Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers is defined by a term in the clue, and also describes where in the dictionary the answer is found relative to that same term. Very clever!
- 17A. Where “house party” is in the dictionary? : AFTER “HOURS”
- 23A. Where “new” is in the dictionary? : NEAR “MINT”
- 50A. Where “isolated” is in the dictionary? : BY “ITSELF”
- 56A. Where “midday” and “one” are in the dictionary? : AROUND “NOON”
- 10D. Where “flanked” is in the dictionary? : UNDER “FIRE”
- 31D. Where “menial” is in the dictionary? : BENEATH “ME”
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. “Exodus” hero : ARI
“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris that was first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, a character played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.
4. John Glenn famously had three of them : ORBITS
John Glenn was a Marine Corps pilot, astronaut and US Senator. As an astronaut, Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, in 1962. He later became the oldest person to fly in space, in 1998 at the age of 77.
10. It’s found by the radius : ULNA
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.
19. Op-Ed writer Maureen : DOWD
Maureen Dowd is a celebrated columnist for “The New York Times” as well as a best-selling author. Dowd won a Pulitzer for her columns about the Monica Lewinski scandal.
20. German industrial region : RUHR
The Ruhr is a large urban area in western Germany. The area is heavily populated, and is the fifth largest urban area in the whole of Europe, after Istanbul, Moscow, London and Paris. The Ruhr became heavily industrialized due to its large deposits of coal. By 1850, the area contained nearly 300 operating coal mines. Any coal deposits remaining in the area today are too expensive to exploit.
22. Itches : YENS
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.
26. Actor Depardieu : GERARD
Gérard Depardieu is one of France’s most famous actors, and someone who has appeared in an incredible number of films (about 170). Off the screen, Depardieu also owns two successful vineyards: Château de Tigné and L’Esprit de la Fontaine.
28. ___-rock : ALT
I really don’t know what alt-rock is, and I can’t seem to work it out. Just an old fuddy-duddy …
29. Dwarf brother in “The Hobbit” : ORI
“The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” is a children’s fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was popular from the time of its first publication in 1937. Included in the early awards for “The Hobbit” was a prize for best juvenile fiction from “The New York Herald Tribune”. Tolkien adapted his succeeding novel “The Lord of the Rings” to incorporate elements in “The Hobbit”, so that the two tales are very much related.
30. Manumit : SET FREE
Manumission is the freeing of a slave by his or her owner. In the days of slavery in the US, manumission was sometimes a clause in a slave owner’s will, so freedom was often granted at the demise of the owner. The concept of manumission dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome. The term comes from Latin for “letting go from the hand”.
37. The day of M.L.K. Day: Abbr. : MON
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states resisted naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like “Civil Rights Day”). It was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.
39. Edward ___, longtime archbishop of New York : EGAN
Edward Egan served as Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York from 2000 to 2009. Egan was made a cardinal in 2001.
43. Water-repellent material : GORE-TEX
Gore-Tex is a waterproof fabric that also “breathes”. This is because the pores in Gore-Tex are small enough to keep out water droplets, but large enough to allow water vapor molecules to pass through.
46. Moo goo ___ pan : GAI
Moo goo gai pan is the American version of a traditional Cantonese dish. In Cantonese, “moo goo” means “button mushroom”, “gai” is “chicken” and “pan” is “slices”.
53. Arafat’s grp. : PLO
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964. The PLO’s early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations back in 1923. The PLO was granted observer status (i.e. no voting rights) at the United Nations in 1974.
Yasser (also Yasir) Arafat was born in Cairo in 1929, the son of two Palestinians and the second-youngest of seven children. Arafat was beaten by his father as a child and so did not have a good relationship with him. Arafat did not attend his father’s funeral, nor did he visit his grave. The beatings were apparently administered because the young Arafat was repeatedly attending religious services in the Jewish quarter of Cairo. Arafat’s explanation was that he wanted to “study the mentality” of the Jewish people.
54. “Render ___ Caesar …” : UNTO
According to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in the Christian New Testament, Jesus was asked if taxes should be paid to the Roman authorities who ruled Judea. He asked for a Roman coin and noted the image of Caesar thereon. Jesus then said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.
60. Malcolm X facial feature : GOATEE
A goatee is a beard formed by hair on just a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little, in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. He told his own life story in the incredibly successful book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, on which he collaborated with author Alex Haley. Malcolm Little changed his name when he joined the Nation of Islam, choosing “X” to represent the African family name that he could never know.
61. A small amount in science or a large amount in business : MIL
The thickness unit known as a “mil” here in the US is usually referred to as a “thou” on the other side of the Atlantic. A “mil” is actually one thousandth of an inch. I vote for “thou” …
“Mil” is business slang for “million dollars”.
62. Eye sore : STYE
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
63. Book before Job : ESTHER
Esther was a Jewish queen, wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus, and the heroine of the Book of Esther in the Bible. By the way, Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn’t mention the word “God”.
64. Big name in ice cream : EDY
Dreyers’ ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyers in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.
1. Cuneiform discovery site : AMARNA
Armana is an archaeological site on the east bank of the Nile River in Egypt, almost 200 miles south of Cairo. The ancient city is also known as el-Armana, and Tel el-Armana, although the use of “Tel” is apparently incorrect. “Tel” commonly appears in names in the region (Arabic for “hill”), but should not apply to Amarna as the site is perfectly flat.
Cuneiform writing is a very early form of written expression that uses characters that are variants of a wedge shape. The first form of cuneiform writing was developed in Sumer (in modern-day Iraq), and was largely a system of pictographs. Over time, the number of characters decreased and became smaller and simpler, until they eventually evolved into the characters that we use in alphabetic writing today.
4. Anthem contraction : O’ER
The words “o’er the land of the free” come from “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key was adopted as the US national anthem in 1931. The song had been used officially by the US Navy since 1889, and was played when raising the flag.
The word “anthem” used to describe a sacred song, especially one with words taken from the Scriptures. The British national anthem (“God Save the Queen/King”) technically is a hymn, and so it came to be described as the “national hymn” and eventually “national anthem”. The use of the word “anthem” extended from there to describe any patriotic song.
6. Betty Crocker product : BROWNIE MIX
Apparently the first brownies were created for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The recipe was developed by a pastry chef at the city’s Palmer House Hotel. The idea was to produce a cake-like dessert that was small enough and dainty enough to be eaten by ladies as part of a boxed lunch.
Betty Crocker was introduced by the Washburn Crosby Company (now part of General Mills) in 1921. “Crocker” was chosen in honor of William Crocker who was one of the company’s directors. “Betty” was selected simply because it was considered a bright, all-American name. Betty’s original job was to sign her name on correspondence arising out of consumer product questions, but soon she evolved into a very successful brand name.
7. Certain Alaskan : INUIT
The Inuit peoples live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.
8. Bird found on all continents, including Antarctica : TERN
Terns are a family of seabirds. They are similar to gulls, but more slender and more lightly built. Many species of tern are known for their long-distance migrations, with the Arctic tern migrating so far that it is believed to see more daylight in a year than any other animal.
9. Activist campus 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.
11. One of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : LEONARDO
The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” started out as a parody of comic book superheroes, first appearing in a self-published comic book in 1984. A couple of years later the characters were picked up by someone who built a whole line toys around the characters, and then television and movies followed. Do you remember the names of all four of the Turtles? Their names were all taken from Renaissance artists:
25. Like some sale items: Abbr. : IRR
Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)
32. John or Jane, at court : DOE
Though the English court system does not use the term today, “John Doe” first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with the similar “Richard Roe”. An unknown female is referred to as “Jane Doe”. Variants of “John Doe” are “Joe Blow” and “John Q. Public”.
40. Science writer Willy : LEY
Willy Ley was a German rocket scientist who did much of his work here in the US. Unlike many of his compatriots, Ley left Nazi Germany and moved the US prior to WWII, in 1935. He wrote books about space travel that were very approachable and helped popularize the concept with the general public. His book “The Conquest of Space” was published in 1949.
41. You could get one if you’re over .08% : DUI
In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.
44. Scores for Seahawks and Eagles, for short : TDS
The Seattle Seahawks joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1976, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seahawks have enthusiastic fans, often referred to as the “12th man”, a reference to how well their support can buoy the team. The Seahawks fans have twice broken the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd noise at a sporting event.
The Philadelphia Eagles were established in 1933 and joined the National Football League as a replacement for the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, also from Philadelphia. The “Eagle” name was inspired by the Blue Eagle insignia that was used by companies who were in compliance with the National Industrial Recovery Act that was central to President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.
46. It wasn’t mapped until 2003 : GENOME
The genome is all the hereditary information needed to reproduce an organism, in other words, all of its chromosomes. When scientists unravel the human genome it takes up an awful lot of computer storage space, and yet all of this information is in almost every cell in our bodies. Each and every cell “knows” how to make a whole human being.
47. Alternative to a Tic Tac : ALTOID
Altoids breath mints have been around since 1780, when they were introduced in Britain. The famous tin in which Altoids are sold is often reused for other purposes. The most famous use is as a container to hold a mini-survival kit.
Tic Tacs aren’t American candies (as I always mistakenly believed). Tic Tacs are made by the Italian company Ferrero, and were introduced in 1969.
51. What Helios personified : SUN
Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology. He was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night be travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.
57. Once called : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
58. German article : DER
The definite article in German is der, die or das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The indefinite article is ein, eine or ein, again depending on the gender of the noun. A further complication, relative to English, is that the masculine form (and only the masculine form) of the article changes when used in the accusative case, when used with the object of a sentence. The accusative forms are “den” and “einen”.