Edited by: Will Shortz
Today’s themed answers are rhyming phrases comprising two words that cross each other in the grid:
- 17A. With 3-Down, useful : HANDY-
- 3D. See 17-Across : DANDY (handy-dandy)
- 19A. With 11-Down, snobbish : HOITY-
- 11D. See 19-Across : TOITY (hoity-toity)
- 39A. With 29-Down, sophisticated : HOTSY-
- 29D. See 39-Across : TOTSY (hotsy-totsy)
- 58A. With 48-Down, affectionate : LOVEY-
- 48D. See 58-Across : DOVEY (lovey-dovey)
- 60A. With 51-Down, weak and indecisive : NAMBY-
- 51D. See 60-Across : PAMBY (namby-pamby)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Puff ___ (snake) : ADDER
There are several species of venomous snakes that are referred to as puff adders. The so-called common puff adder is more correctly called the Bitis arietans. The most widespread snake in Africa, the common puff adder is responsible for more snakebite fatalities on the continent than any other snake.
6. Bit of Brylcreem, say : DAB
The original Brylcreem product was a pomade introduced in England in 1928. When it first appeared in a television advertisement it was touted with a jingle that started out:
Bryl-creem, a little dab’ll do ya,
Use more, only if you dare,
But watch out,
The gals will all pursue ya,–
They’ll love to put their fingers through your hair.
14. Prince Harry’s mum : DIANA
Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The wedding was a huge television event, with about 750 million people tuning in worldwide. Although the event was billed as a fairytale wedding, the couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
15. It hatches from a big egg : EMU
Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs.
18. ___ Keane, “The Family Circus” cartoonist : BIL
Bil Keane is a cartoonist most associated with his strip “The Family Circus”. Once Bil sketches out the text and idea for the cartoon, he sends it off to his son Jeff Keane who inks and colors the pictures so that the strip is ready for publication. In the storyline itself, the main characters are based on Bil’s own family. In fact, the son “Jeffy” in the story is based on Jeff, Bil’s son and production assistant.
20. California’s old Fort ___ : ORD
Fort Ord was an army post on Monterey Bay in California named after a General Ord, established in 1917 and closed in 1994. The fort was in a spectacular location with miles of beachfront, and it also had that lovely California weather. The old fort’s land is now managed as the Fort Ord National Monument.
21. Soupy “Oliver Twist” fare : GRUEL
“Please, sir. I want some more” are words spoken by the title character in the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. . Oliver is addressing Mr. Bumble, asking for an extra helping of gruel in the workhouse.
23. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …
24. Award named for the winningest pitcher of all time : CY YOUNG
Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. Young is remembered for pitching the first perfect game of baseball’s modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created and is presented to the best pitcher in each baseball season.
28. Santa ___ winds : ANA
The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.
33. Coupon for the needy : FOOD STAMP
The US government’s Food Stamp program is more correctly referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The US Department of Agriculture administers the program, originally distributing coupons (or “stamps”) to people with low incomes to assist with the purchasing of food.
40. Listening device on a narc : WIRE
“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
41. Realtor’s showing : OPEN HOUSE
“Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as the trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.
44. Grand Ole ___ : OPRY
The Grand Ole Opry started out as a radio show in 1925 originally called the WSM “Barn Dance”. In 1927, the “Barn Dance” radio show was broadcast in a slot after an NBC production called “Musical Appreciation Hour”, a collection of classical works including Grand Opera. In a December show, the host of “Barn Dance” announced, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry'”. That name was used for the radio show from then on.
46. Patron of France : ST DENIS
Not only is Saint Denis (also “Denys”) the patron saint of France, but he is also the patron saint of Paris. Denis was the first Bishop of Paris, in the 3rd century AD, and was martyred by having his head chopped off. The legend surrounding this event is that the executed Denis picked up his head and walked for six miles, delivering a sermon the whole way.
59. Part of the Freudian psyche : EGO
Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The super-ego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.
1. ___ committee : AD HOC
The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.
6. Fix, as software : DEBUG
Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term.
8. Symbol of Teddy Roosevelt’s political party : BULL MOOSE
After President Theodore Roosevelt left office in 1909, he became disillusioned with the direction being taken by his own Republican Party. Roosevelt decided to run for the presidency again, and in doing so formed the Progressive Party. The new organization became known as the Bull Moose Party after Roosevelt was quoted as saying “I feel like a bull moose” soon after the new party had been launched. Roosevelt had a very poor showing in the 1912 presidential election, and the Progressive Party dissolved a few years later, in 1916.
22. Genetic initials : 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.
27. Roddick or Rooney : ANDY
Andy Roddick is a former World No. 1 tennis player from the US. Roddick retired in 2012, although he has been playing in what’s referred to as World Team Tennis.
Andy Rooney began his career in newspapers during WWII working for “Stars and Stripes” in London. He had some memorable experiences during the war, including flying on the first American bombing raid over Germany. He was also one of the first American journalists to visit the German concentration camps as they were liberated. He started his segment called “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” on CBS’s “60 Minutes” way back in 1978, and so was on our screens for over 40 years. Rooney passed away in 2011.
32. She raised Cain : EVE
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.
36. CT scan alternative : 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. It’s “mightier than the sword” : PEN
Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an English politician and writer. Among his writings, Bulwer-Lytton came up with some phrases that have endured, such as:
- “the great unwashed”
- “pursuit of the almighty dollar”
- “the pen is mightier than the sword”
- “It was a dark and stormy night …”
39. Arizona tribe : HOPI
Many of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.
43. Active during the daytime : DIURNAL
A diurnal animal is active during the day, whereas a nocturnal animal is active at night.
47. ___ Birch, “American Beauty” actress : THORA
Thora Birch is an actress from Los Angeles. Birch is probably best known for her breakthrough role in the 1999 movie “American Beauty” in which she was the insecure daughter of a married couple played by Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening.
49. Fencing blades : EPEES
The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, both of which are also thrusting weapons. However, the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.
52. Ping-Pong surface : TABLE
Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.
61. Org. for docs : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)