Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed clues is in the format “Where x beats y”, where x and y appear to be holdings in a poker hand. However, the answer reveals that we aren’t referring to poker at all:
- 17A. Where a queen can beat a king : CHESS MATCH
- 39A. Where an ace can beat a pair : DOUBLES TENNIS
- 61A. Where two pair beats three of a kind : SOCK DRAWER
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Feeds the kitty : ANTES
The pot in a card game has been referred to as the kitty since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it came from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.
6. Immunity ___ (“Survivor” object) : IDOL
The reality show “Survivor” is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called “Expedition Robinson”.
10. Trash bag brand : GLAD
Glad is a company making plastic products, especially food containers and trash bags. Glad was launched in 1963 to make Glad Wrap, a polyethylene wrap used to preserve food.
14. Bread : MOOLA
Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, scratch, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.
15. Dixie bread : PONE
“Pone” is another word for corn bread, and comes from the Powhatan term “apan” meaning “something baked”.
17. Where a queen can beat a king : CHESS MATCH
In a chess match, a queen can place a king in checkmate.
19. Disney’s “___ and the Detectives” : EMIL
“Emil and the Detectives” is a novel first published in 1929. It was originally written in German and was titled “Emil und die Detektive”. The Disney company released a screen adaptation in 1964.
20. Mossad’s land: Abbr. : ISR
The national intelligence agency of Israel is known as Mossad, which is short for HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim (Hebrew for “Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations”).
23. Bird on Australia’s coat of arms : EMU
The official symbol of Australia is a coat of arms that features a kangaroo and an emu.
29. Big name in DVD rental : REDBOX
Redbox is known for renting DVDs from automated retail kiosks placed in locations such grocery stores and fast food restaurants. Perhaps in an obvious move, Redbox now offers a video streaming service called “Redbox Instant”, a joint-venture with Verizon.
31. Soccer’s Messi, informally : LEO
Lionel “Leo” Messi is a soccer player from Argentina. Messi was awarded FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) award from 2009 to 2013. The Ballon d’Or is presented to the player who is considered the best in the world in the prior year.
32. Half a sawbuck : ABE
The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.
“Sawbuck” is slang for a ten dollar bill. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the bill) resembles the end of sawhorse.
35. Cheese in moussaka : FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.
Moussaka is a delicious dish from the Balkans that uses eggplant or potato as a base. The dish often includes ground meat, particularly lamb.
37. Midwest university town : AMES, IOWA
Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable events, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.
39. Where an ace can beat a pair : DOUBLES TENNIS
In doubles tennis, a server’s ace can beat a pair of opponents.
43. Wine ___ (oenophile, often) : SNOB
In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oen-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.
45. “Borstal Boy” author : BEHAN
Brendan Behan was an Irish writer and playwright. His most famous work is probably “Borstal Boy”, which is an autobiographical novel. Borstal is a term used in the British Isles for juvenile detention. Behan was quite a character, famous for being a heavy drinker (“a drinker with a writing problem”, as he described himself). The drink eventually put him in an early grave, at 41 years old. I used to walk to school in Dublin right past the pub where he spent many hours every day.
47. Onetime English poet laureate Henry James ___ : PYE
Henry James Pye was an English poet who held the post of Poet Laureate from 1790 until his death in 1813. As Poet Laureate, Pye was the first with the title to receive an annual cash stipend, albeit a modest one. Prior to Pye, England’s Poet Laureates were given a annual stipend of a barrel of wine.
51. Texter’s “Yikes!” : OMG
OMG is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might think of …
53. Forerunners of smartphones, for short : PDAS
Personal digital assistant (PDA)
54. ___ Xing : PED
Pedestrian Crossing (Ped Xing)
55. “Forbidden” fragrance in old ads : TABU
Tabu is a whole line of cosmetics and perfumes produced by the House of Dana. The company’s brand names were purchased by a Florida company called Dana Classic Fragrances in 1999.
57. California’s ___ River : EEL
The Eel River in California was named in 1850 by an explorer Josiah Gregg after he made a trade with some Native Americans, swapping a frying pan for a large catch of eels.
59. One taking a bow in Greek art : EROS
Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic”, meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Also known as Amor, the Roman counterpart to Eros was Cupid.
61. Where two pair beats three of a kind : SOCK DRAWER
In a sock drawer, finding two matched pairs beats finding three socks of the one kind.
66. Breakfast brand : EGGO
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced the original name chosen, which was “Froffles”, created by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.
67. Morales of “La Bamba” : ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.
68. Cockamamie : INANE
“Cockamamy” (sometimes “cockamamie”) is a slang term meaning “ridiculous, incredible”. The term goes back at least to 1946, but may have originated as a slang term used by children in New York City in 1920s.
1. “The Walking Dead” channel : AMC
“The Walking Dead” is a horror television show that is made by AMC that is based on a comic book series of the same name. There are lots of flesh-eating zombies featured, so I won’t be caught “dead” watching it …
2. Japanese drama style : NOH
Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, including the female parts.
3. Gout target, often : TOE
Gout is caused by an elevation of the levels of uric acid in the blood. As a result of the high concentrations, the uric acid can crystallize out in tissue causing extreme discomfort. What we tend to call gout occurs when the crystals are deposited in the big toe.
4. Cow on milk cartons : ELSIE
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor fo Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.
6. Hoppy brew, briefly : IPA
India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.
8. Number of times Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose flew : ONCE
“Spruce Goose” is the familiar name given to the Hughes H-4 Hercules heavy transport plane, just one example of which was ever constructed. As the plane was built during WWII, wood was used instead of aluminum due to a shortage of the metal. That actual wood used was birch, but critics still used “Spruce Goose” as the name had a better ring to it. The Hercules has the largest wingspan of any aircraft ever built. You can go see it at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
9. “The Merry Widow” composer : LEHAR
Franz Lehar was a Hungarian composer who had a difficult relationship with the Nazi regime after it took control of his country. His wife was born Jewish, but converted to Catholicism. Fortunately for the Lehars, Hitler enjoyed the composer’s music and as a result Goebbels intervened and made Sophie Lehar “an honorary Aryan by marriage”.
“The Merry Widow” is an operetta composed by Franz Lehar. It is a comic piece about a rich widow and the attempts by her countrymen to marry her off in order to keep her fortune in the poverty-stricken Grand Duchy of Pontevedro. “The Merry Widow” was first performed in 1905 and has been popular ever since.
12. “I, Robot” author : ASIMOV
Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.
18. Radiology exam, briefly : MRI
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.
37. Garment in a vestry : ALB
An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.
40. Alfred of I.Q. testing : BINET
The first usable intelligence test was invented by a French psychologist named Alfred Binet. Binet collaborated with Théodore Simon and together they produced the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale that is still in use today for IQ tests.
45. Flock loser of rhyme : BO PEEP
The lines that are most commonly quoted for the rhyme about “Little Bo Peep” are:
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.
But, there are actually four more verses, including this one:
It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.
52. Goal for some H.S. dropouts : GED
The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.
56. Big name in audio systems : BOSE
Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Amar G. Bose, and is a company that specializes in manufacture of audio equipment.
58. Holder of the Obama cabinet : ERIC
Eric Holder was the Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015, the first African American to hold the position. Holder was close to President Obama during the presidential campaign. Holder was the campaign’s legal advisor and was also one of the three members on the Obama vice-presidential selection committee that recommended future Vice President Joe Biden.
60. Dipsomaniac : SOT
Dipsomania is a craving for alcohol to the point of damaging one’s health. “Dipsa” is the Greek for “thirst”, hence dipsomania is a “manic thirst”.
62. What Rick called Ilsa : KID
The famous line “Here’s looking at you, kid.” from 1942’s “Casablanca” was ranked no. 2 in a list of top movie quotes compiled by “The Hollywood Reporter”. The top of the list makes interesting reading, with the following comprising the top five:
- “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” from “Gone With the Wind” (1939)
- “Here’s looking at you, kid.” from “Casablanca” (1942)
- “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” from “Jaws” (1975)
- “May the Force be with you.” from “Star Wars” (1977)
- “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
63. Word in 12/8/41 headlines : WAR
The Infamy Speech was delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The speech takes its name for the opening line:
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The phrase “a date which will live in infamy” is often misquoted as “a day which will live in infamy”. The term “infamy” was inserted in the speech just before it was delivered. A previous version read “… a date which will live in world history”.
65. In medias ___ : RES
“In media res” is a Latin phrase that translates as “into the middle of things”. We use “in media res” to describe a literary technique in which a story starts at some point other than the beginning of the plot.