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: 32m 33s
THEME: Filn No-r … all the theme answers are movie titles with an “R” removed e.g. THE GUMBALL (R)ALLY, P(R)ETTY WOMAN, A THOUSAND (R)ACES
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … ARENDT (ARRENDI), CATTALO (CATIALO)
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
5. Of wrath, in a Latin hymn : IRAE
Dies Irae is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, and is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.
13. “La Resurrezione” composer : HANDEL
George Frideric Handel was the King of the Oratorio, and wrote “La resurrezione”, first performed in Rome at Easter in 1798. His most famous oratorio, “Messiah” was actually performed first in Dublin, Ireland, back in 1742.
19. Film about a corrida participant put to pasture? : AGING BULL
From “Raging Bull“.
I just do not like boxing, and movies about boxing, but I certainly accept that “Raging Bull” is true cinema classic. It is a bio pic released in 1980, with Robert De Niro starring as Jake LaMotta, and ably directed by Martin Scorsese. Famously, De Niro gained about 70 pounds in weight to lay LaMotta in his early years, showing true dedication to his craft.
21. Mount ___ (volcano in Mordor) : DOOM
Mount Doom is a volcano in Middle-earth, the universe created by J. R. R. Tolkien for his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
23. … a candy-sharing confederate? : THE GUMBALL ALLY
From “The Gumball Rally“.
“The Gumball Rally” is in a sense a sister move to the more famous film “Cannonball Run”. Both movies were inspired the by the real-life Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, a less than legal race run four times in the seventies using public highways to get from the east to the west coast. “Cannonball Run” was an action film, whereas “The Gumball Rally” is more of a comedy.
25. Lake Erie city west of Cleveland : LORAIN
Lorain, Ohio is situated on the shores of Lake Erie, 30 miles west of Cleveland.
27. Vivacity : BRIO
Brio is borrowed from the Italian, in which language it also means vigor and vivacity. “Con brio” is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing that the musicians play “with energy, vigor”.
28. … a small-minded lady? : PETTY WOMAN
From “Pretty Woman“.
“Pretty Woman” is a great movie, a 1990 romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. The film was originally written as a very dark story, with the female lead not only a prostitute, but also a drug addict, The Disney studio who took up the project demanded that it be rewritten as a modern-day fairy tale, and what a good decision that was.
30. “Casino” actor Joe : PESCI
Joe Pesci got his big break in movies in a supporting role in “Raging Bull”, earning him an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like his comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinnie”. He gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.
32. TV producer MacFarlane : SETH
Seth McFarlane is best known for creating the very successful (although I don’t know why!) animated TV shows “Family Guy” and “American Dad”. My kids love ’em …
34. 1942 Harry James hit “___ My Guy” : HE’S
Harry James was a very popular bandleader, particularly in the swing era. After a stint with Benny Goodman’s orchestra, Harry James set up his own band based in Philadelphia. One member of his band, back in 1939, was a vocalist that James wanted to rename as Frankie Satin, but the singer decided to hold onto his own name, Frank Sinatra.
36. ___ Day & the Knights (band in “Animal House”) : OTIS
Otis Day & the Knights were a fictional band created for the 1978 movie “Animal House“. In the movie, they perform fabulous versions of “Shout” and “Shama Lama Ding Dong”. The band’s performance was so well received that they transitioned from the world of make believe to reality, and they are still performing today, over 30 years later.
38. The mythical tree Yggdrasil, for one : ASH
Yggdrasil is an enormous tree that is central to Norse mythology. It is known as “the world tree”. It is thought that “Yggdrasil” is a yew tree, and that its name derives from the norse word “igwja” meaning “yew-tree”, but it is disputed.
40. Finback whale : SEI
The Sei Whale is a type of baleen whale, found almost all over the world in deep water, but avoiding the extreme temperatures of the tropics and the poles. Sei is the Norwegian word for pollock, and the Sei whale was given its name as it appears of the coast of Norway at the same time as the pollack, feeding on the same abundant supply of plankton.
The 1997 drama “A Thousand Acres” is an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Jane Smiley. The novel in turn is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. Just like in “King Lear”, the plot features a father with three rival daughters.
48. David Sarnoff’s company : RCA
David Sarnoff was a Russian immigrant to the US, of Jewish heritage. When he arrived in the US he found work with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, and from there developed a long career in electronic communication. He worked his way through the ranks, starting out as office boy, and eventually running both NBC and RCA.
51. Political theorist Hannah : ARENDT
Hannah Arendt was studying and working the field of philosophy, when she had to flee her native Germany in the run up to WWII because of her Jewish heritage. She ended up in the US in 1941, and took posts in various schools here. In 1969 she was appointed full professor at Princeton, the first woman to win such a position, and a full decade before women students were admitted to the college.
53. “Evita” narrator : CHE
“Evita” was the follow up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Weber and Time Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). For “Evita” they chose Irish singer Colm Wilkinson (or C. T. Wilkinson, as we know him back in Ireland) to play “Che”, the narrator of the piece, in the original album’s cast.
54. The Beatles’ “___ Got a Feeling” : I’VE
“I’ve Got a Feeling” is a song from the Beatles 1970 album “Let It Be”, and was one of the songs that they played in their famous impromptu rooftop concert, the last time they ever played together in public.
A fireman can keep things from going up in flames.
59. Geometric shape whose perimeter has infinite length : FRACTAL
A fractal is a fascinating geometric shape, one that can be spit into parts, each of which is a smaller version (almost identical to) of the larger shape. The name “fractal” comes from the Latin “fractus” meaning “broken” or “fragmented”. Fractals are found all over nature, most notably the shapes created by ice crystals. It can be hard to tell the difference between the shapes of ice as it freezes on glass, viewed with the eye or viewed under a microscope. Fractals can also be seen in clouds, snow flakes, and even cauliflower and broccoli!
62. The Colosseum was completed during his reign : TITUS
Titus Flavius Verspasianus was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81 AD. Prior to becoming Emperor, he was a successful military commander. It was Titus who laid siege to and destroyed the city and temple of Jerusalem, for which he was honored with the erection of the Arch of Titus that stands in Rome to this day, the arch that is the inspiration from many other famous arches, including the 1806 Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
63. Paramecium’s propellers : CILIA
Cilia are tiny projectiles coming out of the some cell walls, They can be used to give mobility to the cell, as in the case of the single-celled paramecium.
65. Part of N.F.L.: Abbr. : NATL
The NFL, the National Football League.
67. … decorative furniture elements being blown off with dynamite? : BEDKNOBS AND BOOMSTICKS
From “Bedknobs and Broomsticks“.
“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” is a 1971 Disney film, a musical that combines live action with animation. It is based on the book by Mary Norton called “The Magic Bed Knob” and stars Angela Landsbury. The story has a “Mary Poppins” feel to it, but not nearly the same level of success.
77. ___ Dame : NOTRE
Notre Dame: “Our Lady” in French.
78. Actress Perez : ROSIE
Rosie Perez is an American actress born in New York City of Puerto Rican descent. As well as pursuing her acting career, Perez is an activist promoting Peurto Rican rights, and was arrested in 2000 at a rally to protest US Navy weapons training off the coast of Puerto Rica.
87. Practices, as a trade : PLIES
The word “ply” from “to ply one’s trade” is related to word “apply”.
91. “Rainbow Six” author : CLANCY
I love the Tom Clancy series of novels, most of which feature Jack Ryan as the main character, but I felt that with each successive title, my interest faded a little. I was hooked with “The Hunt for Red October” published in 1984, and dutifully worked my through all Clancy’s subsequent novels, before giving up halfway through the 1998 “Rainbow Six“.
93. … a demonic horse? : MY FIEND FLICKA
From “My Friend Flicka“
“My Friend Flicka” is a 1943 screen adaptation of the children’s novel of the same name by Mary O’Hara, and stars a young Roddy McDowall in the lead role. Flicka’s a horse, in case you didn’t know …
99. Western star Lee Van ___ : CLEEF
Oh, what a perfect baddie was Lee Van Cleef! Van Cleef was born in Somerville, New Jersey, of Dutch ancestry. In movies he played a villain from day one, starting out with a small role in the classic western “High Noon”. His career went on hiatus after a car accident in the late fifties, but it was revived with the arrival of the Spaghetti Westerns. Lee Van Cleef up against Clint Eastwood … what could be better?
103. Pixar title character : NEMO
“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar, winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, it is the best selling DVD of all time, and until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time.
104. Recitation by Scheherazade : TALE
Scheherazade is a Persian Queen of legend, and the storyteller of the wonderful “One Thousand and One Nights”.
108. Yukon, e.g.: Abbr. : TERR
Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories. The three territories lie to the north of the country, and are Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Territories differ from Provinces in that they only have governmental powers that are delegated to them by the federal government, whereas the provinces have constitutional powers in their own right.
112. … drink garnishes? : OLIVE TWIST
From “Oliver Twist“
“Oliver Twist” is of course a novel by Charles Dickens. It is a popular tale for adaptation to the big screen, and usually use the same wording for the film title as was used in the book. There were two silent film versions, in 1909 and 1922, and the first talkie version was released in 1933, with many to follow. The latest for the big screen was the 2005 version from Roman Polanski.
117. Rhenium or rhodium : METAL
Rhenium is one of the rarest metals to be found in the earth’s crust. It was the last naturally occurring, stable element to be discovered, in 1925. It is named after the river Rhine.
Rhodium is one of the rarest precious metals. Rhodium was discovered in 1803, and today is mostly used as a catalyst in a catalytic converters.
121. … a seedy Hollywood bar? : MULHOLLAND DIVE
From “Mulholland Drive“.
“Mulholland Drive” is a thriller released in 2002, which was well received (although I didn’t like it!). The original idea was for “Mulholland Drive” to be a pilot for a television series, but when ABC saw the filmed pilot, they didn’t like it so passed on it for their schedule. So, the script was rewritten, some new scenes shot, and after re-editing, the movie was released.
124. Antipathetic : AVERSE
To be antipathetic is to show a strong aversion or repugnance.
125. ___ Cakesters (Nabisco offering) : OREO
Oreo Cakesters are a soft version of the cookie, introduced by Nabisco in 2007.
126. … skinned knuckles? : FIST BLOOD
From “First Blood“.
“First Blood” was the first of the four “Rambo” series of films, starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But, action all the way …
130. Sicilian province : ENNA
Enna sits very high up in the hills of Sicily, overlooking the the whole island below. Enna is the capital of the province that bears its name, and is the highest province in the whole country of Italy.
2. Turkish title : AGHA
An aga, or agha, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.
3. One whose music is easy to follow? : PIED PIPER
The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin dates back to medieval times. Recently there have been suggestions that the story is rooted in some truth, that the town of Hamelin did in fact lose many of its children, perhaps to plague. The suggestion is that the tale is an allegory.
5. Maker of the Roadrunner supercomputer : IBM
IBM’s Roadrunner supercomputer sits in the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. As of today, it is the third fastest computer in the world. It’s no laptop though. It occupies 6,000 square feet of space in the laboratory.
7. Wing-shaped : ALAR
“Alar” means “wing-shaped”, and comes from the Latin word “alaris” meaning “wing”.
8. Novelist Bret Easton ___ : ELLIS
Bret Easton Ellis wrote the original novels that were adapted for the silver screen: “Less Than Zero” (1987), “American Psycho” (2000) and “The Rules of Attraction” (2002).
9. 1969 literary heroine who says “I like the words damozel, eglantine, elegant. I love when you kiss my elongated white hand” : ADA
The reference here is to the 1969 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. “Ada“. The story is about a man called Van Veen who, when 14 years old, meets for the first time his cousin, 11-year-old Ada. The two cousins eventually have an affair, only to discover later that they are in fact brother and sister.
11. Founder of an Oahu plantation : DOLE
James Dole lent his name to today’s Dole Food Company. James Dole was known as the Pineapple King, as he developed the pineapple industry in Hawaii, forming the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, the forerunner to the Dole Food Company. Dole might have had some help on the way, as he was cousin to Sanford B, Dole, President of the Republic of Hawaii from 1894 to 1900.
12. Tommy of ESPN : SMYTH
Tommy Smyth was born just a few miles from where I lived in Ireland, and now he is perhaps the most recognized soccer commentator in the US. Way to go, Tommy!
13. Papal office : HOLY SEE
In the Roman Catholic Church, an episcopal see is the official seat of a bishop, and is usually described by the town or city where the bishop resides and has his cathedral. The most famous see in the church is called the Holy See, the episcopal see of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.
15. ___ oil (perfumery ingredient) : NEROLI
Neroli oil is a plant oil gathered from blossoms of the bitter orange tree. Historically, the essence of bitter orange blossoms was extracted for the Princess of Nerola, Italy, in the 17th century, given the oil its name.
16. Bomb detector? : DRAMA CRITIC
Clever … a drama critic might detect a show that is about to “bomb”, and help it on its way in one of his/her reviews.
17. Name in 2000 newspapers : ELIAN
The immigration status of young Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez was all over the news in 2000. Elian’s mother drowned while trying to travel illegally to the US, while Elian and his mother’s boyfriend survived the journey. The INS placed Elian in the care of paternal relatives in the US, who then petitioned to have the boy stay with them permanently, against the wishes of Elian’s father back in Cuba. After court proceedings, the federal authorities forcibly removed Elian from his relatives in the US, and he was returned to his father who took him back to Cuba. Back in Cuba, Fidel Castro stepped in and befriended Elian, so he has influential sponsorship now in his homeland, as a result of his ordeal. Elian is now attending a military school in Cuba, and his father is working as a waiter in a restaurant.
18. Country singer Shelby : LYNNE
Shelby Lynne is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She had a tough start in life. When she was only 17, her father shot and killed her mother, and then turned the gun on himself. Rough indeed …
24. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” composer : LOESSER
Frank Loesser wrote the scores to many successful Broadway shows, including “Guys and Doll” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. He wrote the wonderful song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” as a duet for him and his wife, and they sang it various parties together. Apparently she was furious when he sold the song to MGM. It appeared in the 1949 movie “Neptune’s Daughter”, winning Loesser an Oscar.
29. Bygone Toyota : TERCEL
The Tercel was the first front-wheel drive car made by Toyota, and what a success it was. It was manufactured under various guises from 1978 to 2000. The name “Tercel” comes from the Latin word for “one third”, but the true relevance of the name escapes me, to be honest …
31. Hybrid farm animal : CATTALO
When cattle were introduced by Europeans to North America, accidental crosses of buffalo and cattle started to appear, first recorded in 1749. Intentional crosses were first successful in the mid-1800s, with one of the first to succeed being one Charles Goodnight. He was trying to breed a hardier form of cattle that could survive the harsh winters of Kansas. He called his hybrid a “cattalo”.
36. Count ___ (2004 Jim Carrey role) : OLAF
“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” is a 2004 black comedy based on the novels by Lemony Snicket (the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler). I rarely “do” black comedies, so I skipped this one …
37. Singer/songwriter Amos : TORI
Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. She started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. She was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music (I lead such a sheltered life …)!
39. Ad ___ : HOC
The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”.
42. Exam for would-be attys. : LSAT
The Law School Admission Test has been around since 1948.
45. Part of a TV dial : UHF
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).
46. “What he said” : DITTO
“Ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. It’s just another wonderful import from that lovely land …
47. Where Excalibur was forged : 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.
49. Make watertight : CAULK
The term “caulk” comes from old Norman French “cauquer”, and described the action of filling gaps with lime. It has the same root as our word “chalk”.
56. “To Catch a Thief” setting : RIVIERA
“To Catch a Thief” is one of my favorite movies, a Hitchcock classic starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The film is based on a novel of the same name (which I really must read, now that I know about it) written by David F. Dodge.
58. Sharpie tip : NIB
Sharpie is a brand of pen.
60. Author Malraux : ANDRE
Andre Malraux was a French author. He fought extensively during WWII, and after the war was made Minister for Information by President Charles de Gaulle.
64. St. Clare’s home : ASSISI
Clare of Assisi was one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She was the founder of the Order of Poor Ladies, an order which still exists today, and is now known as Poor Clares in her honor.
67. Consumer reports? : BURPS
Clever clue, albeit a tad uncouth! When one consumes food, one might be tempted to burp!
70. “The Sandbox” playwright : ALBEE
“The Sandbox” is a one-act play much panned by the critics, written by Edward Albee in 1959. Albee had a little more luck with another play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
72. Hip 1960s teen : MOD
Mod is short for modernist, and described a subculture that originated in London in the late fifties. Mods tended to wear tailored suits, listen to pop music and drove around on Italian motor scooters. Mods came in to conflict with another subculture that emerged at the same time in the UK, the rockers. Rockers were into rock and roll music, and drove motor cycles. I remember as a young kid in school having to declare myself as either a mod or a rocker. I don’t think our “gangs” back then were quite the same as they are today …
79. Carlisle Cullen’s wife in “Twilight” : ESME
I don’t do vampires. The reference, is to a character in “The Twilight” series of books by Stephanie Meyer. “The Twilight Saga” is a series of films based on the books.
80. Boisterous laugh : GUFFAW
“Guffaw” is an imitative word, that comes to us from Scotland.
82. ___ volatile : SAL
Sal volatile is another word for ammonium carbonate. The action of crushing the salt gives off a smell of ammonia, and so it has been used for centuries as a “smelling salt”, to revive someone who has fainted.
86. Paper slip? : TYPO
Nice one …
94. English churchyard sight : YEW TREE
Yew trees were plated around churches and in graveyards all over Europe. The reason for the practice seems to be unclear, but one suggestion is that fronds from yew trees were used as substitutes for palms on Palm Sunday.
104. Unqualified : TOTAL
If something is an unqualified success, it is a total success.
107. Electronic game fad of the 1980s : SIMON
Simon was that memory game popular in the eighties. The electronic device had four colored buttons, each associated with a particular musical tone. The machine played the tones and lit the buttons in a particular order, and the player had to reproduce it. I bet it’s an app on the iPhone now …
109. Gives deep massage therapy : ROLFS
Rolfing is a trademarked massage technique, developed by Ida Pauline Rolf in the fifties. Rolf was a biochemist by training, from New York. Rolfing is one of those practices that are controversial, with many folks doubting there is any benefit.
111. Web site for cinephiles : IMDB
The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering question one has about movies and actors.
113. What lotus-eaters enjoy : EASE
The lotus-eaters were a race of people that featured in Greek mythology. The lotus flowers and fruits were supposedly narcotic and addictive, and so the lotus-eaters enjoyed a life largely asleep in peaceful apathy.
116. Russian figure skater Kulik : ILIA
Ilia Kulik is a Russian figure skater, born in Moscow and now living in Newport Beach. I’ve seen him skate on the “Stars on Ice” tour. The ladies love it when he takes off his shirt …
118. Major publisher of romance novels : AVON
Avon Publications was a publisher of paperbacks and comic books, and is now a division of HarperCollins associated with romance novels.
119. Helen of Troy’s mother : LEDA
In Greek mythology, Leda was greatly admired by Zeus, and he seduced her in the guise of a swan. The resulting union led to two eggs, from which hatched Helen, later to become known as the beautiful “Helen of Troy”.
122. Wanting to be near one’s fans? : HOT
Clever wording again …
123. Last in a series : NTH
The “nth degree” is the utmost, with the nth item being the last in a series.