Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
11. It has “calculator” and “no-calculator” math sects. : PSAT
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)
22. Appointed member of Parliament : PEER
The UK Parliament is divided into two houses, with the upper house known as the House of Lords and the lower house as the House of Commons. The members of the House of Commons are elected, but most new members of the House of Lords are appointed. Historically, a large proportion of the membership of the upper house were hereditary peers, but recent legislative changes are reducing the numbers who can sit in the House of Lords by virtue of birthright.
27. Cirrus clouds, e.g. : WISPS
Cirrus (plural “cirri”) clouds are those lovely wispy, white strands that are often called “mare’s tails”.
30. Most tear-inducing, say : SPICIEST
The Scoville scale is a measure of the spiciness of chili peppers. The scale was invented by a pharmacist in 1912, Wilbur Scoville. To determine the position of a pepper on Scoville scale, the amount of capsaicin in the chili is measured. Capsaicin is an irritant that causes the sensation of burning when it comes into contact with tissue, particularly the mucous membranes.
37. Wayne Manor manservant : ALFRED
Alfred J. Pennyworth is the loyal butler to Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Alfred is sometimes referred to as “Batman’s batman”. Sir Michael Caine played Alfred in three movies: “Batman Begins”, “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Wayne Manor is the home of Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman. It is a huge manor that lies just outside Gotham City. Looking after the house is the Wayne family servant, Alfred. Beneath the grounds of the manor is an extensive cave system where Bruce Wayne put together his Batcave. Access is to the cave is via a staircase behind a hidden door. The door is opened by moving the hands of a non-functioning grandfather clock to 10:47, the time at which Wayne’s parents were murdered. It is the murder of his parents that sets Bruce off on his journey of crime fighting.
43. Window component : JAMB
A door or window jamb is the vertical portion of the frame. The term “jamb” comes from the French word “jambe” meaning “leg”.
47. Buffet table item : TUREEN
A tureen is a deep dish used for serving soups and stews. This should not be confused with “terrine”, the name of a cooking dish made from glazed earthenware that has a tightly-fitting lid.
48. Cheesy fare : B MOVIE
The term “B movie” was used to describe movies that were made with low budgets and were intended to be the bottom half of a double feature (remember the days of double features?).
51. A mister may sit next to one : HOUSEPLANT
A mister might mist, provide water to, a houseplant.
54. It’s 29% cream : OREO
There is an “official” competition involving Oreo cookies, in case anyone is interested in participating. A competitor has to take several steps to finish an OREO Lick Race:
- Twist open the cookie.
- Lick each half clean of creme.
- Show the clean cookie halves to the fellow competitors.
- Dunk the cookie halves in a glass of milk.
- Eat the cookie halves.
- Drink the milk.
- Ready, set, go …
57. Redhead of Hogwarts : RON WEASLEY
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling.
5. It has arms, legs and feet, but no hands : SOFA
“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.
8. Potential perch : ROE
Perch are carnivorous freshwater fish that are found all over the world. Perch are particularly common in the Great Lakes, and in Lake Erie.
9. Brewing agent : ENZYME
Enzymes are basically catalysts, chemicals that act to increase the rate of a particular chemical reaction. For example, starches will break down into sugars over time, especially under the right conditions. However, in the presence of the enzyme amylase (found in saliva) this production of sugar happens very, very quickly.
13. Nautically protected : ALEE
Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.
31. Summer Olympics event discontinued after 1936 : POLO
The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.
34. Hill runner : PAGE
US Senate Pages are 16 and 17-year-old high school juniors who get to watch the political action up close in Washington, while doing the “gofer” jobs needed by the Senators and permanent staff. There are 30 Pages during the school year, 16 appointed by the majority party, and 14 by the minority. The list of former Senate Pages includes Amy Carter (daughter of the President), Chris Dodd (who became a Senator) and Spiro Agnew (who made it to the Vice President’s Office).
36. Opposite of schadenfreude : PITY
Our word “schadenfreude” comes from German. “Schaden” means harm or adversity, and “Freude” means joy. So, schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Quite the opposite of pity.
38. Some “Murder One” figs. : DAS
District Attorney (DA)
40. Shell alternative : SUNOCO
Back in the late 1800s, Sunoco was known as the Sun Oil Company.
Royal Dutch Shell is the fourth largest company in the world in terms of revenue (Walmart is the largest) and is headquartered in the Hague, in the Netherlands. The company was formed in 1907 with the merger of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading company of the UK. The two companies merged in order to compete globally with the biggest US oil company of the day, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell Oil Company is a US-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
42. Joy of TV : BEHAR
Joy Behar is a comedian, and former co-host of the hit talk show “The View”. Behar was one of the original co-hosts of “The View”, and stayed with the show from 1997 until 2013. She started hosting her own talk show called “Late Night Joy” in 2015.
43. Effects of double espressos : JOLTS
Espresso is made by forcing extremely hot water, under pressure, through finely ground coffee beans. The result is a thick and concentrated coffee drink, which contains quite a lot of solids and a lot of foam. An espresso machine was first patented in 1884 in Italy, although it was a machine to make the beverage in bulk. The first patent for a machine that made individual measures was applied for in 1901, also in Italy.
46. Old ___, pet name of Davy Crockett’s rifle : BETSY
The pioneer Davy Crockett is often referred to as “King of the Wild Frontier”. Crockett was from East Tennessee. After serving in the local militia he entered politics and represented his state in the US House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831. He disapproved of many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, which led to his defeat in the 1834 election for the House. The defeat prompted Crockett to leave Tennessee for Texas. Famously, he died there in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.
48. Tony winner Neuwirth : BEBE
Bebe Neuwirth is a wonderful actress and dancer who famously played Dr. Lilith Sternin, the wife of Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” and “Frasier”. Neuwirth is a fabulous dancer, having studied ballet at Juilliard. In more recent years she has had starring roles on Broadway, and in 2010 played opposite Nathan Lane in “The Addams Family”. Neuwirth also plays a leading role on the show “Madame Secretary”.
49. Grp. that takes on pirates : MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.
50. Common URL ending : GOV
The .gov domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:
- .com (commercial enterprise)
- .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
- .mil (US military)
- .org (not-for-profit organization)
- .gov (US federal government entity)
- .edu (college-level educational institution)