Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
16. Onetime Mughal capital : AGRA
Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
- Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
- Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.
The Mughal Empire extended over much of the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to 1707.
17. Basis of the Doctor’s adventures on “Doctor Who” : TIME TRAVEL
The Time Lords are an alien race on the BBC sci-fi show “Doctor Who”. In fact, the title character, known as “the Doctor”, is a Time Lord.
19. Call heard at Arlington : TAPS
“Taps” is played nightly by the US military, indicating “lights out”. It’s also known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby” as it is a variation of an older bugle call named the “Scott Tattoo”, arranged during the Civil War by the Union Army’s Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. The tune is called “Taps”, from the notion of drum taps, as it was originally played on a drum, and only later on a bugle. The whole tune comprises just 24 notes, with there only being four different notes within the 24, i.e. “low G”, C, E and “high G”. Minimalism at its best …
Arlington House was once the home of of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and is now preserved as the Robert E. Lee Memorial. The mansion is located in Arlington, Virginia, and the its grounds are now Arlington National Cemetery.
21. With 48-Across, East Coast vacation spot : CAPE …
(48A. See 21-Across : … COD)
Cape Cod is indeed named after the fish. It was first called Cape Cod by English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602 as his men caught so many fish there.
22. Ship, to its skipper : SHE
The term “skipper”, used for the captain of a ship, comes from the Middle Dutch “scipper”, which has the same meaning. “Scip” is Dutch for “ship”.
23. Common sort : PLEB
Plebe is a slang term for a freshman in the US military and naval academies. Plebe is probably short for “plebeian”, the name given to someone of the common class in Ancient Rome (as opposed to a Patrician). “Pleb” is a shortened version of plebeian, and is a term used outside of the military schools.
24. One of the Nereids : IONE
In Greek mythology, Nereus and Doris had fifty daughters, and these were called the sea nymphs or nereids. The nereids often hung around with Poseidon and were generally very helpful creatures to sailors in distress. Mainly they were to be found in the Aegean, where they lived with their father in a cave in the deep. Some of the more notable names of the nereids were: Agave, Asia, Calypso, Doris, Erato, Eunice and Ione.
33. “Great Dictator” player of 1940 : CHAPLIN
Charlie Chaplin earned the nickname “The Tramp” (also “Little Tramp”) from the much-loved character that he frequently played on the screen. Chaplin was much-respected as a performer. The great George Bernard Shaw referred to him as “the only genius to come out of the movie industry”.
36. Film character who says “E.T., stay with me” : ELLIOTT
Elliott is the young boy in the 1982 Steven Spielberg movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”, played by Henry Thomas.
38. Dragon roll ingredient : EEL
A dragon roll is a sushi dish made from eel, cucumber, seaweed, rice and avocado. I am sure it’s delicious … without the eel!
39. Home to Double-A baseball’s SeaWolves : ERIE
Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area. Erie is nicknamed the Gem City, a reference to the “sparkling” Lake Erie.
41. Orbitz options : INNS
Orbitz is one of the big online travel companies, one that is based in Chicago. Orbitz was originally set up as a joint-venture of several airlines including Continental, Delta, Northwest and United.
54. Like old records : MONO
Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.
55. Wasatch Mountains resort : ALTA
Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont. The ski resort of Snowbird located next to Alta has been in operation since 1971.
The Wasatch Range is at the western edge of the Rocky Mountains and runs through Utah. “Wasatch” is a Ute word meaning “mountain pass”.
56. Singer of the 1965 hit “Lemon Tree” : TRINI LOPEZ
Trini Lopez is a noted singer and guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He is perhaps best known for his international hit “If I Had a Hammer” from 1963, as well as “Lemon Tree” from 1965.
58. Hilarius succeeded him in A.D. 461 : LEO I
The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.
1. Neighborhood in TV’s “Sanford and Son” : WATTS
“Sanford and Son” is an American version of a celebrated hit BBC sitcom that I grew up with in Ireland, called “Steptoe and Son”.
2. David had him slain, in the Bible : URIAH
Uriah the Hittite was a soldier mentioned in the Bible, a soldier in the army of King David. Uriah was married to Bathsheba with whom King David had an affair. David had Uriah killed and then took Bathsheba as his wife. Bathsheba and David became the parents of Solomon who succeeded David as king.
3. City immediately west of Mesa : TEMPE
Tempe is a city in the metropolitan area of Phoenix. The city is named for the Vale of Tempe in Greece.
The city of Mesa, Arizona is in effect a suburb of Phoenix. The original settlement of non-Native Americans was founded by Daniel Webster Jones who led a Mormon group from St. George, Utah. The settlement was first called Jonesville, then Fort Utah and eventually Lehi. A second group of Mormons arrived and formed a settlement on top of a nearby mesa. It was this use of a mesa that eventually gave the city its current name.
7. Deep red : CLARET
Clairet is a dark rosé wine. Although it is uncommon today, clairet used to be the most common wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. For centuries now, English consumers have used the derivative term “claret” to describe any red wine from Bordeaux.
10. Carter of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” : NELL
Nell Carter was a singer and actress from Birmingham, Alabama. Carter won a Tony for her performance on Broadway in “Ain’t Misbehavin’”. She also starred in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!” in the 1980s.
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a song written in 1929 by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks, with lyrics by Andy Razaf. Waller was the first to record the song, quickly followed by six other artists that same year. The song also provided the title for a successful stage musical that premiered in 1978.
12. One of the dinosaurs upon which Godzilla is based : IGUANODON
Godzilla is a Japanese invention. The first in a very long series of “Godzilla” films was released way back in 1954. The original name in Japanese was “Gojira”, but this was changed to Godzilla for audiences outside of Japan. “Gojira” is a combination of “gorira” and “kujira”, the Japanese words for gorilla and whale, apt because Godzilla is a big ape-like creature that came out of the deep.
13. Breakfast brand since 1897 : GRAPE-NUTS
C. W. Post decided to get into the cereal business after visiting the Battle Creek Sanitarium operated by John Harvey Kellogg. Post was interested in the chemistry of digestion and was inspired by the dietary products offered by Kellogg at his sanitarium. The first breakfast cereal Post introduced was Grape-Nuts, way back in 1897.
23. Fogg of fiction : PHILEAS
“Around the World in 80 Days” is just a wonderful adventure story written by French author Jules Verne and first published in 1873. There have been some great screen adaptations of the story, including the 1956 movie starring David Niven as Phileas Fogg. In almost all adaptations, a balloon is used for part of the journey, and is perhaps the most memorable means of transportation on Fogg’s trip around the world. However, if you read the book, Fogg never used a balloon at all.
25. Scammer’s target : SAP
“Sap” is slang for a fool, someone easily scammed. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the soft wood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.
26. Potential Air Medal recipient : ACE
A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.
The Air Medal is a US military decoration that was created in 1942 in an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Air Medal is awarded for acts of heroism or merit in aerial flight.
27. Grp. that frowns upon illegal checks : NHL
The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in 1917 in Montreal as a successor to the defunct National Hockey Association (NHA) that had been founded in 1909. Today, the NHL comprises 30 teams: 23 in the US and 7 in Canada.
29. It had an episode titled “Little Green Men” : THE X-FILES
“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.
34. Music producer Gotti : IRV
Irv Gotti is a record producer, the founder of the The Inc record label. Gotti was born Irving Lorenzo, and took the name Gotti after the Boss of the Gambino crime family.
35. Long of “Alfie” : NIA
Nia Long is an American actress who is probably best known for playing Will Smith’s sometime girlfriend and fiancee Lisa Wilkes on the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.
There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.
40. “Liberté, ___, fraternité” (France’s motto) : EGALITE
“Égal” (feminine “égale”) is the French word for “equal, alike”, and a word we sometimes use in English. The national motto of France is “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, meaning “Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood).
44. Self-titled debut pop album of 1991 : ALANIS
Alanis Morissette is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After releasing two pop albums in Canada, in 1995 she recorded her first album to be distributed internationally. Called “Jagged Little Pill”, it is a collection of songs with more of a rock influence. The album was a huge success, the highest-selling album of the 1990s, and the highest-selling debut album by any artist at any time (selling over 30 million units).
50. Quantity in the dairy aisle : DOZEN
Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.
53. View from the Piazzale Michelangelo : ARNO
The Piazzale Michelangelo is a famous square in Florence that sits at quite a height in the city and from which one has magnificent panoramic views of the skyline. If you’ve seen photos of the skyline of Florence say on a postcard, chances are they were taken from the Piazzale Michelangelo. The square is named for the city’s most famous sculptor, and you can see bronze replicas of Michelangelo’s most celebrated works on display in the piazza.
57. ___ Fáil (ancient crowning stone) : LIA
The Lia Fáil is the coronation stone that is found on the Hill of Tara, the traditional seat of the High Kings of Ireland. “Lia Fáil” translates from Irish as “stone of destiny”.