Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
8. Orchestra section that plays mostly harmony : VIOLAS
The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, between the violin and the cello.
18. Good behavior’s reward, maybe : PAROLE
The term “parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.
19. “Tony n’ ___ Wedding” (Off Broadway hit) : TINA’S
“Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” is described as “environmental theater” as there is a lot of audience participation. The play is basically an Italian-American wedding and reception, with the audience playing the guests.
20. And what follows, in legal memos : ET SEQ
The Latin phrase “et sequens” or “et sequentia” is used in English to mean “and following”, and is abbreviated to “et seq”.
24. 2015 film for which Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Best Supporting Actor : CREED
“Creed” is a 2015 boxing movie, the seventh in the “Rocky” franchise. Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, but this time as a trainer. Rocky trains Apollo Creed’s son Adonis. Stallone was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in the film. It was the first Academy Award nomination he had received since the first “Rocky” film, which was released almost forty years earlier.
27. Dance seen in “Evita” : TANGO
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.
“Evita” was the follow up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). “Evita” was made into a film in 1996, with Madonna playing the title role and Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce playing her husband Juan Perón.
33. Decorative bedding : SHAMS
A sham is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens, a sham is also an imitation or fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.
34. Amsterdam of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” : MOREY
Morey Amsterdam was the actor and comedian who played Buddy Sorrell on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. He was a skilled cellist, and worked in a Chicago speakeasy in the 1920s that was operated by Al Capone. Amsterdam made the move from the Midwest to California after being caught up in a gunfight in said speakeasy. Wise move …
35. Queen of Heaven in the “Iliad” : HERA
In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.
36. Coolidge’s vice president : DAWES
During WWI, Charles G. Dawes had served with the American Expeditionary Force in Europe and had risen to the rank of Brigadier General. After the war, the work that Dawes did in an attempt to assure Germany could build a sustainable economy earned him a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925. A year earlier, Daws was elected as US Vice President under President Calvin Coolidge. Famously, Dawes and Coolidge did not get along at all well, neither in private nor in public.
37. Industry magnate : CZAR
The term “czar” (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.
41. Abbr. on a tube : ADA
American Dental Association (ADA)
43. City on the Oregon Trail : BOISE
Boise, Idaho is the largest metropolitan area in the state by far. There are a number of stories pertaining to the etymology of the name “Boise”. One is that French trappers named the tree-lined river that ran through the area “la rivière boisée”, meaning “the wooded river”.
The Oregon Trail was established by fur trappers and traders as early as 1811. The first migrant wagon train traveled the route in 1836, starting off in Independence, Missouri and going as far as Fort Hall, Idaho. In the coming years, the trail was extended for wagons as far as the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
48. Enfant terrible of children’s literature : ELOISE
Kay Thompson wrote the “Eloise” series of children’s books. Kay Thompson actually lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, the setting she would choose for her “Eloise” stories. Eloise started out as a hit song for Thompson, a success that she parlayed into the book franchise.
An “enfant terrible”, French for “terrible child”, is one who embarrasses his or her parents with untimely candid remarks.
49. Part of a Yahtzee set : SCORE PAD
The dice game of Yahtzee was introduced in 1956, a variant of earlier dice games, especially the game “Yacht” (which even has a similar name). Yahtzee is required playing in our house at holidays. The game involves the rolling of five dice, with the intent of getting certain combinations. A lot of those combinations resemble poker hands, such as “three of a kind”, “four of a kind” and “full house”.
50. Bob Evans competitor : DENNY’S
Denny’s was the first restaurant I ate at on my initial visit to the US many moons ago. I thought I was in heaven. I’ve changed my opinion a little since then! Denny’s is famous for being “always open” (almost), something that blew my mind as a visitor from Ireland back in 1980. Denny’s was founded in 1953 in Lakewood, California, and originally went by the name “Denny’s Donuts”. The enduring Grand Slam breakfast has been on the menu since 1977.
Bob Evans is a restaurant chain that started out in 1946 with a truck stop diner located near Bob Evans Farm in Rio Grande, Ohio.
51. Stretchable cords : TENDONS
Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.
3. Be much tweeted about : TREND
In the world of Twitter, a phrase that is getting “tagged” by users more than other phrases is said to be “trending”.
4. Fatah rival : HAMAS
Hamas is the Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. “Hamas” translates into English as “enthusiasm”, and is also an acronym in Arabic for “Islamic Resistance Movement”. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by many nations in the world, including the US.
“Fatah” is actually an acronym, formed from the initials (in reverse) of “Palestinian National Liberation Movement”. Al Fatah is the largest political party in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
7. Five-time Best Director nominee who said “All of the best things in my films are mistakes” : ROBERT ALTMAN
To me anyway, Robert Altman’s most famous film is “M*A*S*H”. Filming of this classic film didn’t go at all well. Altman wasn’t at all respected by the main leads in the movie, Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland. In fact, Gould and Sutherland tried to get Altman taken off the film altogether.
8. Smoked, modern-style : VAPED
An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering the nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …
9. Where the Tigris and Euphrates meet : IRAQ
The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run parallel to each other through Iraq and parts of Syria, Turkey and Iran. The fertile land between the rivers was known as Mesopotamia (Greek for “land between two rivers”).
10. “Catch-22” pilot who repeatedly crashes : ORR
The bomber pilot in Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” is called Orr, and he has no other name, just “Orr”.
11. Guitar inventor in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : LEO FENDER
The company that made Fender electric guitars was founded in Fullerton, California in 1946 by Leo Fender.
15. Spectacular rock events? : METEOR SHOWERS
The two most famous meteor showers are the Perseids and Leonids. The Perseid meteor shower is most visible around August 12th each year, and the Leonid meteor shower is most notable around November 17th. The Perseids appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus, and the Leonids from the constellation Leo (hence the names “Perseids” and “Leonids”).
21. One with a reserved seat : SENATOR-ELECT
The six-year terms enjoyed by US senators are staggered, so that every two years about one third of the 100 US Senate seats come up for reelection.
24. Like the mojito cocktail : CUBAN
A mojito is a Cuban cocktail, although the exact origins appear to be unclear, as does the derivation of the name. Want one? Put 4 mint leaves in a glass, and add the juice of half a lime and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Muddle the ingredients, smashing them together with a muddler or a spoon. Add some crushed ice, two ounces of white rum and stir. Top with a couple of ounces of club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a slice of lime. Cheers!
25. ___ Callender’s (supermarket brand) : MARIE
Marie Callender’s is a restaurant chain found mainly in California. The chain was started by Don Callender in Orange, California in 1948 as a retail outlet for selling mainly pies. Don named the store for his mother Marie, who had baked and sold pies for many years to make some extra money for the family.
26. Green Toyota : PRIUS
The Toyota Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car sold in the US, according to the EPA. The name “Prius” is a Latin word meaning “ahead, leading”. In the US we pronounce the name “pree-us”, but across the Atlantic it’s pronounced “pry-us”. According to Toyota, the plural of “Prius” is “Prii”.
27. Après-ski drink : TODDY
The word “toddy” has come a long way. Its origins lie in the Hindi word for a palm tree, which is “tar”. The derivative word “tari” was used for palm sap, which came into English as “tarrie”, then “taddy” and “toddy”, all of which described an alcoholic drink made from fermented palm sap. That was back around 1600. Late in the 18th century, the palm sap drink called “toddy” had morphed into meaning any alcoholic drink made with liquor, hot water, sugar and spices.
“Après-ski” is a French term meaning “after skiing”. It refers to the good times to be had after coming off the slopes.
28. Home to the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club : BOCA RATON
The name of the city of Boca Raton in Florida translates from Spanish as “Mouse Mouth”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology of the name but one plausible explanation is a nautical one. “Boca”, as well as meaning “mouth” can mean “inlet”. “Ratón”, as well as meaning “mouse” was also used to describe rocks that chewed away at a ship’s anchor cable. So possibly Boca Raton was named for a rocky inlet.
30. Samuel L. Jackson’s “Pulp Fiction” role : JULES
I”m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly received performances.
36. Tycho Brahe and Niels Bohr, for two : DANES
Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer, and a contemporary of Galileo. Brahe lost his nose in a duel, and wore a replacement made from either silver or gold that was pasted onto his face!
Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who won his 1922 Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and atomic structure. Later in his life, Bohr was part of the team working on the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb. Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein had a series of public debates and disputes in the twenties and thirties. Although the two respected each other very highly, they held very different views on quantum theory, different views on the laws of physics at the atomic level. The passage of time has shown that Bohr won out in those debates.
38. Lighter brand : ZIPPO
The first Zippo lighter was made in 1933, in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The name “Zippo” was simply a word invented by the company founder, George Blaisdell, as he liked the word “zipper”. You can buy one today for $12.95, or if you want the solid gold model … for $8,675.95.
39. Literary lion : ASLAN
In the C. S. Lewis series of books known as “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Aslan is the name of the lion character (as in the title “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). “Aslan” is actually the Turkish word for lion. Anyone who has read the books will recognize the the remarkable similarity between the story of Aslan and the story of Christ, including a sacrifice and resurrection.
42. What a bridesmaid might carry : POSY
“Poesy” was the name given to a line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring. The related word “posy”, for a bouquet of flowers, arose with the notion that giving a posy might be a message of love, just as a poesy inside a ring could have the same meaning.