Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers is common phrase in the format “color+body part+ed”.
- 20A. Visibly tense : WHITE-KNUCKLED
- 32A. Extremely jealous : GREEN-EYED
- 44A. In the very act : RED-HANDED
- 56A. Deplorably cowardly : YELLOW-BELLIED
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
6. Gorillas : APES
Apes and monkeys both belong to the order of primates. The most obvious way to distinguish apes from monkeys is by the presence or lack of a tail. Almost all apes have no tail, and almost all monkeys have tails.
The gorilla is the largest primate still in existence, and is one of the nearest living species to humans. Molecular biology studies have shown that our nearest relatives are in fact the species in the genus Pan (the chimpanzee and the bonobo), which split from the human branch of the family 4-6 million years ago. Gorillas and humans diverged at a point about 7 million years ago. The term “gorilla” derives from the Greek “gorillai” meaning “tribe of hairy women”. Wow!
14. Ogden Nash’s “two-l” beast : LLAMA
The poet Ogden Nash is well known for his light and humorous verse. Try this one for size:
The one-L lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-L llama,
He’s a beast.
And I would bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
17. ___ nerve (retina attachment) : OPTIC
The optic nerve enters the eyeball at a location on the retina called the optic disc. Because there are no light-sensitive cells at the optic disc, there is a “hole” in our visual field that is called the blind spot. People with normal vision don’t usually notice this blind spot as the brain “fills in” the blind spot with information from the other eye.
18. Guitarist Clapton : ERIC
Can you believe that the great Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974, Clapton released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff” and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself. Clapton is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a member of the Yardbirds, once as a member of the supergroup Cream, and once as a solo artist.
23. ___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.
24. Crucial biological molecule : DNA
Francis Crick and James Watson discovered that DNA had a double-helix, chain-like structure, and published their results in Cambridge in 1953. To this day the discovery is mired in controversy, as some crucial results collected by fellow researcher Rosalind Franklin were used without her permission or even knowledge.
25. Figure in Greek myth after whom a continent is named : EUROPA
The continent of Europe was named for Europa, a Phoenician princess of Greek mythology.
31. Opposite of oui : NON
“Oui” is “yes” in French, and “non” is “no”.
32. Extremely jealous : GREEN-EYED
William Shakespeare was one of the first to associate the color green with envy. He called jealousy the “green-eyed monster” in his play “Othello”.
38. Convent residents : NUNS
Convents have been religious houses since the 1200s, but it wasn’t until the 1700s that convents became purely female institutions.
39. Rich ore sources : LODES
A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.
41. Counterpart to “if,” in computer science : ELSE
In the world of computer programming, an “if-then-else” construct is a type of conditional statement. The idea is that IF a particular condition is met THEN a particular action is executed. The additional ELSE statement can be used to define an alternative action.
44. In the very act : RED-HANDED
“To be caught red-handed” means to be caught in the act. The expression originated in Scotland and dates back at least to the 1400s. The red in question is blood, as in being caught with blood on one’s hands after perhaps committing a murder or an act of poaching.
46. Lancelot’s title : SIR
Sir Lancelot is one of the knights in the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table. Lancelot is the most trusted of Arthur’s knights when it comes to battle, but off the field he has a poorer reputation. Famously, Lancelot had an affair with Guinevere, Arthur’s wife.
50. Truss up : HOG-TIE
The hog-tie was first used on pigs (hence the name), and involves the tying together of all four limbs in order to render the animal immobile. On a pig, or any other four legged animal, the limbs are obviously tied in front. To hogtie a human, the hands are usually tied behind the back and joined to a rope binding the ankles.
52. Letters before a pseudonym : AKA
Also known as (aka)
2. Start or end of the Greek spelling of “Athena” : ALPHA
The Greek alphabet starts off with the letters alpha, beta, gamma …
The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.
6. Place of gladiatorial battle : ARENA
The term “gladiator” means “swordsman”, coming from “gladius”, the Latin word for “sword”.
7. Lima’s land : PERU
Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem.
10. Heavens, poetically : ETHER
The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also “ether”). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets.
11. Ex of Marla and Ivana, informally : THE DONALD
Marla Maples was the second wife of Donald Trump. Maples and Trump dated secretly for a couple of years while Trump was still married to his first wife Ivana. When Ivana discovered the affair, she filed for divorce, and eventually Donald and Marla married. It was Trump’s turn to file for divorce several years later after the National Enquirer outed Marla for having an affair with a Florida bodyguard.
Ivana Winklmayr was born in Czechoslovakia. Winklmayr was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald’s marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly as well-covered as their very litigious divorce in the early nineties.
13. Attila, for one : HUN
In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.
21. Prepare to be knighted : KNEEL
Kneel, and a monarch might “dub thee a knight” if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.
22. One of the seven deadly sins : LUST
The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are:
28. Item under a suit jacket : VEST
Here’s another word that often catches me out. What we call a vest here in the US is a waistcoat back in Ireland. And the Irish use the word “vest” for an undershirt.
29. Company that bought Kinko’s : FEDEX
FedEx began operations in 1973 as Federal Express, but now operates very successfully under it’s more catchy, abbreviated name. Headquartered in Memphis with its “SuperHub” at Memphis International Airport, FedEx is the world’s largest airline in terms of tons of freight flown. And due to the presence of FedEx, Memphis Airport has the largest-volume cargo operation of any airport worldwide.
33. Florida senator Marco : RUBIO
Marco Rubio became the junior US Senator for Florida in 2011. Famously, Rubio ran for the Republican nomination for president in the 2016 race, losing out to future president Donald Trump.
35. Times long, long ago : YORE
We use the word “yore” to mean “time long past” as in “the days of yore”. “Yore” comes from the Old English words for “of years”.
37. $250, for Mediterranean Avenue, even with a hotel on it : RENT
Mediterranean Avenue is a property in the game of Monopoly. The street names in the US version of Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.
45. Blend : AMALGAM
Amalgam is an alloy of mercury with some other metal. Many dental fillings are made of an amalgam of silver and mercury. We started using “amalgam” to mean “blend of different things” around 1790.
52. Bottomless pit : ABYSS
“Abyss”, meaning “deep chasm”, ultimately derives from the Greek “a-” (without) and “byssos” (bottom).
53. Breads served with hummus : PITAS
Pita is a lovely bread from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a “pocket” in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.
The lovely dip/spread called hummus usually contains mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. The name “hummus” is an Arabic word for “chickpeas”.
58. Salary : WAGE
It has been suggested that out term “salary” comes from the Latin “sal” meaning “salt”. The idea is that a Roman soldier’s “salarium” might have been an allowance to purchase salt.
61. Member of Cong. : REP
A member of the US House of Representatives is referred to either as a representative, a congressman, or a congresswoman.