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: 9m 27s
THEME: Is this the right day? … All the theme answers include a day of the week, and an abbreviated form of a different day of the week i.e. SUN on MONDAY, WED on THURSDAY, SAT on FRIDAY
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. “Roger that” sayer : CBER
CBer: someone operating a Citizens’ Band radio. The FCC set aside certain frequencies for the personal use of citizens in 1945, and its use increased right through the seventies, as advances in electronics brought down the size of the transceivers and their cost. There aren’t many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.
5. Cakes with a kick : BABAS
Rum baba is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. The rum baba recipe is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The word “baba”, and “babka”, mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!
10. “A ___ on you!” : POX
A pox was any of the diseases that produced “pocks” on the skin, eruptive pustules. The pox might be smallpox or chicken-pox perhaps. But, when cursing someone by saying “a pox on you” the reference was to the “great pox” … syphilis.
13. ___-kiri : HARA
“Harakiri” translates from Japanese into “cutting the belly”, and is a form of ritual suicide. Harakiri is the term used in speech which is equivalent to “seppuku”, the term used in writing for the same ritual suicide. The act is carried out by plunging a short blade into the belly and moving it from left to right, slicing through the organs within the abdomen.
14. Laughing gas, for one : OXIDE
Laughing gas is the common name for nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic, particularly by dentists. It is also used in motor racing to increase the power output of engines. Laughing gas was first synthesized by the English chemist Joseph Priestly, but it was Humphrey Davy who discovered its potential as an anesthetic. Once it was realized that the gas could the patient a fit of the giggles, “laughing gas parties” became common among those could afford them.
15. Mixologist’s instruction : POUR
A mixologist is someone who is well versed in the mixing of cocktails.
Amazon.com Widgets17. Finland-based communications giant : NOKIA
I do enjoy classical guitar music, but there isn’t a huge choice on CD. There is one very special piece, Gran Vals by Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902. This piece has a unique reputation as it contains a phrase that it is the most listened to piece of music in the whole world! Just a few bars into the work one can hear the omnipresent Nokia ring tone.
19. “Yada yada yada” : ETC
“The Yada Yada Yada” is actually the name of the 153rd episode of “Seinfeld”. Before “Seinfeld” made “yada yada yada” famous, the phrase “yadda yadda” was fairly common, often used by comedian Lenny Bruce for example.
20. Ironic weather forecast? : SUN ON MONDAY
Should there be SUN on SUNDAY, not MONDAY?
24. Alluringly slender : SVELTE
Svelte comes to English from Latin, via the Italian “svelto” meaning “stretched out”. As if I would know anything about svelte …
33. Ironic marriage plan? : WED ON THURSDAY
Shouldn’t one be WED on WEDNESDAY not THURSDAY?
39. Ride for Hawkeye or Radar : JEEP
The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.
Hawkeye and Radar, of course, were characters in the movie and TV sitcom M*A*S*H.
45. “Making something out of nothing and selling it,” per Frank Zappa : ART
Frank Zappa was an American composer and guitarist, a solo artist as well as the founding member of the rock band Mothers of Invention. You might like to meet his four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuuka Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.
46. Like dogs in packs : FERAL
Feral, meaning existing in a wild or untamed state, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “a wild animal”.
49. Classic Sinatra topper : FEDORA
A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …
50. Ironic exam schedule? : SAT ON FRIDAY
Shouldn’t exams be “SAT” on SATURDAY and not on FRIDAY?
54. Nellie who circled the world : BLY
Nellie Bly was a pen name of an American journalist whose real name was Elizabeth Cochran. In 1888 she took a trip around the world, emulating the fictional trip of Phileas Fogg in “Around the World in Eighty Days”. She departed from New York, and arrived back in San Francisco two behind schedule, jeopardizing her goal of beating the “eighty days”. The owner of her newspaper chartered a private train for her, and she made it back to New York in just over 72 days. Quite a woman …
56. Agent Swifty : LAZAR
Swifty was the nickname of talent agent Irving Paul Lazar. He mainly represented authors and movie stars, including Humphrey Bogart. When Lazar pulled off three major deals for him in just one day, Bogie gave Lazar the name “Swifty”, and it stuck.
59. Where élèves study : ECOLE
French for school (ecole) and French for pupil (eleve).
63. Army NCO : SSGT
Staff Sergeant is a rank of Non-Commissioned Officer in the army.
1. Orange munchies : CHEETOS
Cheetos snacks were developed by the same guy who created Fritos, hence the name. They’ve been on the market since 1948, and up until the turn of the century, the name was written “Chee-tos”. Oh, and Cheetos contain pork enzymes, so vegetarians beware!
Amazon.com Widgets3. Monty Python member : ERIC IDLE
If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Eric Idle, and was indeed written by him. The song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.
6. Neural transmitter : AXON
A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron, and the long nerve fiber that forms part of the neuron is called the axon.
7. Steven ___, subject of “Cry Freedom” : BIKO
“Cry Freedom” is a 1987 British film directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Denzel Washington. It tells the story of Steve Biko, a black activist in South Africa during the days of apartheid.
8. Point before “game,” maybe : AD IN
In tennis, “as in” is an informal way of saying “advantage” when announcing the score.
9. Clothes lines : SEAMS
Clever clue …
11. Bested at Nathan’s on July 4, e.g. : OUT ATE
Nathan’s Famous has held a Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4th since 1916, and always at the same location on Coney Island.
20. Stock unit: Abbr. : SHR
When purchasing stocks, one is purchasing “shares” in the ownership of a company.
21. Cameo shapes : OVALS
Cameo is a method of carving, often the carving of a gemstone or a piece of jewelry. The resulting image is in relief (sits proud of the background), whereas an engraved image would be produced by the similar carving method known as intaglio. Nowadays, the term cameo is used for any piece of oval-shaped jewelry that contains the image of a head, usually in profile (maybe even a photograph).
23. Turned right, like Dobbin : GEED
“Gee!” is a command given to a trained animal that is hauling something (like a horse or an ox), to turn to the right. The equivalent command for a left turn is “Haw!”
26. Midrange Volkswagen : JETTA
The name Jetta is one in a series of names used by Volkswagen related to winds. For example Jetta (from German for “jet stream””, Passat (from German for “trade wind”).
35. Spun 45s, say : DJED
Supposedly, the world’s first radio disk jockey was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California, in 1909 would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, he started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.
41. Home of St. Francis : ASSISI
St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228.
42. “S.N.L.” alum Kevin : NEALON
Off screen, Kevin Nealon is friends with fellow “Saturday Night Live” Dana Carvey. When Carvey landed a spot on SNL, he recommended Nealon and both stand-up comedians joined the cast in the same year, 1986.
43. Home runs, in slang : TATERS
Apparently, a baseball has long been referred to as a potato, or a “tater”. In the seventies, a long ball started to be called a “long tater”, and from this a home run became a “tater”.
46. Palin parodist : FEY
Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” won her an Emmy in 2009. The sketch she did with Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton remains NBC’s most popular Internet video clip. Within a few days of the broadcast it had been viewed 5.7 million times. Now that’s what I call viral video …
I was shocked to read that Tina Fey has a scar on her face, a few inches long on her left cheek, the result of a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old, playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How despicable!
52. Preppy shirt brand : IZOD
Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the royal. As she was just about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.
53. “The Persistence of Memory” artist : DALI
“The Persistence of Memory” is probably Salvador Dali’s most famous work, featuring the celebrated “melting clocks”. And you can see it in the MoMA in New York City.