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: Didn’t finish!
ANSWERS I MISSED: A few in the southwest …
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
1. Some Guinness Book listings : FIRSTS
“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling copyrighted series of books of all time, and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954, by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain on a TV show based on world records.
7. Sources of woods used for saunas : ASPENS
As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is pronounced “sow-nah” (as in the female pig, that is).
13. Literary character whose name is said to mean “laughing water” : MINNEHAHA
Minnehaha is a character featured in “The Song of Hiawatha“, the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published in 1855. The name Minnehaha translates in the Dakota language into “waterfall” or “rapid water”, and not into “laughing water” as is oft-quoted.
14. Nonabrasive leather : CHAMOIS
Chamois leather (often called “shammy” leather), used to be very commonly used to make gloves, and today is more often associated with polishing objects. Real chamois leather, often imitated, is made out of the skin of the chamois, a goat-antelope species native to some European mountain ranges.
18. Norwegian violinist ___ Bull : OLE
Ole Bull was a Norwegian violinist … but what a name! “Ole” and “Bull”!
Ole Bull visited the United States on more than one occasion, and in 1853 founded a colony in Pennsylvania that he called New Norway, although it is more commonly known as the Old Bull Colony.
21. Figure depicted in une église : ANGE
In France one might see depicted an angel (ange) in a church (eglise).
24. Server’s edge : AD IN
In tennis, “ad in” is an informal way of saying “advantage” when announcing the score.
26. Besmirch : TAR
“Besmirch” is a derivative of the word “smirch”, with both meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.
27. Advocacy : ESPOUSAL
“Espousal” is the act of betrothal, in one sense. In an extended sense, it means to adopt, embrace or advocate a particular idea.
32. Film studio stock : STILLS
A film studio will carry a stock of still images.
34. Raptor 350 and others : YAMAHAS
A Raptor 350 is an ATV, an All Terrain Vehicle, made by Yamaha. Not my thing …
35. Pucks : IMPS
A puck is a mischievous sprite in old English folklore.
38. Founding member of the Washington Freedom : MIA HAMM
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played in the US national team that won the FIFA women’s World Cup in 1991. Mia Hamm is quite the player, and has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female.
The Washington Freedom is a Women’s Professional soccer club based in the D.C. area.
41. Singer Jackson : MAHALIA
Mahalia Jackson was an African-American gospel singer, known as the first Queen of Gospel Music. She recorded may records, including 12 that went “gold”, sold more than a million copies each.
43. English word that comes from Tswana : TSETSE
Tsetse flies inhabit most of Africa. They live by biting vertebrate animals, and feeding on their blood. Famously, they act as carriers for the sleeping sickness. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, in which it means simply “fly”.
45. Tomfoolery : PRANKS
In Middle English, in the middle of the 14th century, a mentally deficient man would be called a Thom Foole, sort of a nickname. We retain the name today in our word “tomfoolery” meaning “clowning around”.
51. Alpha or beta follower : RAY
There are many types of radiation. Alpha rays, streams of alpha particles, are in effect helium nuclei, two protons and two neutrons bound together. Alpha particles are emitted by many different types of radioactive elements, in the process known as alpha decay.
Beta particles (the constituents of beta rays) are also the products of decay of a radioactive element. Beta particles are high-energy electrons or positrons emitted from the nucleus of the decaying element.
55. Hydrocarbon endings : ENES
An alkene is an organic compound made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. It differs from an alkane by having at least one C=C double bond. The simplest alkene is the gas, ethylene, a major raw material in the manufacture of plastics (like polyethylene).
57. 1992 Elton John hit : THE ONE
Elton John’s real name is Reginald Dwight. He was knighted in 1998, not for his music, but for his charitable work. He founded his own Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992.
60. Sessanta minuti : ORA
In Spain there are sixty (sessanta) minutes (minuti) in an hour (ora).
61. Missouri site of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival : SEDALIA
Scott Joplin was a great American composer and pianist, the “King of Ragtime” without question. Joplin was born poor, into a laboring family in Texas. He learned his music from local teachers, and started out his career as an itinerant musician, traveling around the American South. He found fame with the release of his 1899 composition “Maple Leaf Rag”, regarded as the foundation stone on which ragtime music was built. Joplin’s music, and ragtime in general, was rediscovered by the populous in the early seventies when it was used in the very successful movie “The Sting”.
Joplin lived in Sedalia, Missouri from 1894 to 1907. He worked for a time as a pianist there in the Maple Leaf Club, after which he named his composition “Maple Leaf Rag”. Sedalia is now home to the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.
65. Place for barkers? : SEALERY
The sounds that seals make is called “barking”.
66. What you may have while solving this puzzle? : AHA MOMENT
I wish …
68. Civic alternative : SENTRA
I love my Honda Civic Hybrid, and was delighted to end up with an average fuel consumption of 39.9 miles per gallon in my 11,500 mile road trip around the country this summer. The Nissan Sentra is a viable alternative to the Civic, I suppose, but I love my Honda …
1. Nice girls : FILLES
Clever clue! Girls in the city of Nice in the South of France are known as “filles”, the French word for girls.
3. Workers with 64-Downs, for short : RNS
Registered Nurses work with EMTs.
6. Hot spot : SAHARA
The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic, and it is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa (which is almost the size of the whole of Europe, or the whole of the United States!).
8. “Hidalgo” co-star, 2004 : SHARIF
Omar Sharif is the great Hollywood actor from Egypt, who played such great roles in the likes of “Doctor Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia”. But to me, he is my bridge hero (the card game). In his day, he was one of the best players in the world, but does not play at all anymore.
“Hidalgo” is a 2004 movie, starring Viggo Mortenson and Omar Sharif, that tells the tale of distance rider Frank Hopkins and his mustang, Hidalgo. The film is based on a true story, although the movie apparently uses stories in the plot that were exaggerated even when Hopkins was alive. Still, it’s a good yarn, and well worth a rental, I’d say …
10. Classic novel that ends with two weddings : EMMA
I just listened to one of my favorite Jane Austen novels on Audio Book recently, “Emma“, the tale of Emma Woodhouse, and the wonderful George Knightly. At the end of the tale Emma marries Knightly, and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one!
I had the privilege a few years ago of attending the premier of “Emma”, a delightful musical adaptation for the stage. If you ever get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it …
12. Tennyson hero : SIR GALAHAD
Sir Galahad was one of the Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table, according to legend. Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote a famous poem about the hero in 1834, called “Galahad and the Grail”.
13. Yellowstone sight : MOOSE
Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park to be established in the world, when it was designated as such by President Grant in 1872. What a great tradition it started! The American National Parks truly are a treasure.
Yellowstone NP takes its name from the Yellowstone River, as the park is located at its headwaters. Yellowstone River was named “Roche Jaune” by French trappers (Yellow Stone in French), which was likely a translation of the Minnetaree name for the waterway, which translated as Rock Yellow River.
15. Figure in the Iliad : SEERESS
The Iliad is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the siege of Ilium during the Trojan war.
20. Seat of Leon County, Fla. : TALLAHASSEE
Tallahassee isn’t only the county seat of Leon County, it is the capital city of Florida. Tallahassee was chosen as the state capital because it was equidistant from the cities of St. Augustine and Pensacola, which had been the capitals of the earlier French and British colonies of East Florida and West Florida.
28. Actor who played Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” 1951 : SIM
As far as I am concerned, the definitive screen adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”, is the 1951 film of the same name starring the wonderful actor Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. If you don’t own it, you have got to buy it for next Christmas!
33. Literary pirate : SMEE
In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates, and his right-hand man. He is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy!
36. Old royalty : MAHARANEES
A maharani, or maharanee, was the wife of a maharaja(h), a ruler in India. Maharaja is the Sanskrit work meaning “great king”.
39. N.Y.C. travel letters : MTA
The MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut).
42. Springer’s org. : AKC
The American Kennel Club is the organization that handles registration of purebred dogs, and promotes dog shows around the country including the famous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
46. “Fahrenheit 451,” e.g. : SATIRE
“Fahrenheit 451” is novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It tells the story of a future American society that discourages reading of books. The main character’s job is that of a “fireman”, someone responsible for burning books. The title was chosen to supposedly represent the temperature at which book paper will burn, which is actually 450 centigrade. But Bradbury used some artistic licence and changed the units to Fahrenheit, as he believed it made for a better title.
49. Capital midway between Rome and Istanbul : TIRANA
Tirana is the capital city of Albania.
53. ___ Rebellion : SHAYS’
Shays’ Rebellion was an uprising around Springfield Massachusetts in 1786-7, led by Daniel Shays. The rebels were mainly farmers who were struggling to survive under the burden of debt and taxes.
56. Palacio part : SALA
A room (sala) would be part of a palace (palacio) in Spain.
58. Some Siouan speakers : OMAHAS
The Omaha Nation were one of the most welcoming of the Native American tribes, never resisting the influx of European explorers and traders. They even fought alongside Union troops during the American Civil War, and have stood by the US people ever since. Regardless, the Omaha lost most of their land, and now reside on the Omaha Reservation in northeastern Nebraska and western Iowa.
64. Colleague of 3-Down : EMT
An Emergency Medical Technician is a colleague of an RN.