Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers sounds like a well-known phrase, but with a “Y” sound moved from the end of the first word, to near the end of the second:
- 23A. Interns at a cemetery? : GRAVE TRAINEES (from “gravy trains”)
- 38A. Take to social media following a good round of golf? : TWEET BIRDIES (from “Tweety Birds”)
- 61A. Pacts between packs? : DOG TREATIES (from “doggy treats”)
- 73A. Ones sharing quarters at the most macho fraternity? : STUD ROOMIES (from “study rooms”)
- 98A. Stylish underwear? : SMART PANTIES (from “smarty pants”)
- 114A. Things swapped at a convention of supermarket owners? : GROCER STORIES (from “grocery stores”)
- 15D. Social gatherings where fruit drinks are served? : JUICE PARTIES (from “juicy parts”)
- 60D. Take attendance in a magical forest? : COUNT FAIRIES (from “county fairs”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. M.I.T. Sloan grad, often : MBA
MIT’s School of Management is named for MIT graduate Alfred P. Sloan, a former chairman of General Motors.
27. New Left org. : SDS
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.
28. Features of Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park : MESAS
The highest number of National Parks (NPs) in any one state is nine, in California. Alaska comes in second with eight, and Utah with five. The five NPs in Utah are:
- Arches NP
- Bryce Canyon NP
- Canyonlands NP
- Capitol Reef NP
- Zion NP
32. ___ Court (London district) : EARL’S
Earl’s Court is a London district that used to be famous as the home to the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, a very expansive indoor arena that closed in 2014.
34. Series ender in London : ZED
The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s.
38. Take to social media following a good round of golf? : TWEET BIRDIES (from “Tweety Birds”)
The following terms are routinely used in golf for scores relative to par:
- Bogey: one over par
- Birdie: one under par
- Eagle: two under par
- Albatross (also “double eagle”): three under par
- Condor: four under par
No one has ever recorded a condor during a professional tournament.
Tweety Bird is a yellow canary character that appears in Warner Brothers cartoons. In the main, Tweety Bird was voiced by the great Mel Blanc.
42. Chickadee, e.g. : TOMTIT
Chickadees are a group of birds in the tit family, with some species within the group called chickadees and some called tits. The name chickadee is imitative of the bird’s alarm call “chick-dee dee dee”.
44. Brown ermine : STOAT
The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.
49. Emmy-winning show of both 1976 and 2017, in brief : SNL
“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)
53. Brain readings, for short : EEGS
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.
68. Corp. manager : COO
Chief operating officer (COO)
69. “More than I wanted to hear!” : TMI
TMI (too much information!)
72. Original Beatle Sutcliffe : STU
Stu Sutcliffe was one of the original four members of The Silver Beatles (as The Beatles were known in their early days), along with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Sutcliffe apparently came up with name “Beatles” along with John Lennon, as a homage to their hero Buddy Holly who was backed by the “Crickets”. By all reports, Sutcliffe wasn’t a very talented musician and was more interested in painting. He went with the group to Hamburg, more than once, but he eventually left the Beatles and went back to art school, actually studying for a while at the Hamburg College of Art. In 1962 in Hamburg, Sutcliffe collapsed with blinding headaches. He died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, his death attributed to cerebral paralysis.
78. Places to cool one’s jets? : HANGARS
“Hangar” is a French word for “shed”. The French first started using the term to mean “shed for airplanes” in the very early 1900s.
80. Adventurer in Grouchland : ELMO
The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.
90. Switch on the radio : AM/FM
In telecommunications, a radio signal is transmitted using a sinusoidal carrier wave. Information is transmitted using this carrier wave in two main ways, by varying (modulating) the instantaneous amplitude (signal strength) of the carrier wave, and by modulating the instantaneous frequency of the carrier wave. The former is referred to as an AM signal (for “amplitude modulation”), and the latter as an FM signal (for “frequency modulation”).
92. Nabokov novel : ADA
“Ada” is a 1969 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The story takes place in the 1800s on Antiterra, an Earth-like planet that has a history similar to ours but with interesting differences. For example, there is a United States, but that country covers all of North and South America. What we call eastern Canada is a French-speaking province called “Canady”, and western Canada is a Russian-speaking province called “Estody”. The storyline is about a man called Van Veen who, when 14 years old, meets for the first time his cousin, 11-year-old Ada. The two cousins eventually have an affair, only to discover later that they are in fact brother and sister.
95. It led to a 1773 protest : TEA ACT
The famous destruction of tea in Boston Harbor to protest against the Tea Act took place on December 16, 1773. The action was referred to as the “destruction of the tea” for decades, and it wasn’t until 1834 that the term “Boston Tea Party” first appeared in print.
97. Amazon peril : BOA
Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.
104. It doesn’t mean “lots of love” : LOL
Laugh out loud (“LOL” in text-speak)
107. Svelte : TRIM
“Svelte” comes into English from Latin, via the Italian “svelto” meaning “stretched out”. Something or someone described as svelte would be slender and graceful.
110. Camping gear retailer : REI
REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.
119. Citrus hybrid : UGLI
The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.
120. Starter supply for making bourbon : SOUR MASH
Sour mash is a whiskey that is distilled using mash from a previous batch to start fermentation. The sour mash process is analogous to the process used to make sourdough bread.
122. Fifth-most abundant element in the universe : NEON
Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid, and then warmed the liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.
123. Court org. : NBA
National Basketball Association (NBA)
124. Director Ang : LEE
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.
1. It decreases with acceleration, for short : MPG
Miles per gallon (mpg)
6. City near where Chopin was born : WARSAW
Warsaw is the capital of Poland. The city’s name translates into English as “belonging to Warsz”. Legend has it that Warsz was a fisherman who fell in love with a mermaid called Sawa. It’s a nice story, but actually Warsz was a nobleman from the 12th or 13th century who owned a local village.
Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer who spent most of his life in France. He was most famous for his piano works in the Romantic style. Chopin was a sickly man and died quite young, at 39. For many of his final years he had a celebrated and tempestuous relationship with the French author George Sand (the nom de plume of the Baroness Dudevant). Those years with Sand may have been turbulent, but they were very productive in terms of musical composition.
7. Actor Hamm of “Mad Men” : JON
Jon Hamm lived the life of a struggling actor for quite some time before he hit gold with the starring role in the AMC drama “Mad Men”. He plays the main character, advertising executive (and man about town), Don Draper. I am told by my wife and female friends, that he is quite good looking. I don’t see it myself …
9. Bit from Sunshine Biscuits : CHEEZ-IT
Cheez-it crackers were introduced way back in 1921, and were first sold by the Green & Green Company of Dayton, Ohio.
Sunshine Biscuits was an independent producer of cookies and crackers that produced Hi-Ho crackers in competition to the successful Ritz brand. In 1996, Sunshine was absorbed by the Keebler Company and Hi-Ho Crackers was on the list of brands that was discontinued because of the merger.
12. Big Ten powerhouse, for short : OSU
Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.
16. Bluejacket : OLD SALT
“Bluejacket” is a familiar term used for enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy and US Navy. In fact, the basic handbook for US Navy personnel is titled “The Bluejacket’s Manual”.
17. Samantha of 96-Down : BEE
(96D. Station for 17-Down : TBS)
Samantha Bee is a comedian from Toronto who found fame as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” starting way back in 2003. Bee left “The Daily Show” in 2015 to host her own late-night talk show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS.
20. California ball club : PADRES
The San Diego Padres were founded in 1969. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.
33. Paleolith : STONE TOOL
The Paleolithic Age is a period of human history lasting from about 2.6 million to about 10,000 years ago. The Paleolithic Age is noted as the time when humans started using stone tools. The word “Paleolithic” comes from the Greek “palaios” meaning “old” and “lithos” meaning “stone”, so the term really translates as “Old Stone Age”.
36. Caustic soda : LYE
What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …
40. Some feet : IAMBI
An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” consists of lines made up of four sequential iambs e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With a sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.
In poetry, a “foot” is the natural unit of stressed and unstressed syllables which make up the work. For example, an iambic foot consists of an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed syllable.
48. With 111-Across, cinnamon candy : RED …
(111. See 48-Down : … HOTS)
Red Hots are cinnamon-flavored candy pieces. I recently found out that Red Hots are sometimes used in apple sauce …
56. Q.E.D. part : ERAT
The initialism QED is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.
59. Kofi Annan’s middle name : ATTA
Kofi Annan is a diplomat from Ghana who served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007. Annan was born into an aristocratic family, and had a twin sister named Efua Atta. Efua and Kofi shared the middle name “Atta”, which means “twin” in the Akan language of Ghana. Annan attended the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1971-72, and graduated with a Master of Science degree.
62. Routine problem, for short : OCD
Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.
67. Watches via Netflix, say : STREAMS
Netflix was founded in Los Gatos, California in 1997 as a DVD rental company that sent out titles by mail. Netflix no longer focuses on distribution by mail, and instead provides programming on demand. The company is now making a big name for itself producing films and TV programs.
74. Onetime govt.-prescribed nutritional figure : USRDA
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.
75. Home of Berkshire Hathaway : OMAHA
Berkshire Hathaway is the holding company that is controlled by Warren Buffett, the so-called “Oracle of Omaha”. Berkshire Hathaway is the eighth largest public company in the world.
76. Sloth, for one : SIN
The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are:
84. Country rocker Steve : EARLE
Steve Earle is an American songwriter and performer, and someone with a reputation of having lived a hard life. Earle’s brushes with the law and drug addiction problems have earned him the nickname “the hardcore troubadour”.
89. “The Departed” director : SCORSESE
Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film “The Departed” is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong crime-thriller “Infernal Affairs”. The American version is set in Boston, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson.
90. Court org. : ABA
The American Basketball Association (ABA) merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976. The ABA used a ball with the colors red, white and blue. The NBA uses a more traditional orange ball.
94. Ones holding down things? : EIDERS
Eiders are large sea ducks. Their down feathers are used to fill pillows and quilts, giving the name to the quilt called an “eiderdown”.
100. Early record label : EDISON
Famously, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, which recorded sound onto wax phonograph cylinders. The flat disc phonograph record was developed by Emile Berliner, a German-born American inventor. Berliner called his flat disc record player a “gramophone”, and started selling Berliner Gramophone records in 1894.
109. ___ grounds : POLO
The original Polo Grounds in New York city was built in 1876 and as one might expect, it was used to play polo. The property was leased in 1880 by the New York Metropolitans and was converted into a baseball stadium. Over the years, the stadium was replaced, three times in all, but the “Polo Grounds” name was retained.
111. Part of un día : HORA
In Spanish, a “hora” (hour) is a “división del día” (division of the day).
112. Bully in “Calvin and Hobbes” : MOE
The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” is still widely syndicated, but hasn’t been written since 1995. The cartoonist Bill Watterson named the character Calvin after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian. Hobbes was named for Thomas Hobbes a 17th century English political philosopher.
115. The Bengals, on scoreboards : CIN
The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals team was founded in 1966 as a member of the American Football League (AFL). There was an earlier team called the Bengals in the city that played from 1937 to 1941. That team used the “Bengal” name because Cincinnati Zoo was home to a very rare Bengal tiger.
117. “That’s all ___ wrote” : SHE
No one seems to be very certain of the origin of the phrase “that’s all she wrote”. One popular story though is that it stems from the unfortunate “Dear John” letters that some soldiers received during WWII.