Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers is an item that contains a COLLECTION of things:
- 18A. Stamp collector? : PASSPORT
- 28A. Record collector? : GUINNESS BOOK
- 45A. Bill collector? : CASH REGISTER
- 57A. Shell collector? : PASTA BAR
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
11. Deg. that requires a defense : PHD
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for an earned PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.
14. Japanese floor mat : TATAMI
A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.
17. Old video game consoles : ATARIS
The kids today probably don’t realize that we had a video game console back in the seventies, and it wasn’t a Nintendo nor was it a PlayStation. The Atari 2600 game system introduced the idea of separating out computing hardware (the console) from the game code (a cartridge). The same concept persists to this day, although cartridges have been displaced by discs and downloads.
18. Stamp collector? : PASSPORT
As a result of a League of Nations conference in 1920, passports are usually written in French and one other language. French was specified back then as it was deemed the language of diplomacy. US passports use French and English, given that English is the nation’s de facto national language. Spanish was added as a language for US passports in the late nineties in recognition of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico.
20. “Total Recall” director Wiseman : LEN
Len Wiseman is a movie director best known for the films “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007) and “Total Recall” (2012). Wiseman is married to English actress Kate Beckinsale.
“Total Recall” is a very entertaining 1990 sci-fi action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film is loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”. The 1990 film was remade in 2012. The 2012 version stars Colin Farrell, and is very forgettable …
27. “Hail Mary, full of grace …,” e.g. : PRAYER
“Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary” in English) is the prayer at the core of the Roman Catholic Rosary, which itself is a set of prayers asking for the assistance of the Virgin Mary. Much of the text of the “Hail Mary” comes from the Gospel of Luke. The words in Latin are:
AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
The prayer has been adapted as a hymn. The two most famous musical versions of “Ave Maria” are by Charles Gounod (based on a piece by Bach) and by Franz Schubert.
28. Record collector? : GUINNESS BOOK
“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling, copyrighted series of books of all time and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954 by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain hosting a TV show based on world records.
33. Showy purple bloom : IRIS
Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.
34. Energy measurement, for short : BTU
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.
37. Cranberry picking sites : BOGS
When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant’s flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant “craneberry”, which later evolved into “cranberry”.
38. Who famously said “I’m not a crook” : NIXON
In 1973, at the height of the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon faced reporters in a question and answers session. Famously, or perhaps infamously, Nixon uttered the words:
People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.
A few month’s later, President Nixon stated that he was “never a quitter”. Well, he resigned in August 1974 under pressure from the scandal, and facing an almost inevitable impeachment.
41. Prefix with -metric : ISO-
The word “isometric” comes from Greek, and means “having equal measurement”. Isometric exercise is a resistance exercise in which the muscle does not change in length (and the joint angle stays the same). The alternative would be dynamic exercises, ones using the joint’s full range of motion.
42. Calliope or Euterpe : MUSE
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:
- Calliope (epic poetry)
- Clio (history)
- Erato (lyric poetry)
- Euterpe (music)
- Melpomene (tragedy)
- Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
- Terpsichore (dance)
- Thalia (comedy)
- Urania (astronomy)
Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:
- Mneme (memory)
- Melete (meditation)
- Aoede (song)
43. Play a fife : TOOTLE
A fife is a small flute that is often used in military and marching bands. The name “fife” comes from the German “Pfeife” meaning “pipe”.
47. Tiered Eastern temple : PAGODA
Pagodas are tiered (“storied”) towers found in various parts of Asia, usually built for religious purposes.
50. Something measured by holding fingers on the wrist : PULSE
One’s pulse is the rhythmic throbbing of arteries that is usually detected at the wrist or the neck. The contraction of the heart creates a pressure wave in the blood that moves the arterial walls, which is detected as the pulse.
51. Trojan War epic : ILIAD
“The Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the ten-year siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “The Iliad”.
52. Galileo’s hometown : PISA
The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …
Galileo Galilei may be the most famous son of the city of Pisa in Italy and was considered by many to have been the father of modern science. In the world of physics, Galileo postulated that objects of different masses would fall at the same rate provided they did so in a vacuum (so there was no air resistance). There is a story that he dropped two balls of different masses from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate this, but this probably never happened. Centuries later, Astronaut David Scott performed Galileo’s proposed experiment when he dropped a hammer and feather on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission and we all saw the objects hit the moon surface, at exactly the same time.
54. A detour offers a different one: Abbr. : RTE
62. Mobile CPR provider : EMT
An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
65. Morse code plea : SOS
The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.
66. Multiple jobs, metaphorically : HATS
Some people wear many hats, do many jobs.
67. It might come with a cherry on top : SUNDAE
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.
1. Slanted in print: Abbr. : ITAL
Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.
2. FiveThirtyEight creator Silver : NATE
Nate Silver is a statistician who first gained notoriety by developing a forecasting system that predicted the future performance of baseball players. He then made a name for himself in the world of politics by predicting the outcome of the 2008 US presidential race on his website FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver successfully predicted the outcome of the election in 49 of the 50 states, missing out on Indiana, which Barack Obama won by less than 1% of the vote. FiveThirtyEight was less successful in predicting the specifics of the 2012 presidential election, but came closer than almost all other pollsters. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight predicted a victory for Hillary Clinton, but with a much lower probability than other poll aggregators. And, they all got it wrong. Oh, and why the name FiveThirtyEight.com? Because there are 538 electors in the US electoral college.
3. Rousing audience response, informally : STANDING O
Give ’em a big hand, maybe even a “standing O”, a standing ovation.
6. Pageant title since 1983 : MISS TEEN USA
Miss Teen USA is a beauty pageant for girls between the ages of 14 and 19. The competition was first held in 1983 and is run by the Miss Universe Organization, which was owned by future president Donald Trump for nearly two decades up until 2015.
8. Cuisine with tom kha gai soup : THAI
In Thai cuisine, the name of the soup called “tom kha gai” is usually translated as “Thai coconut soup”.
10. Places serving salades et sandwiches : BISTROS
“Bistro” was originally a Parisian slang term for a “little wine shop or restaurant”.
12. Derby entrant : HORSE
Our use of the word “derby” to mean a race started in 1780 with the English Derby horse race, which was founded then by the 12th Earl of Derby. Ultimately, the term “derby” derives from the old English shire of “Deorby”, a word meaning “deer village”.
22. Platform for Siri : IOS
iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system, previously known as iPhone OS.
Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. You’ve probably seen the ads on television, with folks talking to their iPhones asking for information and responding with a voice. I hear that Google is a little scared by Siri, as Siri is non-visual. There’s no need to touch a screen or a keyboard to work with Siri, no opportunity to click on one of Google’s ads! By the way, voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri not that long ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.
25. Some chain pizzerias : UNO’S
The chain of pizza parlors known today as Uno Chicago Grill used to be called Pizzeria Uno, or just “Uno’s”. Apparently Uno’s created the world’s first deep dish pizza.
26. Sinus doc : ENT
Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)
In anatomical terms a sinus is a cavity in tissue. Sinuses are found all over the body, in the kidney and heart for example, but we most commonly think of the paranasal sinuses that surround the nose.
27. Players bringing the ball up the court : POINT GUARDS
That would be basketball.
28. Desert along the Silk Road : GOBI
The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.
The Silk Road was a network of trading routes that crossed North Africa and Asia, connecting Europe to West Asia. The routes get the name from the lucrative trade in silk from China.
29. Subjects of some fuzzy photos, for short : UFOS
Unidentified flying object (UFO)
30. Philly pro : SIXER
The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team is one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. “The Sixers” were formed in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the name 76er was chosen in a fan contest, a name that honors the men who fought for the country’s independence in 1776.
40. Big enchilada : BOSS
“Enchilada” is the past participle of the Spanish word “enchilar” meaning “to add chile pepper to”. An enchilada is a basically a corn tortilla rolled around some filling and then covered in chili pepper sauce. The term “big enchilada” is used in the same way as we would use “big cheese” i.e. the top dog. The phrase was popularized in the sixties when John Ehrlichman refers to Attorney General John Mitchell as “the big enchilada” on one of the Watergate Tapes.
44. Coconut product : OIL
Palm oil and coconut oil are two vegetable oils that aren’t very good for our health. Both are high in saturated fat.
46. Short albums, for short : EPS
An extended-play record, CD or download (EP) contains more music than a single, but less than an LP.
47. Puff pieces? : PIPES
A smoker might take a puff on pipe.
48. San Antonio mission : ALAMO
The San Antonio mission known as the Alamo may have been named for a grove of nearby cottonwood trees. “Álamo” is the Spanish name for the cottonwood.
58. Cry of shear terror? : BAA!
That would be a cry from a sheep being sheared.
60. It’s in la Seine : EAU
“Eau” is French for “water”.
The Seine is the river that flows through Paris. The Seine empties into the English Channel to the north, at the port city of Le Havre.