Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
15. Shoe-in? : ODOR EATER
Odor Eater insoles were first introduced in the early seventies, and are manufactured by Combe. Combe sponsors a national contest held every year in Montpelier, Vermont, called “The Odor Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest”. Very pleasant …
16. Wear that renders Harry Potter invisible : CLOAK
In the J.K. Rowling series of novels, Harry Potter used a Cloak of Invisibility that was passed down to him by his father.
22. Toy that might cause injury : BB GUN
A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.
25. Muhammad’s flight : HEGIRA
“Hijra” (also “Hegira”) is an Arabic word meaning migration or flight. In the Islamic tradition, “Hijra” is the name given to the journey of Muhammad with his followers from Mecca to Medina, a journey necessitated by a threat to assassinate the prophet.
28. One blowing up when threatened : PUFFERFISH
“Fugu” is the Japanese name for pufferfish, also known as blowfish. Fugu is a notorious dish on a Japanese menu as it can be extremely poisonous. The liver, ovaries and eyes of the pufferfish contain lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin, which paralyses muscles causing death by asphyxiation.
32. Newswoman Cabrera : ANA
Ana Cabrera is a journalist from Denver who joined CNN in 2013. She took over as anchor of CNN’s weekend show “CNN Newsroom” in 2017.
34. John Hancock competitor : AETNA
When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the Italian volcano.
John Hancock Financial was founded in 1862. The company was named in honor of the American patriot John Hancock.
39. Hindu war deity : INDRA
In Hindu mythology, Indra is the King of the gods, Lord of Heaven. Indra is also the God of War, Storms and Rainfall.
42. Angling tool : ROD
We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” was an Old English word for a hook.
43. Observation deck of the future? : TAROT CARDS
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.
46. Officials outranking beys : PASHAS
A pasha was a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, and was roughly equivalent to the English rank of lord.
In the days of the Ottoman Empire, the term “bey” was used for many different officials, but traditionally it referred to the leader of a small tribal group. Today “bey” is used very much like “mister”.
49. Raccoon in a Dumpster, e.g. : FORAGER
“Dumpster” is one of those words that we use generically even though it is actually a brand name. The original “Dumpster” was patented by the Dempster Brothers of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Dumpster” is derived from “dump” and “Dempster”.
The raccoon is native to North America. In captivity, raccoons can live to over 20 years of age, but in the wild they only live two or three years. The main causes for the shorter lifespan are hunting and road traffic.
53. Focus of “Ocean’s Eleven” : HEIST
“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts. The 2001 remake (titled “Ocean’s Eleven”, note the spelling) spawned two sequels: “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007.
62. TV family from the planet Remulak : CONEHEADS
“The Coneheads” first appeared in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch in 1977. The three family members back then were played by Dan Ackroyd (father), Jane Curtin (mother) and Laraine Newman (daughter). The characters became so popular that they were featured in a “Coneheads” movie in 1993.
5. Malibu, e.g. : SEDAN
The Chevrolet Malibu was named for the city of Malibu, California. The Malibu was produced by General Motors from 1964 to 1983, and was then reintroduced in 1997.
6. Popeye and others : TARS
A jack tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.
Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up, Olive Oyl was the main character.
7. Home of Weber State University : UTAH
Weber State University is located in Ogden, Utah. The school was founded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is named for a fur trader named John Henry Weber.
10. Hallucinogen nicknamed “embalming fluid” : PCP
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as “PCP” or “angel dust”.
11. Member of the herring family : ALEWIFE
The alewife is a North American herring. Just like salmon and striped bass, the alewife migrates from the sea up into freshwater to spawn.
14. “___ the Limit” (Notorious B.I.G. hit) : SKY’S
“The Notorious B.I.G.” was the stage name of rap star Christopher Wallace, who also went by the names “Biggie Smalls” and “Biggie”. While at the height of his fame Wallace was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, a murder case that has never been solved. The 2009 movie “Notorious” is about Wallace’s life and stars fellow rap artist Jamal Woolard (aka Gravy) in the title role.
20. It gives a driver a little height : TEE
That would be golf.
24. Gerald Ford’s hometown : GRAND RAPIDS
Gerald Ford was the only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the US, without having been elected to those positions. Ford was nominated by President Richard Nixon to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew after he resigned in 1973. Vice President Ford assumed the presidency the following year after President Nixon resigned.
28. John Hancock item : PEN
We use the term “John Hancock” to mean a signature. The reference is to the large and flamboyant signature placed by John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence. Hancock was President of the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777.
30. Superman, notably : FLIER
Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…It’s Superman!
37. Golf Hall of Fame inductee of 2011 : ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).
40. Waters near Mount Erebus : ROSS SEA
The Ross Sea is a bay in the Southern Ocean of Antarctica. It was discovered by one James Ross in 1841. A more recent discovery, in the waters of the Ross Sea, was a 33 feet long giant squid that was captured in 2007.
Mount Erebus is a volcano in Antarctica, located on Ross Island. Erebus is the second-highest on the continent, after Mount Sidley. It was discovered in 1841 by Sir James Clark Ross, along with the companion volcano Mount Terror. Ross named the peaks for the ships used on his voyage: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.
47. State capital on the Indian Ocean : PERTH
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. Perth earned itself the nickname of “City of Light” in 1962 as the virtually all the town’s lights were turned on at full power when astronaut John Glenn passed overhead in earth orbit in Friendship 7, so that he could see the city below. The city gave a repeat performance for Glenn in 1998 when he passed overhead in the Space Shuttle in 1998.
48. Bird named for a Titaness : RHEA
The rhea is a flightless bird native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek titan Rhea. It’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.
51. Maker of Scentini fragrances : AVON
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.