Edited by: Will Shortz
We have a note with today’s puzzle:
Two letters of the alphabet are missing from the main, connected portion of the completed grid. What are they? The answer goes, appropriately, at 35-Across.
The answer at 35-across is CANDY, which sits inside a PINATA depicted by the black squares at the center of the grid. CANDY can be rewritten as “C AND Y”, telling us that the letters C and Y don’t appear at all in the rest of the grid:
- 44D. Party item depicted in the middle of this puzzle’s grid : PINATA
- 35A. Likely contents of a 44-Down : CANDY (can be rewritten as “C AND Y”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
15. Regal Entertainment Group facility : MULTIPLEX
The Regal Entertainment Group chain of theaters is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee.
17. Hierarchical structure, metaphorically : TOTEM POLE
“Totem” is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.
18. “Fighting man from head to toe” : GI JOE
G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.
21. Mild cheese : GOUDA
Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, given it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.
24. Letters on a cartoon stick : TNT
“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.
25. First name in “wabbit” hunting : ELMER
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …
26. Org. with millions of members HQ’d in Fairfax, Va. : NRA
National Rifle Association (NRA)
27. Consumes too much, informally : ODS
31. Stock opportunity, in brief : IPO
An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).
37. Connector of English stories : LIFT
Elevators are known as “lifts” in England.
Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.
38. French 101 verb : ETRE
The French for “to be” is “être”.
39. No Triple Crown winner ever : MARE
There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:
- Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
- Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
- Filly: female horse under the age of four
- Colt: male horse under the age of four
- Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
- Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
- Mare: female horse four years or older
The US Triple Crown horse races are, in order through the year:
- The Kentucky Derby
- The Preakness Stakes
- The Belmont Stakes
46. Enliven, with “up” : GIN
“To gin up” is slang, meaning “to enliven, excite”. The term probably derives from the older “to ginger up”. Gingering up was the rather nasty practice of putting ginger up inside a horse to make it lively and move with a high tail.
47. Kind of scheme : PONZI
Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. Ponzi devised a scheme to buy what were known as “international reply coupons” through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an “illegal” transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it’s what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme. He couldn’t redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. Many people wanted to get in on the scheme seeing that Ponzi was able to make the new investors a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn’t double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.
55. Hard, pungent cheese : ASIAGO
Asiago is a crumbly cheese that is named for the region in northeastern Italy from where it originates.
57. Melania Trump ___ Knauss : NEE
When President Donald Trump took office, his wife Melania Trump was the first naturalized US citizen to become First Lady of the US. President Trump’s wife was born Melanija Knavs (often Germanized to “Melania Knauss”) in the city of Novo Mesto in Slovenia, which was then part of former Yugoslavia. But, Melania Trump isn’t the first First Lady born overseas. That honor goes to London-born Louisa Adams, the wife of President John Adams.
58. “Hooked on Classics” label : K-TEL
K-Tel was founded in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by one Philip Kives. K-Tel’s recipe for success was the sale of inexpensive goods with a simple sales pitch and mail-order distribution.
I know that a lot of people detested the “Hooked on Classics” albums, but to be honest, I found them to be a lot of fun. But then again, I like disco! The original “Hooked on Classics” album was recorded in 1981 by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from London. The music was a selection of recognizable extracts from the world of classical music played over a continuous, disco beat.
59. Some toy trucks : TONKAS
The toy manufacturer today known as Tonka started out as a manufacturer of garden implements in Mound, Minnesota in 1946. By 1955, toys had become the main product line for the company. At that time the owners decided to change the company name and opted for “Tonka”, a Dakota Sioux word meaning “great, big”.
60. Lao-___ : TSE
Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.
61. Library references, briefly : OEDS
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
62. San ___, Tex. : ANGELO
San Angelo is a city in West Central Texas.
1. Defib user : EMT
A defibrillator (defib) might be operated by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
3. Widely played sport developed at Amherst College in the 1960s : ULTIMATE FRISBEE
Ultimate is a team sport, similar to football or rugby in that the goal is to get a flying disc into an endzone or goal area. The sport used to be called “Ultimate Frisbee”, but the “Frisbee” was dropped as it is a registered trademark.
4. Cross-country route, informally : I-TEN
I-10 is the most southerly of the interstate routes that cross from the Atlantic right to the Pacific. I-10 stretches from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. Various stretches of the route have been given different names, for example, the Rosa Parks Freeway, the Santa Monica Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.
5. Popular beige work boots, colloquially : TIMS
The Timberland Company was founded in 1957 by Nathan Swartz, a shoemaker from Boston. The business’s first successful product was the waterproof boot called the Timberland. It was so successful that the company adopted Timberland for its name.
6. Silicon Valley product : APP
The Santa Clara Valley, located just a few miles from me at the south of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.
7. Trashed : BLOTTO
The term “blotto” meaning “drunk” dates back to the early 1900s. It supposedly is derived from the word “blot”, in the sense that being drunk one must have soaked up a whole load of booze.
8. University founder ___ Stanford : LELAND
Leland Stanford became a very successful businessman in California after moving there from New York during the Gold Rush. Stanford then served as governor of the state for two years, and later US Senator for California. He founded the Leland Stanford Junior University in memory of his teenage son who died of typhoid fever while the family was travelling in Italy in 1884. The university opened its doors for business in 1891, and the first student admitted was none other than Herbert Hoover, the man would become the 31st President of the US.
11. Brooks Robinson was one : ORIOLE
Brooks Robinson played baseball for the Baltimore Orioles for the whole of his MLB career, from 1955 to 1977. Many believe that Robinson was the great defensive third baseman to play the game. He was given the nickname “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” for his ability to “suck up” ground balls.
13. “Johnny B. ___” (Chuck Berry hit) : GOODE
“Johnny B. Goode” is a rock and roll number that was made famous by Chuck Berry in the late fifties. “Johnny B. Goode” even made it into outer space as it was chosen as one of four American songs that were included on the Voyager Golden Record, which was attached to the Voyager spacecraft that left our solar system in 2012.
30. Agreement : ENTENTE
An entente cordiale (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place 1904.
32. Law office worker : PARALEGAL
A paralegal (sometimes just “para”) is someone who is trained in legal matters sufficiently to assist a lawyer. A paralegal cannot engage in the practice of law and must be supervised by a qualified lawyer.
33. Actor Wilson : OWEN
The actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.
42. Marx collaborator : ENGELS
Friedrich Engels was a German political theorist who worked closely with Karl Marx to develop what became known as Marxist Theory. Along with Marx, he also co-authored “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848, and later he supported Marx as he worked to publish “Das Kapital”.
43. Israeli gun : UZI
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.
44. Party item depicted in the middle of this puzzle’s grid : PINATA
Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.
54. Old-time film studio : RKO
The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.
56. Royal wish, once : SON
… because only male offspring could succeed to the throne.