Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
15. Alternative to Pandora or Spotify : IHEARTRADIO
IHeartRadio is an Internet radio broadcaster that is owned by Clear Channel. The IHeart.com website provides access to over 800 radio stations that can all be played on a computer or mobile device.
25. Pool cover : FELT
Felt is used for the playing surface of a pool table.
33. Loyalty, old-style : TROTH
There’s a phrase used in some traditional wedding vows that goes “… and thereto I plight thee my troth”. “I plight” is an obsolete way of saying “I pledge”. “Troth” is an old variant of the word truth, and meant “truth” but also “loyalty”. So, “I plight thee my troth” means, “I promise to be loyal to you”. I am sure all of us who uttered those words knew what we were saying …
34. Timorese, e.g. : ASIAN
Timor is an island in Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is politically divided into West Timor, belonging to Indonesia, and the independent state of East Timor. The name “Timor” comes from a Malay word for “east”, and is used as Timor lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.
40. Oxford designation : EEE
An oxford is a type of lace-up shoe that originated not in Oxford, but actually in Scotland and/or Ireland.
41. Son-in-law of Chief Powhatan : ROLFE
John Rolfe was one of the early English settlers in America. He is perhaps best remembered for marrying the Native American Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. For a few months before her death, Pocahontas lived with Rolfe in England. The couple had actually boarded a ship to return them to Virginia when Pocahontas became ill and had to be brought ashore on the south coast of England, where she soon passed away.
47. Person with a mental bloc? : MENSAN
If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.
48. It may prey on a ray : ORCA
The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.
49. Team in Houston : NASA
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The city of Houston, Texas was named for General Sam Houston, who served as President of the Republic of Texas and then as Governor after Texas was annexed as a US state in 1845.
51. Inspiron maker : DELL
Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.
55. Date preceder : CIRCA
“Circa” is a Latin word meaning “around, near, about the time of”. We use “circa” directly in English to mean “about the time of”, as well as in derivative words such as “circle” and “circus”.
58. President Clinton hosted one in 2000 : PEACE SUMMIT
President Bill Clinton hosted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000. The intent was to progress towards resolution of the conflict in the Middle East, but there was no agreement.
63. Football stat: Abbr. : INT
64. Big headache for a company rep : PR NIGHTMARE
Public relations (PR)
65. They have sgts. : PDS
Police department (PD)
66. Intuition about something soon to happen : SPIDEY SENSE
“Spidey sense” is a phrase used to describe one’s intuition or instinct, especially when sensing something that might be dangerous. The term arises from the comic book hero Spider-Man’s ability to sense danger before others.
1. Drag accessory : WIG
The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).
6. Fire on from above : STRAFE
We’ve been using “strafe” to mean an attack on a ground position from low-flying aircraft since WWII. Prior to that, the word was used by British soldiers to mean any form of attack. It was picked up from the German word for “punish” as it was used in “Gott strafe England” meaning, “May God punish England”.
7. “The Governator” : ARNIE
The body-builder, actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Graz in Austria, the son of the local police chief. Schwarzenegger’s family name translates into the more prosaic “black plough man”. In his bodybuilding days, he was often referred to as the Austrian Oak. When he was Governor of California he was called “the Governator”, a play on his role in the “The Terminator” series of movies.
8. Valencian dishes : PAELLAS
Paella is sometime referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia.
11. Collette of “United States of Tara” : TONI
Toni Collette is a marvelous actress from Australia who really started to garner the public’s attention playing the title role in the 1994 film “Muriel’s Wedding”. She went on to take major roles in films like “Emma” (1996), “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “About a Boy” (2002), all of which are favorites of mine. Collette also played the lead in the excellent Showtime comedy-drama “United States of Tara”.
“United States of Tara” is a comedy-drama that aired for a couple of years on Showtime. Star of the show is the talented Australian actress Toni Collette. The character she plays is Tara, a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder.
21. “Little Birds” author : NIN
Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for the journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.
22. P.G.A. Championship airer : TNT
TNT stands for Turner Network Television. The TNT cable channel made a big splash in the eighties when it started to broadcast old MGM movies that had been “colorized”, not something that was a big hit with the public. In recent years, the TNT programming lineup is touted with the tagline “We Know Drama”, and includes shows like “Judging Amy”, “ER” and “Cold Case”.
29. Start of a billet-doux : CHERE
“Cher” is the French for “dear”. The spelling is “chère” when used with a feminine noun.
Billet-doux is a French term for a love letter. A “billet” is a short note, and “doux” means sweet.
31. Roadway finisher : TAR
The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call tarmac.
34. C. S. Lewis’s symbol of Jesus : ASLAN
In the C. S. Lewis series of books known as “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Aslan is the name of the lion character (as in the title “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). “Aslan” is actually the Turkish word for lion. Anyone who has read the books will recognize the the remarkable similarity between the story of Aslan and the story of Christ, including a sacrifice and resurrection.
39. “Sudden Death” star, 1995 : VAN DAMME
Jean-Claude Van Damme is a Belgian actor and expert in martial arts. Given his background, he is referred to by the nickname “The Muscles from Brussels”.
44. Its artists do many sketches, for short : SNL
“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)
50. Counterpart of a blitz : SIEGE
Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.
“Blitz”, as it is used in English, means a fast-moving and overwhelming attack. It is a shortened version of the German word “blitzkrieg”. The blitzkrieg was a tactic used by Germany running up to and during WWII. In the original German blitzkrieg, the army and air-force threw everything into a rapid penetration of enemy lines without stopping to reinforce its flanks. The word “blitz” means “lightning” (and “krieg” means “war”).
53. Pandora and Spotify : APPS
Pandora is a clever music-streaming site that runs what’s called the Music Genome Project. The idea behind the project is that particular pieces of music can be classified by specific characteristics (genes). The assumption is that given a person’s liking for the genome of a particular song, then a recommendation of another song with a similar genome will also be enjoyed by that person. I’ve used Pandora quite a lot, and it seems to work!
Spotify is a popular music-streaming service that was launched in Sweden in 2008.
54. Kind of walk : PERP
When a crime suspect in the custody of the police is walked through a public place, often to and from a courthouse, it is known as a “perp walk”.
61. Government org. impersonated in many phishing scams : IRS
Phishing is the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PIN numbers etc.”