Edited by: Will Shortz
Today’s themed answers give us a word ladder, from BLUNT to SHARP, passing right through the word BLADE in the center of the grid. And we have a couple of other answers referencing that BLADE:
- 1A. *Not pointed … and the start of an eight-step word ladder : BLUNT
- 15A. *Say impetuously : BLURT
- 20A. *”Paul ___: Mall Cop” (2009 comedy) : BLART
- 29A. *Announce with great fanfare : BLARE
- 39A. *Feature of a 24- and 36-Down : BLADE
- 47A. *Rock band with six #1 British hits in the 1970s : SLADE
- 56A. *Throwing ___ (dissing someone publicly) : SHADE
- 66A. *Not be a pig : SHARE
- 70A. *Pointed … and the end of the word ladder : SHARP
- 24D. Item with a 39-Across : RAZOR
- 36D. Item with a 39-Across : KNIFE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
11. It may be coddled : EGG
The word “coddle” means to boil gently, as in “coddle an egg”. Coddle was first used to mean “treat tenderly” by Jane Austen. Austen introduced the extended usage in her masterpiece “Emma”.
14. Perez who was nominated for an Oscar for “Fearless” : ROSIE
Rosie Perez is an American actress born in New York City of Puerto Rican descent. As well as pursuing her acting career, Perez is an activist promoting Puerto Rican rights, and was arrested in 2000 at a rally to protest US Navy weapons-training off the coast of Puerto Rico.
15. *Say impetuously : BLURT
Most US presidents are eminently quotable. One of my favorite quotes from President Barack Obama comes from his address/performance at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner:
What Washington needs is adult supervision.
18. Ballet support : BARRE
A “barre” is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.
22. No longer in bed? : AWEIGH
When an anchor is “aweigh” or “atrip”, it is just clear of the ocean bottom, has just been lifted.
27. The “L” in this store’s logo hints at the store’s name : STAPLES
Staples is an office supply chain store based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Some of the company’s stores have a Staples EasyTech department that provides computer repair and upgrade services.
28. Temper, as metal : ANNEAL
One anneals glass or metal by exposing to a very specific temperature profile, resulting in a tougher or less brittle product.
30. Grandpa Walton, for short : ZEB
Actor Will Geer died in 1978, just after filming the sixth season of “The Waltons” in which he played Grandpa Zeb Walton. Geer was a noted social activist and was blacklisted in the fifties for refusing to appear before the all-powerful House Committee on Un-American Activities.
31. “Guy’s Big Bite” Food Network host : FIERI
Guy Fieri is a restaurant owner and television personality. Fieri is known as “the face of the Food Network” as his television series on that channel is very popular.
46. Kauai keepsake : LEI
Because the Hawaiian island of Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, all the rainfall has helped to carve out magnificent canyons and left superb waterfalls. The island is often used as a backdrop for movies. The facilities at the island’s Lihue Airport reflect the pleasant climate enjoyed by the Hawaiian Islands. Check-in takes place completely outdoors!
47. *Rock band with six #1 British hits in the 1970s : SLADE
Slade is a favorite band from my youth, a rock band from the north of England who made it big during the seventies. One of Slade’s hallmark marketing techniques was a deliberate misspelling of their song titles. Some of those titles are: “Merry Xmas Everybody”, “Gudbuy T’Jane” and my personal favorite “Cum On Feel the Noize”.
49. The “se” in per se : ITSELF
“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.
51. Popular Jazz Age instrument : UKULELE
The ukulele (“uke”) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
54. Sea creature with eight arms : CUTTLE
Cuttlefish are marine animals that are related to squids and octopodes. Cuttlefish have a unique internal shell and are molluscs, not fish.
55. Cabbage or kale : DO-RE-MI
“Do-re-mi” is a slang term for cash. The term is American in origin and dates back to the 1920s. “Do-re-mi” is likely to be a pun on “dough”, another slang term for cash or money.
59. Ice pad? : IGLOO
The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.
Back in the 16th century a pad was a bundle of straw to lie on. “Pad” came to mean “place for sleeping” in the early 1700s. The term was revitalized in the hippie era.
67. Earth tone : OCHRE
Ocher is a light, yellowy-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher. “Ocher” is usually spelled “ochre” on the other side of the pond.
69. Eye woes : STYES
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
3. Winner of 46 gold medals at the Rio Olympics : USA
Even though the 2016 Olympic Games was a “summer” competition, it was held in Rio de Janeiro in winter. As Rio is in the southern hemisphere, the opening ceremony on 5th August 2016 fell in the local winter season. The 2016 games was also the first to be held in South America, and the first to be hosted by a Portuguese-speaking country.
5. Fortunetelling aid : TEA LEAF
“Tasseography” is the name given to reading fortunes by interpreting the patterns of tea leaves, coffee grounds and wine sediments that are left in the bottom of a cup or glass.
6. Rep. or Dem., e.g. : ABBR
8. Big ___ : SUR
Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast, south of Monterey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.
9. Book slips : ERRATA
“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to mean a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.
11. Cyber Monday business : ETAIL
Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, when retailers offer incentives to online shoppers in the hope of boosting sales. The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 in a press release issued by the website Shop.org. In recent years, consumers have been spending more money online on Cyber Monday than any other day in the year.
13. Ancient barbarians : GOTHS
The East Germanic tribe called the Goths has two main branches, called the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. The Visigothic capital was the city of Toulouse in France, whereas the Ostrogoth capital was the Italian city of Ravenna just inland of the Adriatic coast. It was the Visigoths who sacked Rome in 410 CE, heralding the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
21. Forgo the teleprompter, say : AD LIB
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.
23. Pentathlon needs : EPEES
The original pentathlon of the ancient Olympic games consisted of a foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus. When a new pentathlon was created as a sport for the modern Olympic Games, it was given the name the “modern pentathlon”. First introduced in 1912, the modern pentathlon consists of:
- pistol shooting
- épée fencing
- 200m freestyle swimming
- show jumping
- 3 km cross-country running
35. Mayella ___, “To Kill a Mockingbird” character : EWELL
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world. In my humble opinion, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a great ambassador for American literature.
38. Smooth cotton thread : LISLE
Lisle is a cotton fabric that has been through an extra process at the end of its manufacture that burns off lint and the ends of fibers leaving the fabric very smooth and with a clean edge. Cotton lisle is mainly used in the manufacture of underwear and stockings. The process to make the thread was invented in the French city of Lille (formerly “Lisle”), hence the name.
40. Jong who wrote “Fear of Flying” : ERICA
The author Erica Jong’s most famous work is her first: “Fear of Flying”, a novel published in 1973. Over twenty years later, Jong wrote “Fear of Fifty: a midlife memoir”, published in 1994.
43. The Rebels of the S.E.C. : OLE MISS
“Ole Miss” is the nickname for the University of Mississippi. The name “Ole Miss” dates back to 1897, the first year a student yearbook was published. The graduating class held a competition to name the yearbook and “Ole Miss” emerged as the winner. The name stuck to the yearbook, and also as a nickname for the school itself. The University of Mississippi sports teams have been known as the Rebels since 1936. Prior to 1936, they were known as the Mississippi Flood.
52. Marsupial without a tail : KOALA
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …
Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch. Better-known marsupials are kangaroos, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. As you can perhaps tell from this list, most marsupials are native to the Southern Hemisphere.
62. Govt. loan backer : FHA
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was set up in 1934 to insure loans made lenders for the building and purchase of homes. The FHA was created in response to the bank failures of the Great Depression, with the intent of creating a more favorable environment for lending.
63. Top defenseman of all time, per The Hockey News : ORR
Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking.