjective meaning “healthy”. Both the words “hale” and “healthy” derive from the the Old English “hal” meaning healthy.
20. Special offer at an airline Web site : TRIPLE MILES
23. Japanese electronics brand : SANYO
Sanyo is a Japanese electronics manufacturer, based near Osaka, founded in 1947. The company name means “three oceans” reflecting the original aim to sell its products all around the world (across the three oceans of Atlantic, Pacific and Indian).
24. Scottish castle for British royals : BALMORAL
Balmoral Castle is a favorite summer hangout for the British Royal Family, located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The castle and estate was originally purchased for the family in 1852 by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. When Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997, the Queen and her family, including Charles and his children, were in residence at Balmoral. It was there that she decided to stay after the loss, as opposed to returning to London and leading a public period of mourning. As we now, that decision creating a tremendous amount of public dismay.
29. Special offer at a supermarket : THREE FOR ONE
35. Scuba tankful : AIR
Jacques-Yves Cousteau started off his career in the French Navy, heading for a working life in aviation. Because of a car accident, he had to abandon that objective, and instead went to sea. Famously, he invented the aqualung, and is known as the father of SCUBA diving.
36. Midwest tribe : KIOWA
The Kiowa Native American tribe are presently located in Southwestern Oklahoma, but originated in the Northern Plains. Back in 1790, the Kiowa made peace with the Comanche people, and entered into a pact of mutual cooperation that benefited both tribes. They made that pact in a place that today we call Las Vegas, Nevada.
39. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” writer : POE
“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, and is recognized as the first “detective story” ever written.
46. Special offer at a diner : FREE REFILLS
50. Element with the symbol Ta : TANTALUM
Tantalum is a very rare metal, very resistant to corrosion. It’s main use today is in tantalum capacitors found on circuit boards. It is also very benign if inserted in the human body, so is used in the manufacture of body implants.
51. Rotini or rigatoni : PASTA
Rotini is the corkscrew-shaped pasta that is often used in pasta salads.
Rigatoni is a tubular pasta, relatively short, with ridges along its length.
56. Special offer at a car dealership : NO MONEY DOWN
63. Fox’s “American ___” : IDOL
“American Idol” is a spin-off show, created after the amazing success of the British television show “Pop Idol”. I hate the program …
64. Sir Geraint’s wife, in Arthurian legend : ENID
Enid is a Welsh name, from “einit” an old Welsh word meaning “purity”. Geraint was one of King Arthur’s knights, and Enid his wife, “the personification of spotless purity”.
65. François’s farewell : ADIEU
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye”, or “farewell”, from “a Dieu” meaning “to God”.
66. Mission control org. : NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was set up in 1958.
67. Prince Charles’s sister : ANNE
Anne, Princess Royal was born in 1950, the only daughter of British Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne has been in the public spotlight for many things, including here success as an Equestrian. Princess Anne is the only member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games.
68. ___ pole (Indian emblem) : TOTEM
Totem is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people, such as a tribe. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature, often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.
69. Campbell who sang “Rhinestone Cowboy” : GLEN
I went to a Glen Campbell concert in Reno many, many years ago, and I was surprised by how many hits the man has had over the years. He really is one of the original crossover artists between country and popular music, as is evidenced by his winning Grammy Awards in both categories in 1967. That year he won the country award for “Gentle on My Mind” and the pop award for “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”.
70. Corrosive alkalis : LYES
Historically, lye was hydrated potash (potassium hydroxide). Nowadays when we purchase lye it is caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). Crystal Drano was developed in 1932 by one Harry Drackett, who produced the product in his own company until it was bought over in 1965 by Bristol Myers. The crystalline form of Drano is sodium hydroxide (lye) as well as sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The product works as the lye reacts with any fats in the clog forming soap. The lye also reacts with finely divided aluminum generating tremendous heat, creating boiling and churning so that any hair or other deposits are cut by the sharp edges of the crystals. Having said that, boiling water poured down the drain is often just as effective.
1. Groups on “Saturday Night Live” : CASTS
NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” in 1975, under the title “NBC’s Saturday night”. The show was created in the first place in order to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. In those days, “The Tonight Show” has a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday episodes and hold them for weeknights in which Carson was taking a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to pull together a variety show to fill the vacant slot.
2. The “U” of UHF : ULTRA
The radio spectrum is the is divided up into bands based on the frequency. So, a high band would be a band with relatively high frequencies. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency, or VHF. On the other hand, AM radio uses lower frequencies, and so falls into the lower bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF). Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF).
3. Writer Gertrude : STEIN
Gertrude Stein was a great American writer, who spent most of her life in France. Gertrude Stein met Alice B. Toklas in Paris in 1907, and the two were life partners until Stein died in 1946. Cleverly, Stein published her own memoirs in 1933, but calling the book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas“. It was to become her best selling title.
4. Opium flower : POPPY
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sax of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.
6. What buffalo do in “Home on the Range” : ROAM
The words of “Home on the Range” came before the music, a poem called “My Western Home” from the 1870s written by a Dr. Brewster Higley of Kansas. The music was added by Daniel Kelley, a friend of Higley. And now, a version of the song is the state song of Kansas.
7. .45, e.g., for a firearm : CALIBER
In a gun, its caliber is the diameter of its barrel (approximately). Bullets are just a little smaller than the diameter of the barrel, so bullets are also classified by caliber. So, a “forty-five”, has a diameter of 0.45 inches.
8. Upright, inscribed stone tablets : STELAE
Stelae were used all over the world, sometimes as territorial markers, and sometimes to commemorate military victories. In later times stelae were commonly erected as commemorative markers in graveyards or other religious sites.
9. TV western that ran for 20 seasons : GUNSMOKE
James Arness played the role of Marshall Mat Dillon on “Gunsmoke” for twenty years, although if you count the occasions when he reprised the role for specials, he actually performed as Matt Dillon over five decades. And, did you know that Peter Graves, the actor who played Jim Phelps on “Mission: Impossible”, his real name was Peter Arness. He and James were brothers.
10. Muhammad ___, opponent of 53-Down : ALI
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta? Ali won a gold medal in the 1960 games, which he threw into the Ohio River after being refused service at a “whites only” restaurant. He was presented with a replacement medal during the 1996 Games.
11. TV monitor? : FCC
TV broadcasting is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.
27. Egypt’s Sadat : ANWAR
Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt (succeeding President Nasser), right up the time of his assassination in 1981. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979 that followed the Camp David Peace Accords. It was this move that largely led to his assassination two years later.
33. Snake that a snake charmer charms : COBRA
The archetypal snake charmer “hypnotizes” a cobra, charming it with music he plays with a flute-like instrument, so that the snake stands vertically, swaying to the music. The snake actually sways with the motion of the end of the instrument, as the charmer moves it from side to side.
34. Sixth-grader, usually : TWEEN
The term “tween” is now used to describe preadolescence, the years between 10 and 12 years of age.
47. “Shine a Little Love” rock grp. : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. Their manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).
52. “What ___!” (possible response to 20-, 29-, 46- and 56-Across) : A DEAL
53. ___ Liston, opponent of 10-Down : SONNY
Sonny Liston won the heavyweight boxing championship in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round. Liston suffered a first round defeat himself in 1965, to Muhammad Ali. The picture of Ali standing over Liston was featured on the cover of a special “Sports Illustrated” edition featuring “The Century’s Greatest Sports Photos”.
58. Verve : ELAN
Elan: ardor inspired by passion or enthusiasm. I guess that could be “verve”.