Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
5. Dungeons & Dragons or Final Fantasy, for short : RPG
Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …
8. It has tiny tines : SPORK
“Spork” is the more common name for the utensil that is a hybrid between a spoon and a fork. The same utensil is less commonly referred to as a “foon”.
13. Relative of sake : RICE BEER
We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.
20. Room with a Vue, perhaps : GARAGE
The VUE is a compact SUV made by General Motors under the Saturn brand from 2001 to 2009. The VUE was the best-selling of all Saturn models.
21. Enemy of CONTROL on “Get Smart” : KAOS
The satirical comedy series called “Get Smart” was the creation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and starred Don Adams as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. Agent 86 worked for the spy agency CONTROL, alongside the lovely Agent 99. CONTROL’s sworn enemy was the criminal organization called KAOS. Smart’s shoe phone was a hilarious prop used in almost every episode. When Smart dialed the number 117, the shoe converted into a gun. Cool stuff …
25. Person who came out of the blue? : EX-COP
“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”, and is still a slang term meaning “to get hold of, steal”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.
27. Band that really rocks, appropriately? : THE STONES
Even though Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been the driving force behind the Rolling Stones for decades, they didn’t start the group. The band was the idea of guitarist and harmonica player Brian Jones, and it was he who invited Richards and Jagger to join, as well as Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts to make an original lineup of six band members. Jones called the band “Rollin’ Stone” back then in 1962, named for the song by Muddy Waters. Jones was the leader, manager and decision maker for the first few years until songs written by Richards and Jagger became hits and he started to lose artistic control. In 1967, Jones was arrested for drug possession, and again in 1968. When his trouble with the law prevented him from getting a US work visa, Jones wasn’t able to accompany the Stones on a 1969 US tour. That was the last straw, it seems, and Jones and the Stones parted company. Famously, one month later, Jones was found dead, at the bottom of his swimming pool.
28. Onomatopoeic mint name : TIC TAC
Tic Tacs aren’t American candies (as I always mistakenly believed). Tic Tacs are made by the Italian company Ferrero, and were introduced in 1969.
31. Neighbor of an Ethiopian : SOUTH SUDANESE
South Sudan is an African country that gained her independence in 2011, after a split with Sudan. Sadly, the new nation has been ravaged by a civil war since 2013.
Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation on the continent (after Nigeria), and with 90 million inhabitants, it is the most populous landlocked country in the world. Most anthropologists believe that our Homo sapiens species evolved in the region now called Ethiopia, and from there set out to populate the planet.
44. Closing bit of music : OUTRO
In the world of pop music, an outro is the opposite to an intro. An outro might perhaps be the concluding track of an album, for example.
47. Like derby entrants : SHOD
The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.
48. Winning QB in the first N.F.L. playoff game to go into sudden-death overtime : UNITAS
Footballer Johnny Unitas was nicknamed “the Golden Arm” as well as “Johnny U”. Unitas played in the fifties through the seventies, mainly for the Baltimore Colts. He held the record for throwing touchdown passes in consecutive games (47 games) for 52 years, until it was surpassed in 2012 by Drew Brees.
51. Deg. for a jurist : LLD
The honorary degree of Legum Doctor (LL.D.) translates from the Latin as Doctor of Laws, a plural. This practice of using the plural originated in Cambridge University in England, as one was awarded an LL.D. after having been taught both Canon Law and Civil Law.
53. Creek language : SEMINOLE
The Seminole people originally came from what is know called Florida. Increasing migration of European Americans into Seminole lands led to the three Seminole Wars, the first starting in 1818, the last ending in 1858. The basic outcome of the wars was the relocation of the vast majority of Seminoles to reservations in Oklahoma.
56. Pieces of furniture with many shelves : ETAGERES
An “étagère” is a piece of furniture with open shelves, often used to display small ornaments. The name is French, coming from “étage” meaning “shelf”. I can’t stand them …
57. Viperidae family member : ADDER
The Viperidae are a family of venomous snakes commonly referred to as vipers.
3. Volkswagen coupe : SCIROCCO
The type of car known as a “coupe” or “coupé” is a closed automobile with two doors. The name comes from the French word “couper” meaning “to cut”. In most parts of the English-speaking world the pronunciation adheres to the original French, but here in most of North America we go with “coop”. The original coupé was a horse-drawn carriage that was cut (coupé) to eliminate the rear-facing passenger seats. That left just a driver and two front-facing passengers. If the driver was left without a roof and out in the open, then the carriage was known as a “coupé de-ville”.
4. Big name in talks : TED
The acronym “TED” stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.
7. They leave carbon footprints : GREENHOUSE GASES
Greenhouse gases are those that absorb and emit infrared radiation, meaning that they act as an insulator for our planet. The most abundant greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by about 40% since 1750, and levels of methane have increased over 150% in the same time frame.
8. Home to shooting Stars : SAN ANTONIO
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) includes the Connecticut Sun, San Antonio Stars and the Chicago Sky.
9. P.R. piece? : PUERTO
Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.
11. Wailers’ sound : REGGAE
The Wailers were the band, formed in Jamaica in 1963, whose most famous member was Bob Marley. The band’s name went through a few iterations, starting out as the Teenagers, then the Wailing Rudeboys, the Wailing Wailers, and finally the Wailers.
15. Superior stadium spot : LOGE SEAT
In most theaters and stadia today, “loge” is the name given to the front rows of a mezzanine level. Loge can also be used for box seating.
22. President’s annual delivery to Cong. : SOTU
The US President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address is requirement called out in Article II of the Constitution. George Washington gave the first address before a joint session of Congress in 1790. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of making a personal address by sending Congress a written document that was then read out by a clerk. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson re-established the custom of delivering the message personally, there have been occasions since then when a written address has had to suffice, the last occasion being in 1981 when Jimmy Carter was in office.
24. Fix, in a way : GELD
We can use the verb “to geld” to mean “to weaken, deprive of strength”. The term comes from the act of gelding an animal, castration of the male. “Geld” comes from the Old Norse word “gelda” meaning “castrate”.
26. Female singer with the second video ever shown on MTV : PAT BENATAR
Pat Benatar is a singer from Brooklyn, New York. Benatar’s biggest hits are “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, “Love is a Battlefield” and “We Belong”.
The first video played at the launch of MTV the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” (I love that song), followed by Pat Benatar singing “You Better Run”.
29. 32 men are found in it : CHESS SET
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now “pawns”)
- Cavalry (now “knights”)
- Elephants (now “bishops”)
- Chariots (now “rooks”)
32. Calif. school near the Mexican border : SDSU
San Diego State University (SDSU)
33. Targets of a 1932 “war” in Australia : EMUS
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …
34. Jedi knight’s rival : SITH LORD
The Sith are characters in the “Star Wars” universe who use the “dark side” of “the Force”, and as such are the antithesis of the Jedi Knights. Members of the Sith use the title “Darth” before their name, as in Darth Vader. The last made of the six “Star Wars” movies is called “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”.
39. Eagle constellation : AQUILA
The name of the constellation Aquila is Latin for “eagle”. The brightest star in Aquila is Altair. The name “Altair” comes from the Arabic “al-nasr al-tair” meaning “the flying eagle”.
40. Bugged for money : DUNNED
“To dun” is to insist on payment of a debt. The etymology of the term is unclear, with one suggestion that it dates back to a famous debt collector in London named Joe Dun.
46. With 38-Down, Diana, e.g. : ROMAN …
(38D. See 46-Down : … GODDESS)
Diana was the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing. The Greek equivalent of Diana was the goddess Artemis. According to Roman mythology, Diana was the twin sister of Apollo, and the daughter of Jupiter and Latona.