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: 45m 14s
THEME: IT’S GOING TO COST YOU (an ARM and a LEG) … many of the squares in the grid contain the letters ARM and LEG
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY’S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
4. Electronic music pioneer Robert : MOOG
Robert Moog invented the Moog Synthesizer in the sixties, an electronic device that he used to produce music. I used to own a few of his albums, including a Moog version of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”. What a great performance that was …
13. Straw hat : BOATER
A boater is a straw hat often associated with boating, hence the name.
19. Cry after poor service? : LET
In tennis, a “let!” is called when an otherwise legal serve touches the net before the receiver gets a chance to return. A let doesn’t count as a fault, so the server just tries again to get a good serve.
20. River with the Reichenbach Falls : AARE
The Aar (also called the Aare in German) is a major river in Switzerland. The Reichenbach Falls on the River Aar are in the center of the country, and are actually a series of waterfalls near the city of Meiringen. The falls are famous in the world of literature as it was here that Sherlock Holmes feel to his supposed doom with his nemesis, Professor Moriarity (in “The Adventure of the Final Problem”).
23. Bad news on Wall Street : BE(AR M)ARKET
The terms “bull” and “bear” markets come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an “up” market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a “down” market).
25. What Fels-Naptha banished, in old ads : TATTLE TALE GRAY
A tattle-tale is someone who tells tales, not a nice person. Fels-Naphta used the term to describe a gray tinge that was left after laundering whites, the idea being that the gray indicated that the laundress (yes, it was the wives who were blamed back then) was using an inferior laundry soap to wash the man’s white shirts. Fels-Naphtha meant white shirts, meant happy husbands. Oh boy …
27. Where N.B.A. coach Rick Pitino played college ball : UMASS
Rick Pitino is the head basketball coach at the University of Louisville, and did spend some time coaching at the professional level as well, with the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Pitino is the only men’s coach to have lead three different schools to the NCAA Final Four (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville).
28. Relating to songbirds : OSCINE
The adjective “oscine” describes birds belonging to the suborder Oscine, a group that includes most songbirds.
31. French ice cream flavorer : MENTHE
“Menthe” is the French word for “mint”.
34. Excited call to a crew : LAND HO
The cry of “land ho!” from a sailor means that land has just been spotted. A similar shout is “sail ho!”, another boat has been spotted.
36. Three squares : REGUL(AR M)EALS
39. Classic camera maker : LEICA
Leica is a German optics company, famous for production of Leica cameras (it also makes geo-survey equipment and microscopes). The 1913 Leica was the first practical camera that could use 35mm film, the standard film size used in motion pictures.
44. How to address a brother : FRA
The title “Fra” (brother) is used by Italian monks.
48. Heavenly body that humans will never set foot on : GAS PLANET
A gas planet is one that does not have a solid surface, in fact, they don’t really have a surface at all. There is usually a solid core with layers of gases surrounding that get thinner and thinner the further away the gas is from that core. So, man will never be able to “set foot” on such planets, as there is nothing really to set foot on! We have examples of gas planets within our own solar system, namely Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
52. Alderaan royal : LEIA
In the “Star Wars” series of films, there is a fictional planet of Alderaan. It is the home of Princess Leia, the character played by Carrie Fisher in the original movie.
54. Jet boat brand : SEA-DOO
Sea-Doo is a brand name of personal water craft (PWC). Other well-known brands are Jet Ski and WaveRunner.
55. Alternatively, in Internet lingo : OTOH
On The Other Hand …
56. When said three times, a W.W. II cry : TORA
The pre-determined code word to be used by the Japanese if they managed to achieve surprise in their attack on Pearl Harbor was tiger, or tora in Japanese. This gave the name to the excellent 1970 movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!“.
57. Followers : ACOLYTES
The word “acolyte” comes from the Greek was “akolouthos” meaning “companion, attendant, helper”. In Christian religious terms, an acolyte is an individual who assists some way in a ceremony, by lighting candles for example. In more general terms, an acolyte is a devoted follower or attendant.
59. Like some doughnuts and windows : DOUB(LE G)LAZED
61. Unit of star measurement : SOL(AR M)ASS
Stars can be characterized by their mass. When the mass of the star if compared to the mass of our own sun, the resulting ratio is called its “solar mass”.
62. Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape,” e.g. : MONODRAMA
“Krapp’s Last Tape” is a one-act play written by Irish dramatist Samuel Beckett. It is written for one performer, so is called a “monodrama”.
65. Deli nosh : KNISH
A knish is a snack food from Germany and Eastern Europe made popular in the US by Jewish immigrants. A knish has a filling often made of mashed potato and ground meat, covered by a dough that is baked or fried.
67. Mandela’s presidential successor : MBEKI
Thabo Mbeki was in exile for 28 years, while his fellow African National Congress (ANC) member, Nelson Mandela, was in prison. He spent much of the time in the UK, gaining an education and organizing anti-apartheid activities. He rose through the ranks of the ANC, eventually leading the secret talks with the South African government that led to the freeing of political prisoners and eventually to democracy. He took over as President of South Africa when Nelson Mandela decided not to stand for a second term in 1999, at the ripe old age of 80 years.
75. Blow it : BUBB(LE G)UM
I am not sure I fully understand this one. I know one blows bubbles in gum, but the use here seems to be as a verb. Slang perhaps?
77. Arc de Triomphe and Nelson’s Column : W(AR M)EMORIALS
The Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile in Paris was built to honor those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. It is the second largest triumphal arch in the world, after the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea. If you are visiting Paris, don’t just take a picture of the arch, be sure to go inside and see the marvelous chambers and carvings, and wander around on top of the arc and enjoy the magnificent view.
Nelson’s Column sits in the middle of Trafalgar Square in London, and was erected between 1840 and 1843 to commemorate the death of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. The column was refurbished in 2006, during which work it was discovered that the column was actually 4.4 meters shorter than realized!
81. Bet in craps : PASS LINE
If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around a very long time, and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard”, also played with two dice, and which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came into the country via the French and first set root in New Orleans, where it was given the name “crapaud”, A French word meaning “toad”.
84. Company that introduced NutraSweet : SEARLE
NutraSweet is a brand name for the artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame was discovered by a chemist working for Searle in 1965, but it took 15 years for the company to be granted approval for its sale. I wonder why …???
87. Botanical bristle : SETA
“Seta” is derived from the Latin word for a “bristle”, and is used to describe bristle-like structures on both plants and animals.
92. Angelo or Antonio : SAN
San Angelo is a city in West Central Texas.
San Antonio, Texas was named after the Portuguese Saint Anthony by a Spanish expedition that stopped in the area in 1691.
94. Neutral space : MIDD(LE G)ROUND
101. Mezzanotte is one : ORA
A time (ora) in Italy might be midnight (mezzanotte).
106. Merely routine : PRO FORMA
The Latin term “pro forma” translates as “as a matter of form”, and is used in English to actions or documents that are considered merely a formality.
113. Works in the music business : OPERA
“Opera” is the plural of the Latin word “opus” meaning “work”.
114. April, May and June : CALEND(AR M)ONTHS
116. Blah-blah-blah : ID(LE G)OSSIP
118. Subject of the 2008 biography “Somebody” : BRANDO
“Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando” is a biography of the actor written by Stefan Kanfer, published in 2008.
119. Bête ___ : NOIRE
“Bête noire” translates from French as “the black beast” and is used in English for something or someone that is disliked.
121. Object of many a court order : TAP
Courts often order wire taps, to listen in telephone or Internet communications.
122. Some flowering shrubs : SENNAS
Sennas are used as purgatives and laxatives.
123. Overthrow, e.g. : ERROR
In baseball, an overthrow is recorded as an error.
125. Like a three-card monte player : SLY
Three-card Monte is that betting game where some innocent bystander is tricked into betting he or she can spot where the money card (often the queen) is after three cards have been moved around and placed face down on a table in front of the dealer. There are all sorts of way folks get cheated in this “game”, including perhaps “someone” in the crowd “stealing” the bets off the table and making a run for it. Usually though, it’s all about sleight of hand.
3. David Bowie single with the lyric “If we can sparkle he may land tonight” : ST(ARM)AN
“Starman” is a fabulous song released by David Bowie in 1972, included on the famous album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.
5. Flavor associated with Chardonnay : OAK
The Chardonnay grape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France. Now it’s grown “everywhere”. Drinkers of California Chardonnays seem to be particularly fond of “oak” flavor, so most of these wines are aged in oak barrels.
6. Treat in a blue wrapper : OREO
The Oreo cookie was the biggest seller in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have produced since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days, the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America though, you might notice a difference with the homegrown cookie as coconut oil is added to give a different taste.
7. Contends for valedictorian, say : GETS ALL AS
A valediction is an act of taking one’s leave, from the Latin “vale dicere”, to say farewell. An example of a valediction would be the words “yours truly” at the end of a letter. And of course, the valedictorian (here in the US anyway) is the student in a graduating class that is chosen to say the final words at the graduation ceremony, a farewell to the classmates.
8. See 9-Down : ANTIHERO
An “antihero”, perhaps in a movie or novel, is the “hero” of the piece, but someone who doesn’t exhibit the qualities associated traditionally with a hero, such as bravery or moral fortitude.
9. James known for playing an 8-Down : DEAN
In his short life, James Dean starred in three great movies: “East of Eden”, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant”, for which he received two posthumous Best Actor Oscar nominations (the only person to do so). On a fateful day in September 1955, Dean set off in Porsche for a race in Salinas, California. While driving to the race he was given a speeding ticket. Two hours later Dean was involved in a near head-on collision, and was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Paso Robles, California.
11. It does a bang-up job : TNT
TNT is an abbreviation for TriNitroToluene. The explosive chemical was first produced by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand in 1863, who used it as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate, so it was used as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.
12. Singer K. T. ___ : OSLIN
K. T. Oslin is best known for her string of country hits in the eighties.
15. Assert without proof : AL(LEG)E
16. Butler’s place : TARA
Rhett Butler hung out with Scarlett O’Hara at the Tara plantation in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”.
18. “Seven Seas of ___” (early Queen hit) : RHYE
“Seven Seas of Rhye” is a song written by Freddie Mercury and released by Queen in 1974. The song was the first chart hit for Queen, the first of many, many, many.
24. Galaxy sci. : ASTR
In the science of astronomy, one studies galaxies.
32. Disgorges : EGESTS
Egests, the opposite to ingests.
37. “___ Gold” : ULEE’S
“Ulee’s Gold” is a highly respected film from 1997, in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee’s “gold” is the honey that Ulee produced. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda, and he has shared that the role brought into mind his father, Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold”, you’re witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.
38. Kyushu volcano : ASO
Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan, and is found on the island of Kyushu.
40. “Do I dare to ___ peach?” : EAT A
“The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”, that famous poem by T. S. Eliot, contains the line “Do I dare to eat a peach?”
41. “Rinkitink ___” (L. Frank Baum book) : IN OZ
L. Frank Baum wrote a whole series of books about the Land of Oz, and “Rinkitink in Oz” is the tenth in that series (“The Wizard of Oz” was the first).
42. Smear with wax, old-style : CERE
“Cera” is the Latin word for “wax”, and it gives us the verb “to cere” once used to mean “coat in wax”. Cerecloth, cloth coated in wax, was once used to wrap the dead.
43. Slightly : A TAD
Just a whisper, just a tad, not too much …
44. Hooch holder at a ballgame : FLASK
In the Klondike gold rush, a favorite tipple of the miners was “Hoochinoo”, a liquor made by the native Alaskans. Soon after “hooch” was adopted as a word for cheap whiskey.
45. Intel mission : RECON
One intelligence mission is reconnoiter.
46. Provençal sauce : AIOLI
To the purist (especially in Provence in the South of France), aioli is prepared by grinding just garlic with olive oil. However, other ingredients are often used, particularly egg yolks.
50. Japanese noodle : SOBA
Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, soba tends to be used to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodles that are called udon.
51. Throat stuff : PH(LEG)M
Greek and Roman physicians ascribed to the theory that the body had four basic substances, the so-called four humors. All diseases were caused by these four substances getting out of balance. The four humors were:
– Black bile (melancolia)
– Yellow Bil (cholera)
– Phlegm (phlegma)
– Blood (sanguis)
Clearly, some of those ancient terms have found their way into modern medicine.
53. Frightens : AL(ARM)S
58. Swiftian brute : YAHOO
Yahoos were brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels“. Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise of the use of “yahoo” in English to describe a lout or Neanderthal.
59. Unhip sort : DORK
I consider “dork” to be pretty offensive slang. It emanated in the sixties among American students, and has its roots in another slang term, for male genitalia.
62. “L’Après-midi d’un faune” poet Stéphane ___ : MALLARME
The beautiful symphonic poem by Debussy called “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” was inspired by the poem “L’Après-midi d’un faune” by Stéphane Mallarmé. Supposedly, Mallarmé was none to happy with his poem being used as a basis for the music, feeling that his own words were music enough.
63. Lift innovator : OTIS
Elevators (simple hoists) had been around for a long time. What Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”. He showcased his design at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. He would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this display at the fair, the orders came rolling in.
64. “ER” network : NBC
You know, I’ve never seen “ER“. The most famous doctor in the TV show has to have been Dr. Doug Ross, played by George Clooney, the role that really gave Clooney his big break.
66. ___ orange : OSAGE
Osage-orange is also known as the horse-apple, and is a deciduous tree native to North America. The wood of the tree was prized by Native Americans, particularly the Osage nation, who used it to make bows.
68. Crude qty. : BBLS
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.
69. Mournful songs : E(LEG)IES
An elegy is a mournful poem or funeral song, also known as a dirge.
70. ___ Kinte of “Roots” : KUNTA
Not only did Alex Haley write the magnificent novel “Roots”, but he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on his “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and Haley claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who who was kidnapped in the The Gambia in 1767.
73. “___ la Douce” : IRMA
“Irma la Douce” is a wonderful Billy Wilder movie released in 1963. It stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Lemmon plays a maligned Parisian policeman, and MacLaine is the popular prostitute Irma la Douce (literally “Irma the Sweet”). Don’t let the adult themes throw you, it’s a very entertaining movie.
75. He taught Mowgli the law of the jungle : BALOO
“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling was originally published in 189r, and is a collection of adventure stories or fables, featuring the animals of the jungle and a young boy called Mowgli. Baloo is a sloth bear who teaches the cubs of a wolf pack the Law of the Jungle. His most challenging pupil however is no lupine, but the man-cub Mowgli.
77. Slightest amount : WHIT
Both “whit” and “fig” are used to describe a trivial amount, a mere trifle.
78. Emporio ___ : (ARM)ANI
Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer, and founder of the company that bears his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume. Emporio Armani is a label directed at young adults, and uses soccer star Cristiano Renaldo and movie star Megan Fox in most of their advertising. Emporio White is a perfume within the Emporio Armani label.
79. Actress Sommer : ELKE
Elke Sommer is a German-born actress, who was at the height of her success on the silver screen in the sixties, winning a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer Actress for her role opposite Paul Newman in 1964’s “The Prize”. She also sings and has released several albums. Now she focuses on painting, producing artwork that is strongly influenced by Marc Chagall.
84. South of France : SUD
“Sud” is the French word for “south”.
86. Brand for hay fever sufferers : AL(LEG)RA
Allegra is a brand name for fexofenadine, and antihistamine drug used to treat hay fever. Foxfenadine is considered less dangerous than other antihistamines as is does easily cross into the brain, and so is less likely to cause drowsiness.
89. Watts who hosted a 1990s talk show : ROLONDA
Rolonda Watts was the host of her own talk show called “Rolonda” that aired in the nineties.
95. Behind bars : IN STIR
“Stir” is a slang term for prison, but no one seems to from where the usage originates.
98. Mathematician Paul : ERDOS
Paul Erdős was a famous Hungarian mathematician, and a very prolific writer. He published more papers than any other mathematician in history.
99. Smugness : SM(ARM)
The word smarm comes from a colloquial word smalm meaning to smear the hair with some sort of styling product.
100. It joins the Rhône at Lyon : SAONE
The Saône is a river in eastern France that joins up with the Rhône in Lyon.
104. “Perry Mason” scene : TRIAL
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when the pressure was on. Creator Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. He went to law school, but was suspended after a month. so, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. He gave up the law though, once his novels became successful.
106. Chem. pollutants : PCBS
Polychlorinated biphenyls were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors.
108. Pearl Buck heroine : O-LAN
Pearl S. Buck’s novel “The Good Earth” won a Pulitzer in 1932, and helped Buck win the Nobel Prize for literature a few years later. The story tells of life in a Chinese village, and follows the fortunes of Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan. Although “The Good Earth” has been around a while, it hit the best seller list again in 2004 when it was picked by Oprah’s Book Club.
109. George Manville ___, English adventure writer : FENN
George Manville Fenn was an English writer who specialized in adventure stories for young readers. They featured lots of explorers, smugglers and seamen.
111. “Comin’ ___ the Rye” : THRO
“Comin’ Thro the Rye” was the first novel of Ellen Buckingham Mathews, written under one of her pen names, Helen Mathers, and published in 1875. Mathews was a popular English novelist in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
112. Chick’s tail? : ADEE
The bird called the chickadee is also known as a tit or titmouse. The name chickadee is imitative of the bird’s alarm call “chick-dee dee dee”.
117. Permitted : (LEG)AL