Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers includes letters that are circled in the grid. Those letters give us a pair of animals:
- 110A. Sex appeal … or a hint to the answers to the six starred clues : ANIMAL MAGNETISM
- 23A. *Law enforcer with the Coast Guard : BOARDING OFFICER (BOAR & DINGO)
- 33A. *It passes on some bits of information : INTERNET ROUTER (ERNE & TROUT)
- 48A. *Philosopher who wrote “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made” : IMMANUEL KANT (ELK & ANT)
- 66A. *Celebrities working for the U.N., perhaps : GOODWILL AMBASSADORS (LAMB & ASS)
- 85A. *Certain photo poster : INSTAGRAMMER (STAG & RAM)
- 99A. *Business bigwigs : CORPORATE ELITE (RAT & EEL)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
14. Happy event after a split? : SPARE
In bowling, the downing of all ten pins in two balls in the same frame is a “spare”, scoring ten points. The player gets a bonus, equal to the number of pins downed with the next ball, which could be up to ten. Hence, a spare can be worth up to 20 points
In ten pin bowling, a split takes place when the number-one pin (headpin) is a knocked down with the first ball and two or more non-adjacent pins are left standing. The most difficult split to deal with is the infamous 7-10 split, where just the rear pins at the extreme right and left remain standing.
21. “Don Juan” girl : LEILA
Lord Byron wrote the poem “Don Juan” based on the legend of Don Juan the libertine. For the poem, Byron created the character Leila, a 10-year-old Muslim orphan girl whom Juan rescues from the city of Ismail.
22. Prince of ___ : WALES
The tradition in the UK is to invest the heir-apparent to the throne with the title of Prince of Wales. Since Prince Charles is that heir today, he is called Prince of Wales and his first wife was known as Diana, Princess of Wales. Both of their children can also use the title, Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales. However, since Prince William’s marriage, he mainly uses the title Duke of Cambridge.
28. Place for stars : MARQUEE
A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.
30. Buffet heater : STERNO
Sterno is a “jellied alcohol” that usually comes in a can. The can is opened and the contents burn very easily and persistently. The brand name “Sterno” comes from the original manufacturer, S. Sternau & Co. of Brooklyn, New York.
33. *It passes on some bits of information : INTERNET ROUTER (ERNE & TROUT)
In the world of computing, a router is a device that helps direct traffic, as it were. A router in a house is often found in combination with a modem, and directs traffic between the Internet and the computers in the home.
41. Constellation next to Corona Australis : ARA
The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for “altar”. It’s also the only constellation with a 3-letter name.
42. ___ Jahan, leader who commissioned the Taj Mahal : SHAH
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.
43. ___ Jorge (part of the Azores) : SAO
The Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic lying about 1,000 miles west of Portugal. The Azores are an autonomous region belonging to Portugal.
48. *Philosopher who wrote “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made” : IMMANUEL KANT (ELK & ANT)
Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century, German philosopher. Kant published “Perpetual Peace” in 1795, laying out what he believed were conditions for ending all wars and creating a lasting peace. The good news for us is that one of these conditions was to have a world full of constitutional republics, so it seems we are on the right track here in the US!
54. Company known for combining expertise? : DEERE
A combine harvester is a machine that “combines” the work that without would take three steps: reaping, binding and threshing.
60. What the Tower of London was for over 850 years : GAOL
Both “jail” and “gaol” are pronounced the same way, mean the same thing, and are rooted in the same Latin word for “cave”. The spelling “gaol” is seen quite often in the UK, although it is gradually being replaced with “jail”. The “gaol” spelling has Norman roots and tends to be used in Britain in more formal documentation.
The spectacular castle called the Tower of London sits right on the north bank of the River Thames in the center of London. The Tower dates back to the years just following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The victorious William the Conqueror built the Tower’s central keep (called the White Tower) in 1078. The Tower of London has been used for many purposes over the centuries, as a residence, a prison, and was even home to the Royal Mint. Famously it houses the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, and has done so since 1303.
72. International fusion restaurant chain : NOBU
Nobu Matsuhisa is celebrity chef from Japan. Nobu was invited to open a Japanese restaurant in Lima, Peru in 1973, and while in South America developed his own Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine. He moved to the US a few years later, and now there are “Nobu” and “Matsuhisa” restaurants all over the world.
73. Hall-of-Fame Bruin : 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.
74. Tater : SPUD
The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?
76. Low-quality bank offerings whose acronym suggests stealthiness : NINJA LOANS
A very high-risk subprime loan might be referred to as a ‘NINJA” loan. The acronym describes the loan applicant’s status, having “no income, no job, no assets”.
83. Peevish : IN A PET
Apparently there’s a phrase “in a pet” meaning “in a snit, in a temper”.
85. *Certain photo poster : INSTAGRAMMER (STAG & RAM)
Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …
88. Island nation that was once part of the Spanish East Indies : PALAU
Palau is a tiny island nation lying 500 miles east of the Philippines, and 2,000 miles south of Japan. Palau was once a Spanish possession and was sold by Spain to Germany in the late 19th century. During WWI, Japan invaded the islands (as Japan had declared war on Germany) and was awarded the islands as a territory by the League of Nations at the end of hostilities. In WWII the US took Palau from the Japanese in a bloody battle in 1944. Palau emerged from American administration in 1994 and is now a sovereign state.
91. Tribe that gave its name to a state : UTES
The Ute is a group of Native American tribes that now resides in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified people as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups. The word “Ute” means “Land of the Sun”, and “Ute” also gave us the state name “Utah”.
92. Grp. of people puttering around? : PGA
The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.
98. Onetime Yankee nickname : A-ROD
Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.
99. *Business bigwigs : CORPORATE ELITE (RAT & EEL)
A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.
103. Seep through : OSMOSE
Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often just water) across a semipermeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of absorbing water effortlessly gives rise to the expression “learning by osmosis”.
105. Like a bogey : OVER PAR
The term “Bogey” originated at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England in 1890, and was used to indicate a total round that was one-over-par (and not one-over-par on a particular hole, as it is today). The name Bogey came from a music hall song of the time “Here Comes the Bogeyman”. In the following years it became popular for players trying to stay at par to be “playing against Colonel Bogey”. Then, during WWI, the marching tune “Colonel Bogey” was written and named after the golfing term. If you don’t recognize the name of the tune, it’s the one that’s whistled by the soldiers marching in the great movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.
108. Cleveland athlete, familiarly : CAV
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.
109. Educator Montessori : MARIA
The Montessori approach to education was developed by the Italian educator Maria Montessori in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Montessori system arrived in the US in 1911, but most classes were shut down by 1914 due to unfavorable criticism from the established education system. There was a revival in interest in the US starting in 1960 and now there are thousands of schools using the Montessori approach all over the country.
110. Sex appeal … or a hint to the answers to the six starred clues : ANIMAL MAGNETISM
Franz Mesmer was a German physician, and the person who coined the phrase “animal magnetism”. Back then the term described a purported magnetic field that resided in the bodies of animate beings. Mesmer also lent his name to our term “mesmerize”.
121. Pillow covers : SHAMS
A sham is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens, a sham is also an imitation or fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.
122. Washington newsmaker of 1980 : ST HELENS
The active volcano in Washington state was named by explorer George Vancouver for his friend, the British diplomat Lord St Helens. 57 people died when When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, making it the deadliest eruption in the history of the US.
1. Start to call : DUB
Kneel, and the Queen might “dub thee a knight” if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.
2. U.N. workers’ grp. : ILO
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is an agency now administered by the UN which was established by the League of Nations after WWI. The ILO deals with important issues such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
4. Solar system model : ORRERY
An orrery is an ingenious mechanical device that shows the relative motion and relative positions of the planets in our solar system. The first “modern” orrery was produced in 1704 and was presented to the Irish peer known as the Earl of Orrery, from whence the name “orrery” comes.
5. Home testing kit target : RADON
The element radon (Rn) is a radioactive gas, and a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.
9. Actress Woodard : ALFRE
Alfre Woodard is an actress from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Woodard was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the 1983 film “Cross Creek”. Off the stage and screen she is very active in the Democratic Party.
10. Big seller of outdoor gear : REI
Sporting goods company REI introduced a #OptOutside campaign starting on Black Friday in 2015. The initial focus of the campaign was to encourages customers and employees alike to head out into nature instead of swamping retail outlets on the day that kicked off the holiday shopping season. REI actually closed its doors on Black Friday 2015, rather than participate in the annual shopping frenzy.
11. Ocasek of the Cars : RIC
Ric Ocasek is an American musician of Czech heritage, and was the lead vocalist of the rock band known as the Cars.
15. Some patterned floors : PARQUETS
Parquetry is a geometric pattern using pieces of wood. It is often seen in flooring, but also in some items of furniture.
16. Fox Islands dweller : ALEUT
The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.
17. ___ Elise Goldsberry, 37-Across winner for “Hamilton” : RENEE
Renée Elise Goldsberry is an actress and singer who is best known to me for playing the attorney Geneva Pine on the TV show “The Good Wife”. Goldsberry also originated the role of Angelica Schuyler Church in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton”.
20. TV producer Michaels : LORNE
Lorne Michaels is a television producer, someone best known as the creator of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). We can get some insight into Michaels’ character and demeanor by watching the show “30 Rock”. The character Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin, is inspired by Michaels.
24. Cheese often served with olives : FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.
31. Crooner with the autobiography “It Wasn’t All Velvet” : TORME
Mel Tormé was a jazz singer, with a quality of voice that earned him the nickname “The Velvet Fog”. Tormé also wrote a few books, and did a lot of acting. He was the co-author of the Christmas classic known as “The Christmas Song”, which starts out with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …”
32. U.S.S. Missouri’s resting site : OAHU
The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor sits across the sunken hull of the battleship, the resting place of 1,102 out of 1,117 sailors of the Arizona who were killed during the 1941 attack. After the attack, the superstructure of the Arizona protruded above the surface of the water. This was removed during and after WWII, hence leaving just a submerged hull. The memorial itself was approved by President Eisenhower in 1958, and the building was opened in 1962. In 1999, the battleship USS Missouri was permanently moored in Pearl Harbor, docked nearby and perpendicular to the Arizona. It was on the Missouri that the Japanese surrendered, marking the end of WWII.
34. Person who’s dreaded? : RASTA
Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair nowadays usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.
35. Publisher of the magazine America’s 1st Freedom, for short : NRA
The National Rifle Association (NRA) publishes several periodicals, including “American Rifleman”, “American Hunter” and “America’s 1st Freedom”.
39. ___ Bo (workout system) : TAE
Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.
42. Golf’s Slammin’ Sammy : SNEAD
Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate. Snead’s best-remembered nickname was “Slammin’ Sammy”.
46. First sign of spring : ARIES
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Someone born between March 21 and April 20 is an Aries. if you were, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.
49. Lingo : ARGOT
“Argot” is a French term, the name given in the 17th century to “the jargon of the Paris underworld”. Nowadays argot is the set of idioms used by any particular group, the “lingo” of that group.
50. One-third of a B-52 cocktail : KAHLUA
Kahlúa is a rum-based liqueur from Mexico that has a coffee flavor.
A B-52 is a layered cocktail that is usually served as a shot. It consists of coffee liqueur on the bottom, Irish cream in the center, and triple sec on top. The drink is named for the rock band called the B-52’s, and in turn the band is named for the long-range bomber.
51. “___ iacta est” (“The die is cast”) : ALEA
Supposedly, when Julius Caesar marched back to Rome from Gaul, he defiantly “crossed the Rubicon” with his army while uttering the words “Alea iacta est” (“The die is cast”).
By 59 BC, Julius Caesar was a very powerful man in Rome and had just been elected to the position of consul, the highest magistracy in the Republic. Famously, he aligned himself with two other powerful men in Rome, Pompey and Crassus, forming the First Triumvirate. At the end of his year as consul, Caesar was elected proconsul (for 5 years), and was appointed governor of three provinces north of Rome (including Gaul), with control of four legions of the army. Caesar extended the reach of the Roman Republic in the Gallic Wars, and became very popular with the people back in Rome. However the Senate, led by his erstwhile ally Pompey, feared the power that could be exercised by Caesar, so at the end of his term as proconsul they ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome. Caesar agreed to return to Rome, but not to disband his army. On 10 January 49 BC, despite all warnings he marched back into Italy by crossing the Rubicon River, along with his army, plunging Rome into Civil War. Since then, “crossing the Rubicon” has come to mean “passing the point of no return”.
52. First phase : NEW MOON
The phases of the moon have been given the following names, in order:
- New moon
- Waxing crescent moon
- First quarter moon
- Waxing gibbous moon
- Full moon
- Waning gibbous moon
- Third quarter moon
- Waning crescent moon
- Dark moon
62. Safari sighting : LION
“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.
65. Site of biblical destruction : SODOM
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by God for the sins of their inhabitants, according to the Bible. The name Sodom has become a metaphor for vice and homosexuality, and gives us our word “sodomy”.
66. Davis of “Thelma & Louise” : GEENA
As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …
“Thelma & Louise” is a thought-provoking movie, but one that is very entertaining. It was directed by Ridley Scott in 1991, and stars two fabulous leads in Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. You’ll also spot Brad Pitt onscreen in his first significant movie role.
67. Heat center of old? : O’NEAL
Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality show: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”
The Miami Heat basketball team debuted in the NBA in the 1988-89 season. The franchise name was chosen in a competitive survey, with “Miami Heat” beating out “Miami Vice”.
68. War on Poverty prez : LBJ
The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was created during the Lyndon Johnson administration. The agency was responsible for administering the War on Poverty programs that were part of the President Johnson’s Great Society agenda. The OEO was shut down by President Nixon, although some of the office’s programs were transferred to other agencies. A few of the OEO’s programs are still around today, like Head Start for example.
70. “The Lady of the Camellias” author, 1848 : DUMAS
“The Lady of the Camellias” (in French, “La Dame aux Camélias”) is a novel written by Alexandre Dumas, fils (the son of Alexandre Dumas, père, author of “The Three Musketeers” etc.). “The Lady of the Camellias” was a smash hit, and it was adapted for the stage many times. Most famously, it became Verdi’s opera “La Traviata”.
77. Unit of petrol : LITRE
Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.
78. Browning vessels : SAUTE PANS
“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.
81. Plants with bell-shaped blooms : SEGOS
The sego lily is the state flower of Utah, and is a perennial plant found throughout the Western United States.
86. Old Pontiac : GTO
The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.
87. Western city bisected by I-80 : RENO
The city of Reno’s economy took off when open gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Within a short time, a syndicate had built the Bank Club in Reno, which was the largest casino in the world at the time.
Interstate 80 is the second-longest highway in the US (after I-90). It runs east-west from San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey. I-80 largely follows the route of the first road across America, the historic Lincoln Highway.
90. Eleanor Roosevelt ___ Roosevelt : NEE
Eleanor Roosevelt was the daughter of Elliot, brother to President Theodore Roosevelt. Eleanor met Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was her father’s fifth cousin, in 1902. The two started “walking out together” the following year after they both attended a White House dinner with President Roosevelt.
95. Diamond figures : CARATS
The carat is a unit of mass used in measuring gemstones that is equal to 200 mg.
96. Ten or twenty : BILL
The US ten-dollar bill features the image of Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury, on the obverse. As such, ten-dollar bills are sometimes called “Hamiltons”. By the way, the $10 bill is the only US currency in circulation in which the portrait faces to the left. The reverse of the ten-dollar bill features the US Treasury Building.
The twenty-dollar bill is called a “Jackson” as it bears the portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the front side of the bill. Jackson’s image replaced that of President Grover Cleveland in 1928, and there doesn’t seem to be any record documenting just why that change was made. Over one-fifth of all notes printed today are 20-dollar bills, and the average life of a “Jackson” is a little over 2 years, after which it is replaced due to wear.
98. Big bang creator : AMATOL
Amatol is a mixture of TNT and ammonium nitrate. Amatol is no longer used today, but featured extensively in the two world wars. TNT, which was relatively costly, was able to “go further” with the addition of cheaper ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) with very little degradation in destructive power.
100. Gynecologist’s concern : OVARY
“Gyneco-” is a prefix meaning female, as in gynecology. “Andro-” is a prefix meaning male, as in androgen, a steroid hormone that controls the development of masculine characteristics.
107. Acronym for an acting/singing awards sweep : EGOT
The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards. Also known as the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam”, there are relatively few individuals who have been so honored. The first five to do so were:
- Richard Rodgers in 1962
- Helen Hayes in 1977
- Rita Moreno in 1977
- John Gielgud in 1991
- Audrey Hepburn in 1994 (posthumously)
111. Plays performed in shozoku robes : NOH
Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, including the female parts.
112. Hoppy quaff, briefly : IPA
India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.
113. Closemouthed : MUM
The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.
115. One in 100: Abbr. : SEN
The six-year terms enjoyed by US senators are staggered, so that every two years about one third of the 100 US Senate seats come up for reelection.
116. O.R. figures : MDS
One might find a medical doctor (MD) in an operating room (OR).