Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answer is a movie title, but with an adjective UPLIFTED, changed for the better:
- 20A. Uplifting remake of a 1980 Donald Sutherland/Mary Tyler Moore film? : SPECIAL PEOPLE (from “Ordinary People”)
- 26A. Uplifting remake of a 2010 Annette Bening/Julianne Moore film? : THE KIDS ARE SUPER (from “The Kids Are All Right”)
- 45A. Uplifting remake of a 1997 Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt film? : AS GREAT AS IT GETS (from “As Good as It Gets”)
- 51A. Uplifting remake of a 1964 Audrey Hepburn/Rex Harrison film? : MY AWESOME LADY (from “My Fair Lady”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
5. “Madly for ___” (1952 campaign slogan) : ADLAI
Adlai Stevenson (AES) ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) in 1952 and again in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy (JFK) as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were “Don’t wait for the translation, answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” followed by “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!”
10. Think piece? : BEAN
A slang term for a “head” might be “bean” or “noggin”.
14. The Gaels of the N.C.A.A. : IONA
Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name Killian.
16. Emmy winner Gunn of “Breaking Bad” : ANNA
Anna Gunn is an actress from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is best known for playing Skyler White on the TV show “Breaking Bad”.
18. Noodle dish : RAMEN
Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is a also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.
19. Bygone Fords : LTDS
There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation LTD stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for Luxury Trim Decor, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.
20. Uplifting remake of a 1980 Donald Sutherland/Mary Tyler Moore film? : SPECIAL PEOPLE (from “Ordinary People”)
“Ordinary People” is a fascinating 1980 film about a family dealing with the death of one their sons in a boating accident. Starring Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore, “Ordinary People” was the first film directed by Robert Redford.
23. Foreman foe : ALI
George Foreman is a former World Heavyweight Champion boxer and Olympic gold medalist. Famously, Foreman lost his title to Muhammad Ali in the 1974 title fight that was billed as “the Rumble in the Jungle”. Foreman is also known for promoting the George Foreman Grill, and for naming all five of his sons “George”.
24. Bud rival : COORS
Adolph Coors founded the Coors brewing company in 1873, in Golden, Colorado. Coors was originally from the Rhine Province in Prussia, and worked in various brewers around what is today Germany before immigrating to the US in 1868. Despite all of his success as a brewer here in America, Coors ended up taking his own life in 1929, by jumping to his death out of a hotel window.
26. Uplifting remake of a 2010 Annette Bening/Julianne Moore film? : THE KIDS ARE SUPER (from “The Kids Are All Right”)
“The Kids Are All Right” is an entertaining 2010 movie with a fabulous cast that includes Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska. Bening and Moore play a lesbian couple, with each of them having given birth to a child using the same sperm donor. Ruffalo plays the sperm donor, and Wasikowska plays the elder of the two children.
33. “Walk Away ___” (1966 top 10 hit) : RENEE
“Walk Away Renée” is a hit song by the band called The Left Banke, released in 1966. It was composed by the band’s keyboard player, Michael Brown, when he was just 16-years-old.
34. Prohibition enforcer, informally : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury (T is for “Treasury”).
The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.
36. Birthplace of the tango: Abbr. : ARG
Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and geographically is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.
The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.
37. Big name in dishes : DIRECTV
DirecTV is a company providing television and audio programming via satellite. The company was founded in 1985 as Hughes Electronics Corporation, and became DirecTV in 1990.
40. Spleen : IRE
“To vent one’s spleen” means to vent one’s anger, perhaps by shouting and screaming. This expression is rooted in the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that a person’s temperament was dictated by the balance of the body’s four “humors”. The spleen produced the humor known as yellow bile, which was associated with an aggressive and energetic personality.
41. Bucolic setting : LEA
The word “bucolic”, meaning “rustic, rural”, comes to us from the Greek word “boukolos” meaning “cowherd”.
42. Mecca’s holy Kaaba, e.g. : CUBE
The Kaaba is a large, cube-shaped structure that resides in a mosque in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. According to the Qur’an, the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham and his son, Ishmael. When Muslims turn to face Mecca during prayers, they are actually turning to the Kaaba.
45. Uplifting remake of a 1997 Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt film? : AS GREAT AS IT GETS (from “As Good as It Gets”)
“As Good as it Gets” is a very entertaining romantic comedy of sorts released in 1997 and starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson and Hunt won Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars for their performances. No other film has garnered both Best Actor and Best Actress Academy Awards since “As Good as it Gets”.
50. Subject of a 10-part 2017 Ken Burns documentary on PBS, for short : NAM
Ken Burns directs and produces epic documentary films that usually make inventive use of archive footage. Recent works are the sensational “The War” (about the US in WWII) and the magnificent “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, as well as 2014’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”. His latest offering is 2017’s “The Vietnam War”.
51. Uplifting remake of a 1964 Audrey Hepburn/Rex Harrison film? : MY AWESOME LADY (from “My Fair Lady”)
George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.
58. Wooley with the 1958 #1 hit “The Purple People Eater” : SHEB
As well as having his huge hit in 1958 called “The Purple People Eater”, Sheb Wooley played Ben Miller in the movie “High Noon” and co-starred in the TV’s “Rawhide”, playing the role of Pete Nolan. Wooley also wrote the theme song for the long-running television show “Hee Haw”.
61. Nastase of tennis fame : ILIE
I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to give the crowd a laugh. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Hungarian Senate though, and has been a senator since May 2014.
62. Big Island coffee : KONA
Kona coffee is cultivated on the Big Island of Hawaii, on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai, two of the five active volcanoes on the island. Coffee plants were brought to Kona in 1828 and late in the 19th century, coffee became a viable and worthwhile crop. Today Kona is a one of the most expensive and popular coffees in the world.
63. Indigenous Canadian : INUIT
The Inuit peoples live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.
66. Rich dessert : TORTE
A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).
1. Mental acuity : WITS
“Acuity” is an acuteness of perception, a mental sharpness. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “acuere” meaning “to sharpen”.
8. Jon who wrote and illustrated “Palindromania!” : AGEE
Jon Agee is a writer who seems to like words. He writes books for children such as “Palindromania!”, which is a celebration of palindromes. He also wrote “Smart Feller Fart Smeller”, which is filled with spoonerisms.
9. Naïf : INNOCENT
A naïf is someone who is naive, as “naïf” is the French word for “naive”.
10. Cat played by Jane Fonda : BALLOU
“Cat Ballou” is a 1965 film, a comedy western starring Jane Fonda in the title role and Lee Marvin in dual roles, for which Marvin won his only Oscar. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Roy Chanslor. The novel was a serious and a quite dark work, but it was lightened up for the big screen.
Jane Fonda is the daughter of Henry Fonda, sister of Peter Fonda, and aunt of Bridget Fonda, making the Fondas quite the acting family. Jane Fonda had many memorable screen performances, but is equally memorable for her anti-war activism. Most famously she was outspoken against the Vietnam War, going so far as to visit North Vietnam during the height of the conflict in 1972, posing for photographs and making radio broadcasts denouncing American leaders as “war criminals”. For her stance, Fonda earned the nickname “Hanoi Jane”.
11. Fictional ship on a five-year mission : ENTERPRISE
The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starship with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.
13. “Hip Hop Is Dead” rapper : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …
25. Artist who went dotty? : SEURAT
Pointillism is a style of painting that grew out of Impressionism. The pointillist technique calls for the artist to use small, distinct dots of bold color to build up the image. Pointillism was developed in the late 1800s by the great French painter, Georges Seurat. You can go see his magnificent work “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” at The Art Institute of Chicago the next time you’re in town.
27. Inquisition infraction : HERESY
The Inquisition was a practice used by the Roman Catholic Church in a fight against heresy starting in the 12th century. The job of the Inquisition was to determine if one accused was actually a heretic, and then to hand over said heretic to secular authorities for punishment, which often included burning at the stake.
28. Gig : ENGAGEMENT
Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.
29. Move like Jagger : STRUT
Sir Mick Jagger met up with Keith Richards at school when Jagger was only 7-years-old. They were to become one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time, rivaling Lennon and McCartney (some say!).
30. Slide presentation? : AMEBA
An ameba (or “amoeba”, as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.
39. Curriculum ___ : VITAE
A curriculum vitae (CV) is a listing of someone’s work experience and qualifications, and is used mainly in making a job application. The term “curriculum vitae” can be translated from Latin as “course of life”.
44. Iconic movie studio symbol : MGM LION
There has been a lion in the logo of the MGM studio since 1924. The original was an Irishman (!), a lion named Slats who was born in Dublin Zoo in 1919. However, it wasn’t until Jackie took over from Slats in 1928 that the roar was heard, as the era of silent movies was coming to an end. The current lion is called Leo, and he has been around since 1957.
46. Popular shades brand : RAY-BAN
Ray-Ban sunglasses were introduced in 1937 for the US Army Air Corps. The Ray-Ban Aviator model of glasses became very popular with the pilots, and apparently with General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur was wearing a pair when he was photographed “returning” to the Philippines in WWII.
47. A good one is under 3.00, for short : ERA
Earned run average (ERA)
52. Puzzlemaker Rubik : ERNO
What was originally called the “Magic Cube” became better known as Rubik’s Cube, named for its inventor Ernő Rubik. Rubik’s Cube is the world’s biggest selling puzzle game, with over 350 million sold in just over 30 years.
53. Whiskey drink : SOUR
A whiskey sour is made from whiskey, lemon juice and sugar, and is usually garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
55. Purina One alternative : ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?
Purina began operations in 1894 as an operation for producing feed for farm animals. A few years later, in 1902, the Ralston name was introduced when Webster Edgerly joined the business. Edgerly was the founder of a controversial social movement called Ralstonism. Central to the movement was personal health, with RALSTON standing for Regime, Activity, Light, Strength, Temperation, Oxygen and Nature.