Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase with the letters -ELS added:
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Remove, as a hat : DOFF
One doffs one’s hat, usually as a mark of respect. To doff is to take off, with “doff” being a contraction of “do off”. The opposite of “doff” is “don” meaning “to put on”.
5. Alma mater for Bush 41 and Bush 43 : YALE
The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.
9. Born on a stud farm, say : BRED
The word “stud”, meaning “a male horse kept for breeding”, is derived from the Old English word “stod”, which described a whole herd of horses. The term “stud” can be used figuratively for a “ladies’ man”.
14. Ancient Greek theaters : ODEA
In Ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.
16. Alternative to suspenders : BELT
“Suspenders” is another one of those words that has morphed in crossing the Atlantic. Back in Ireland we hold up our pants (trousers) with “braces”. Suspenders hold up ladies stockings (i.e. our word for a garter belt). It can be confusing …
18. Actress Page of “Juno” : ELLEN
Canadian actress Ellen Page came to prominence playing the female lead in the 2007 hit film “Juno”. Page also played the female lead in one of my favorite films of the past few years, 2010’s “Inception”.
“Juno” is a great comedy-drama released in 2007 that tells the story of a spunky teenager who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The relatively low-budget movie earned back its initial budget in the first day of its full release to the public. Low-budget blockbuster; my kind of movie …
19. Dromedaries on patrol? : SECURITY CAMELS (from “security cam”)
The dromedary, also known as the Arabian Camel or Indian Camel, is the camel that has only one hump. The other species of camel is the Bactrian, which has two humps. The hump of a dromedary contains up to 80 pounds of fat, which can be broken down into water and energy if no food or water is available.
22. Burlap fiber : HEMP
Hemp is a hardy, fast-growing plant that has many uses mainly due to the strength of the fibers in the plant’s stalks. Hemp is used to make rope, paper and textiles. Famously, there is a variety of hemp that is grown to make drugs, most famously cannabis.
Burlap, also called “hessian”, is a coarse woven fabric made from fibers taken from jute, sisal or hemp plants.
28. “Still open,” on a sched. : TBA
Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).
39. Book between Daniel and Joel : HOSEA
Hosea was one of the Twelve Prophets of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.
41. Nascar’s Yarborough : CALE
Cale Yarborough is a former NASCAR driver and owner. Yarborough was the first NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”.
42. “Mangia!” : EAT!
“Mangia!” is Italian for “Eat!” and is often used in the names of Italian restaurants or in brand names of Italian foods.
43. Whodunit game : CLUE
Clue is board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …
47. Mother of Chaz Bono : CHER
Chaz Bono is the only child of the singers Sonny and Cher (although they both have children from other marriages). Chaz was named Chastity Sun Bono at birth and told her parents at the age of 18 that she was a lesbian. More recently Bono underwent gender reassignment surgery, and Chastity has legally changed his name to Chaz.
55. Celestial hunter : ORION
The very recognizable constellation of Orion is named for the Greek God Orion, the Hunter. If you take a look at the star in Orion’s “right shoulder”, the second brightest star in the constellation, you might notice that it is quite red in color. This is the famous star called Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, a huge star that is on its way out. Betelgeuse is expected to explode into a supernova within the next thousand years or so. You don’t want to miss that …
59. Urban Dictionary fodder : SLANG
Urban Dictionary is a website that was founded in 1999 by a computer science student at Cal Poly. The site contains definitions of mainly slang terms, and is maintained by the site’s members.
60. El ___ (weather phenomenon) : NINO
When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more that half a degree centigrade, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.
62. H.R.E. part : HOLY
The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) existed from 962 to 1806 AD and was a territory of varying size over the centuries that centered on the Kingdom of Germany. The HRE was a successor to the western half of the Ancient Roman Empire. The empire dissolved in 1806 when Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated after a military defeat by the French under Napoleon at Austerlitz.
64. Wicked Witch’s home : WEST
The top 5 movie villains in the American Film Institute’s list “100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains” are:
- Dr. Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”
- Norman Bates in “Psycho”
- Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back”
- The Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”
- Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
7. Post-Mardi Gras period : LENT
In Latin, the Christian season that is now called Lent was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.
11. First name in stunt cycling : EVEL
Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.
21. Common URL ending : COM
25. Lorena of the L.P.G.A. : OCHOA
Lorena Ochoa is a retired professional golfer from Mexico who was ranked as the number one female golfer in the world from 2007 to 2010.
27. “The Zoo Story” playwright Edward : ALBEE
Edward Albee’s most famous play is “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Albee’s first play, a one-acter, was “The Zoo Story”.
33. Guerrilla fighter : INSURGENT
Guerrilla (sometimes “guerilla”) warfare is a type of fighting engaged in by irregular forces using ambushes and sabotage. The term “guerra” is Spanish for war, and “guerrilla” translates as “little war”.
38. Schiller work adapted by Beethoven : ODE TO JOY
“Ode to Joy” is a poem written in 1785 by German poet Friedrich Schiller. Famously, Ludwig van Beethoven he used “Ode to Joy” in the fourth movement of his Ninth “Choral” Symphony that was first performed in 1824.
47. Political bosom buddy : CRONY
A crony is a friend or companion. The term originated as slang in Cambridge University in England in the 1600s. “Crony” is probably derived from the Greek “khronios” meaning “long-lasting”.
48. The first Mrs. Trump : IVANA
Ivana Winklmayr was born in Czechoslovakia. Winklmayr was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald’s marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly so well as their very litigious divorce in the early nineties.
49. Slam-dance : MOSH
Moshing (also “slam dancing”) is the pushing and shoving that takes place in the audience at a concert (usually a punk or heavy metal concert). The area directly in front of the stage is known as the mosh pit. When a performer does a “stage dive” it is into (or I suppose “onto”) the mosh pit. It doesn’t sound like fun to me. Injuries are commonplace in the mosh pit, and deaths are not unknown.
50. Guthrie at Woodstock : ARLO
1969’s Woodstock Music & Art Fair was held on a dairy farm located 43 miles southwest of the town of Woodstock, New York. 400,000 young people attended, and saw 32 bands and singers perform over three days.
51. Iranian money : RIAL
“Rial” is the name of the currency of Iran (as well as Yemen, Oman, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.
53. Penny or memory follower : LANE
When in their teens, Paul McCartney and John Lennon would often head into the center of Liverpool together on the bus. The convenient place for them to meet was at the end of Penny Lane. Years later, Paul McCartney wrote the song “Penny Lane”, which was a big hit in 1967. “Penny Lane” was released as a double A-side record with “Strawberry Fields Forever” penned by John Lennon. Coincidentally, Strawberry Field was also a real location, not far from Penny Lane in Liverpool. Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army Children’s Home in the garden of which Lennon would play as a child. I don’t think Lennon and McCartney ever really forgot their roots …