Edited by: Will Shortz
Today’s themed answers come in pairs. One element of each pair is a synonym of “HEAD”, and it sits OVER a synonym of “HEEL” in the grid. The “head” synonyms are all clued with “Honcho”, and the “heel” synonyms are all clued with “Louse”:
- 39A. **One way to fall in love … or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : HEAD OVER HEELS
- 13A. *Honcho : NUMERO UNO
- 17A. *Louse : SCOUNDREL
- 36A. *Honcho : BIG WHEEL
- 42A. *Louse : DIRTY RAT
- 64A. *Honcho : TOP BANANA
- 67A. *Louse : NO-GOODNIK
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
4. They’re usually not credited after errors, for short : RBIS
Run batted in (RBI)
8. One of the Obamas : SASHA
Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, having been born in 2001. She was the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha’s Secret Service codename is “Rosebud”, and her older sister Malia has the codename “Radiance”.
13. *Honcho : NUMERO UNO
“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a “hancho” is a squad (han) leader (cho).
16. It grows in the dark : PUPIL
The pupil of the eye is the hole located in the center of the iris through which light enters the retina. The term “pupil” came into English via French from the latin “pupilla”, which is the diminutive form of “pupa” meaning “girl, doll”. The term came about due to the tiny doll-like image that one can see of oneself when looking into the center of another’s eyes.
18. Common blood group : O-TYPE
Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:
- O-positive: 38 percent
- O-negative: 7 percent
- A-positive: 34 percent
- A-negative: 6 percent
- B-positive: 9 percent
- B-negative: 2 percent
- AB-positive: 3 percent
- AB-negative: 1 percent
19. Loop sight : EL TRAIN
The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as the Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system. An alternative theory is that term only arose with the construction of the elevated railway “loop” that forms the hub of the city’s “L” system.
20. Zac of “Neighbors” : EFRON
Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break was in the Disney hit movie “High School Musical”.
“Neighbors” is a 2014 comedy film starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a young couple with a newborn child. Zac Efron and Dave Franco play the leaders of a fraternity that moves into the house next door. I am told that hilarity ensues …
23. Lepidopterist’s need : NET
A lepidopterist is a person who studies butterflies and moths, a name coming from Lepidoptera, the order of insects that encompasses such flying insects. “Lepidoptera” comes from the Greek words for “scale” and “wing”.
25. Tahoe or Taos, e.g. : RESORT
Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.
The town of Taos, New Mexico is named for the Native American village nearby called Taos Pueblo. Taos is famous for its art colony. Artists began to settle in Taos in 1899, and the Taos Society of Artists was founded in 1915.
28. “Rock Around the Clock,” originally : SIDE-B
The famed rock & roll singer and songwriter Bill Haley started out his career as the frontman of Bill Haley and the Saddlemen, playing country and western music. The name was changed to Bill Haley and His Comets in 1952 as the band started performing rock & roll songs. The name “Comets” was imitative of the common mispronunciation of the famous Halley’s comet (sometimes written incorrectly as “Haley’s” comet). The group recorded “Rock Around the Clock” a year later, in 1953.
31. Designer Gernreich who invented the monokini : RUDI
Rudi Gernreich was a fashion designer from Austria. Gernreich fled Austria due to Nazi influence, and ended up in Los Angeles. He is noted for design of the monokini, the first topless swimsuit.
34. Fox in “The Fox and the Hound” : TOD
Disney’s 1981 animated feature “The Fox and the Hound” is based on a novel of the same name by Daniel P. Mannix. Both the novel and movie tell the tale of a young fox and a young hound who are good friends. The fox and hound struggle to maintain their friendship as they grow older, even as their animal instincts kick in and social pressures demand that they become adversaries. Heavy stuff!
43. Co. that launched Dungeons & Dragons : TSR
Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …
44. Hip-hop’s ___ tha Kyd : SYD
Syd, or Syd tha Kyd, is the stage name of rapper Sydney Loren Bennett. I know nothing …
45. 1961 Project Mercury chimp : ENOS
Enos was a chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit in 1961 by NASA on a Mercury Atlas 4 rocket. Enos’s flight was a rehearsal for the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. Enos returned from his mission safely, but died the following year from dysentery.
51. Eastern philosophy : TAOISM
The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Taoism signifies the true nature of the world.
54. Sch. backer : PTA
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
56. Kwik-E-Mart clerk : APU
The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …
57. With 47-Across, “Fiddler on the Roof” star : CHAIM …
(47A. See 57-Across : … TOPOL)
Chaim Topol (usually called just “Topol”) is an actor from Tel Aviv in Israel. I well remember Topol for his marvelous portrayal of Tevye in the original West End performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in the sixties. He later reprised the role in the 1971 movie of the show, and then again in a 1990 Broadway revival. Famously, Topol also played good guy Milos Columbo in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”.
69. Kablooey : SHOT
Something described as “kablooey” or “kablooie” has been destroyed, blown apart.
70. Place with a platform: Abbr. : STA
8. One of billions in a puffball : SPORE
A puffball is a type of fungus, so named because the spores are propagated in a dust-like cloud as its fruiting body matures and bursts open.
10. John le Carré writing : SPY NOVEL
“John Le Carré” is the pen name of David Cornwell, an English author who is famous for his spy novels. Cornwell worked for British Intelligence during the fifties and sixties, even as he was writing his spy thrillers. He left MI6 soon after his most famous 1963 novel “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, became such a great success.
11. Au courant : HIP
“Au courant” means “up-to-date” and comes into English directly from French, in which language it has the same meaning.
12. Oktoberfest offering : ALE
Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …
14. Common Market market: Abbr. : EUR
The European Economic Community (EEC) was also known as the “Common Market”. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union (EU).
15. Certain code carrier : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.
21. Goose bumps cause : FRIGHT
The terms “goosebumps” and “goose flesh” come from the fact that skin which is cold can look like the flesh of a plucked goose.
26. French network : RUES
In France, one might drive along a “rue” (road) through “une ville” (a town).
29. Entité politique française : ETAT
In French, an “état” (state) is an “entité politique française” (French political entity).
35. Moolah : DO-RE-MI
“Do-re-mi” is a slang term for cash. The term is American in origin and dates back to the 1920s. “Do-re-mi” is likely to be a pun on “dough”, another slang term for cash or money.
38. “Somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown,” per Tom Hanks : HERO
Tom Hanks is a such a great actor, I think. He has played so many iconic roles in a relatively short career. Hanks is from California, and studied theater for a couple of years in Hayward, California not far from here. Hanks is married to the talented actress Rita Wilson.
40. TV role for George Clooney or Noah Wyle : ER DOCTOR
“ER” is a TV medical drama that was created by successful novelist and screenwriter MIchael Crichton. The show had an original run of 15 seasons and featured quite a cast of actors who came and went over time. The cast included Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Eriq La Salle, Julianna Margulies and Angela Bassett.
42. It ends in Nov. : DST
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring (i.e. “spring forward”) and backwards in the fall (i.e. “fall back”) so that afternoons have more daylight.
48. Stonehenge worshipers, e.g. : PAGANS
A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world. In classical Latin, “paganus” means “villager, rustic”.
The magnificent Stonehenge monument in the south of England was built from 3000 to 2000 BC. “Stonehenge” has given its name to “henges”, a whole class of earthwork monuments that are circular in form with an internal ditch surrounded by a bank. Paradoxically, Stonehenge doesn’t qualify as a henge by this contemporary definition, as its earthen bank is surrounded by an external ditch.
50. Zambia’s capital : LUSAKA
The capital city of Zambia is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of the country. Lusaka grew from a village, the headman of which was named Lusaka.
60. Vietnamese neighbor : LAO
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country’s name is “Meuang Lao”. The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of “Lao” entities united into one, the French added the “S” and so today we tend to use “Laos” instead of “Lao”.
63. Greeting in Brazil : OLA
Brazil is the largest country in South America, and the fifth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, China and the US). Brazil was a Portuguese colony from 1500 to 1815. The official name of the country under Portuguese rule was Terra da Santa Cruz (Land of the Holy Cross). However, European sailors used the name Terra do Brasil (Land of Brazil), a reference to the brazilwood tree that was much prized in Europe for the deep red dye that it produced.