Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Plucky words? : SHE LOVES ME
She loves me not …
11. Flags : SAGS
Our verb “to flag” meaning “to tire” was originally used in the sense of something flapping about lazily in the wind. From this it came to mean “to go limp, droop”, and then “to tire”.
16. “Star Trek: T.N.G.” role : TROI
Deanna Troi is a character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” who is played by the lovely Marina Sirtis. Sirtis is a naturalized American citizen and has what I would call a soft American accent on the show. However, she was born in the East End of London and has a natural accent off-stage that is more like that of a true Cockney.
19. It holds the world record for most passengers on a commercial airliner [1,088] : EL AL
In 1991, the Israeli government responded to political turmoil in Ethiopia with an evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa. The massive undertaking was known as Operation Solomon, and involved continuous shuttling of 34 large aircraft for 36 hours non-stop. On one of those flights, an El Al 747 carried 1,088 passengers. That’s a record number of a passengers for a commercial airliner.
22. They try to get into your head : PSYOPS
Psychological Operations (PSYOP) is a contemporary name for propaganda, the “winning of hearts and minds in a combat zone.
25. Recipe amount : DASH
In cooking, the terms “dash”, “pinch” and “smidgen” can all be used for a very small measure, one that is often undefined. However, you can in fact buy some measuring spoons that define these amounts as follows:
- a dash is 1/8 teaspoon
- a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon
- a smidgen is 1/32 teaspoon
26. Attraction in Bath, England : SPA
Bath is a beautiful city in South West England of which I have very fond memories. Bath is an old Roman spa town, and the city’s name comes from the Roman baths that have been excavated and restored.
29. Alternative to Chanel No. 5 : ESTEE
“Estée” is the signature fragrance from the Estée Lauder Company. “Estée” was the second fragrance developed by Estée Lauder herself, and was introduced in 1968. Lauder’s first fragrance was “Youth Dew”, introduced in 1953.
Chanel No. 5 is a perfume that was released by Coco Chanel back in 1921. Chanel had an affinity for the number “5”, and always presented her dress collection on May 5th (the fifth day of the fifth month). When she was presented a selection of experimental scents as potential choices for the first perfume to bear the Chanel name, she chose the sample in the fifth vial. Chanel instructed that the “sample number 5” should keep its name, asserting that it would bring the scent good luck.
31. Prefix with gender : CIS-
The term “cisgender” is now used as the opposite of “transgender”. Cisgender people have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned at birth.
38. Shylock’s daughter in “The Merchant of Venice” : JESSICA
Shylock is a character in William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”. Shylock is a moneylender and he gives a loan which is to be secured by “a pound of flesh”. When the money cannot be repaid, Shylock demands his pound of flesh, the collection of which would kill the poor victim of his scheme.
41. Sea as in Cannes? : MER
Cannes is a city on the French Riviera that is noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The decision to host an annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.
43. Something to watch : THE GAP
“Mind the gap” is a very famous announcement made in several stations on the London Underground. The announcement is needed as there can be a large gap between the doorways of trains and the platform. This gap arises because the platforms of some stations are quite curved, while the train cars are of course straight.
45. Neighbor of Iran: Abbr. : PAK
The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”. One example is “Pakistan”, the Place of the Pure. “Pakistan” is a relatively recent name, first coined in 1933. It comes from the abbreviation PAKSTAN, standing for Punjab – Afghan Province – Kashmir – Sindh – BaluchisTAN, all regions in the north of India. The “I” was added to Pakistan to make it easier to pronounce, and to fit the translation “Land of the Pure”.
46. Area worth the most bonus troops in the game Risk : ASIA
Risk is a fabulous board game, one first sold in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …
52. Guarantee of the Sixth Amendment : ATTORNEY
The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that deals with an individual’s rights when facing criminal prosecution.
54. Hill of ___, site of Ireland’s Lia Fáil : TARA
The Lia Fáil is the coronation stone that is found on the Hill of Tara, the traditional seat of the High Kings of Ireland. “Lia Fáil” translates from Irish as “stone of destiny”.
55. “The O.C.” protagonist : RYAN
“The O.C.” is a teen drama that aired for four seasons on Fox finishing up in 2007. I never watched it, but I understand that it is set in Newport Beach in Southern California.
7. “The noblest hateful love that ___ I heard of”: “Troilus and Cressida” : E’ER
William Shakespeare wrote his tragedy “Troilus and Cressida” in 1602. The play was inspired by “The Iliad”, and is a retelling of events during the Trojan War leading up to the death of Hector.
8. Small suits : SPEEDOS
Speedo brand swimwear was first produced in Australia in 1928, by a hosiery company that wanted to diversify. The brand name was chosen after a slogan competition among employees was won by “Speed on in your Speedos”. It was a long time ago, I guess …
10. Many 1920s Harper’s Bazaar covers : ERTES
“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.
“Harper’s Bazaar” was first published in 1867, making it the first women’s fashion magazine to hit the newsstands.
14. 1950s TV personality who appeared in “Grease” : SID CAESAR
Sid Caesar achieved fame in the fifties on TV’s “Your Show of Shows”. To be honest, I know Sid Caesar mainly from the very entertaining film version of the musical “Grease”, in which he played Coach Calhoun.
21. Current regulator : RHEOSTAT
A rheostat is an electrical device that can offer a varying degree of resistance to current flow. The English physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone first coined the term, using the Greek “rheos” meaning “flowing stream” and “stat” meaning “regulating device”.
24. Poor work habit : SLOTH
“Sloth”, meaning “indolence, sluggishness”, comes from the Middle English word “slowe”, the same root for our contemporary word “slow”. The animal, the sloth, is so named as it exhibits slow-moving behavior.
28. Relig. affiliation of more than six million Americans : LDS
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often abbreviated to “LDS”, is known colloquially as the Mormon Church.
30. Request for an island getaway? : SOS
The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.
33. Popular ABC reality show starting in 2009 : SHARK TANK
“Shark Tank” is a reality television show that features aspiring entrepreneurs making pitches to potential investors (the “sharks”) as they try to grow their businesses. The show is a Mark Burnett production and is based in a British series called “Dragons’ Den”.
35. Andrew Wyeth’s “The ___ Pictures” : HELGA
Andrew Wyeth was known as a realist painter and “the painter of the people” in recognition of his popularity with the man in the street. His neighbor, Helga Testorf, posed for a total of 247 paintings over a 14 year period, a series known as “The Helga Pictures”. The remarkable thing is that neither Wyeth’s wife nor Testorf’s husband knew anything about the portrait sessions or the paintings.
38. “Morning ___” : JOE
“Morning Joe” is a show broadcast by MSNBC each weekday morning. It is hosted by Joe Scarborough, and first went on the air in 2007. Given the name of the show, Starbucks were very content being the show’s sponsor from 2009 through 2013, and got lots of product placement.
44. Who’s depicted in Russia’s “Bronze Horseman” statue : PETER I
Peter the Great (aka “Peter I”) was perhaps the most successful of the Romanov tsars, and was famous for modernizing Russia and expanding the country’s sphere of influence, creating the Russian Empire. He ruled from 1682 until his death in 1725.
49. He “wept with all six eyes,” per Dante : SATAN
Dante Alighieri (usually just “Dante”) was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is widely considered to be the greatest literary work ever written in the Italian language.
51. Slakes : SATES
“To slake” is to satisfy a craving, as in slaking one’s thirst.
53. Kind of place for the summer? : ONES
To do sums, we need to total the columns of ones, tens, hundreds, etc.
57. Subject of Noam Chomsky’s “American Power and the New Mandarins,” briefly : NAM
Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.
58. Communication device for the deaf: Abbr. : TTY
TTY is an acronym for a teletype writer, a device that is used at either end of a telephone line when one or both conversing parties is deaf. The teletype writer passes written messages to and fro between each of the terminals.
59. Cry at a Real Madrid game : GOL!
Real Madrid is the professional soccer team based in Madrid, Spain. The team name translates as “Royal Madrid”. Real Madrid is now the world’s most valuable soccer team.