Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers ends with something one might eat at a BBQ:
- 38A. Cookout, briefly … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 23-, 52- and 58-Across : BBQ
- 17A. Is ready for one’s star turn, say : WAITS IN THE WINGS
- 23A. 1992 Tarantino crime thriller : RESERVOIR DOGS
- 52A. Children of armed forces personnel, slangily : MILITARY BRATS
- 58A. Fast, sharp-breaking curveballs : BACKDOOR SLIDERS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. “Goldilocks” bear with the hardest bed : PAPA
The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837, in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.
14. Wyatt at the O.K. Corral : EARP
Wyatt Earp is famous as one of the participants in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Earp was a city policeman in Wichita, Kansas and also in Dodge City, Kansas. Earp was also deputy sheriff in Tombstone, Arizona where the O.K. Corral gunfight took place. Years later, Earp joined the Alaska Gold Rush and with a partner built and operated the Dexter Saloon in Nome.
15. Dickens’s ___ Heep : URIAH
Uriah Heep is a sniveling insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.
16. Syrup brand used in making pecan pie : KARO
Karo is a brand of corn syrup, an industrially manufactured sweetener derived from corn.
23. 1992 Tarantino crime thriller : RESERVOIR DOGS
“Reservoir Dogs” was the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino and was released in 1992. I really don’t like Tarantino movies as I just cannot take all the violence. I checked the cast listing for “Reservoir Dogs” and it is a “men only” production. There are no named characters in the film played by women. All I can see is Linda Kaye who played “Shocked Woman”, and Suzanne Celeste who played “Shot Woman” …
28. Latticework strip : LATH
The words “lath” and “lattice” have the same root in Old French. Laths are thin strips of wood that are nailed across a frame forming a backing to which plaster can be applied to finish a wall. The term is also used for the main elements in a trellis, or the lengths of wood in a roof to which shingles are nailed.
29. Stat for A-Rod or Hammerin’ Hank : RBI
Run batted in (RBI)
36. Falsetto-voiced Muppet : ELMO
The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.
38. Cookout, briefly … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 23-, 52- and 58-Across : BBQ
It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.
44. Bird feeder material : SUET
Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.
56. Org. that defends individual rights : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.
65. Rimshot instrument : SNARE
Snare drums are so called because they have a set of wire strands (snares) stretching across the bottom surface of the drum. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the bottom drumhead producing a unique sound.
A rimshot is a sound made when a drummer hits the head of a drum and the rim at the same time. It’s a sound often used by comics to help punctuate a gag.
66. Member of an elite Navy team : SEAL
SEAL is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counterguerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.
1. Parishioner’s bench : PEW
A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.
3. 8:00-11:00 p.m. on TV : PRIME TIME
In the world of television, “prime time” is that part of the day when networks and advertisers bring maximize revenues due to the high number of viewers. Prime time is often defined as 7-10 p.m. Mountain and Central Time, and 8-11 p.m. Pacific and Eastern Time.
4. H.S. exam graded on a five-point scale : AP TEST
The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school. After being tested at the end of the courses, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.
5. Drunk motorist’s offense, briefly : DUI
In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.
7. Oil company with a triangular logo : CITGO
The oil and gasoline company Citgo was founded in 1910 as Cities Services Company, a supplier of gas and electricity to public utilities. City Services Company introduced the Citgo brand in 1965 in its petroleum businesses. Citgo is now owned by the national oil company of Venezuela.
11. Consumer products giant that makes Tide, for short : P AND G
Tide is a laundry detergent that has been made by Procter & Gamble since 1946. Back then, Tide was marketed as “America’s Washday Favorite”.
12. Mythical 100-eyed giant : ARGUS
Argus Panoptes is a monster of Greek mythology. “Panoptes” means “all-seeing”, so over time Argus has been described as having many, many eyes. Argus was noted for being alert, always keeping some eyes open when sleeping. This characteristic led to Argus being used for a vigilant person, and has been adopted as the name for many newspapers. After the monster died, the goddess Hera transferred Argus’s eyes to the tail of the peacock.
13. Snack (on) : NOSH
Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means snack, or as a verb meaning to eat between meals.
23. Pound : U.K. :: ___ : Russia : RUBLE
The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as several other countries of the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks (also “kopeks”).
The official name of the currency of the UK is the pound sterling (plural “pounds sterling”). The most plausible suggestion for the etymology of the term “sterling” is that it derives from the Old English “steorra” meaning “star”, with the diminutive “-ling”. The resulting “little star” or “sterling” referred to a silver penny used by the English Normans. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use.
24. “King Kong” and “Citizen Kane” studio : RKO
When RKO released the 1933 movie “King Kong”, the promotional material listed the ape’s height as 50 feet. During filming, a bust was created for a 40-foot ape, as well as a full-size hand that went with a 70-foot Kong.
1941’s “Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, and considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.
31. Atlanta-based cable inits. : TBS
The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with TBS standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.
34. Iroquois foes : ERIES
The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie, in parts of the modern-day US states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.
37. October birthstone : OPAL
Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:
- January: Garnet
- February: Amethyst
- March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
- April: Diamond
- May: Emerald
- June: Pearl or Moonstone
- July: Ruby
- August: Sardonyx or Peridot
- September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
- October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
- November: Topaz or Citrine
- December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)
42. Epic poem written in Homeric Greek : ILIAD
“The Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the ten-year siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “The Iliad”.
46. Ankle bones : TARSI
The tarsals (also “tarsi”) are the ankle bones, and are equivalent to the carpals in the wrist.
49. Places for mani-pedis : SALONS
Manicure & pedicure (mani-pedi)
52. National auto body repair chain : MAACO
MAACO Collision Repair & Auto Painting was founded by Anthony A. Martino ten years after he launched AAMCO Transmissions. The names of both companies were derived from the first letters of his name: AAM.
55. Degs. held by Bloomberg and G. W. Bush : MBAS
Michael Bloomberg served as Mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. He is an incredibly rich man, having accumulated his wealth as the founder and majority owner of a global financial data and media company that bears his name. Bloomberg was a Democrat and then switched allegiance to the Republican Party just prior to running for Mayor of New York. He left the Republican Party in 2007 and was re-elected as Mayor in 2009 as an Independent.
President George W. Bush (GWB) is named for his father, George H. W. Bush. The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.
59. Mauna ___ (volcano) : KEA
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.
60. Sign for a sold-out show : SRO
Standing room only (SRO)