Edited by: Will Shortz
We have some themed answers today that LOOP into the row above. These are SUP-ER LOOPS in a way, because the LOOP appears above (SUPER-) the letters ER. The LOOPING letters are circled in my grid:
- 23A. Fancy French shellfish dish : LOBSTER THERMIDOR
- 25A. Beer parlor : BEVERAGE ROOM
- 49A. All together, as a family : UNDER ONE ROOF
- 51A. Classroom item : BLACKBOARD ERASER
- 69A. Central Park’s SummerStage, e.g. : CONCERT SERIES
- 86A. Tech overseer : COMPUTER OPERATOR
- 91A. Reason to stop reading : SPOILER ALERT
- 116A. Premise of the film “Freaky Friday” : ROLE REVERSAL
- 118A. Some positives and negatives : BATTERY TERMINALS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
12. “The Hallucinogenic Toreador” artist : DALI
The artist Salvador Dalí liked to make a splash in public. He was known to walk an anteater on a lead around Paris. He also brought an anteater on stage to an interview on “The Dick Cavett Show” in 1970.
20. Some rounds : AMMO
The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.
26. “Then again …,” in a tweet : OTOH …
On the other hand (OTOH)
27. Collection of Hindu aphorisms : SUTRA
The word “sutra” is used in Hinduism for a learned text, one usually meant to be studied by students.
An aphorism is a short and pithy statement that embodies a general truth or insightful observation. Some great examples are:
- Life is a journey, not a destination (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- The average person thinks he isn’t (Larry Lorenzoni)
- To err is human, to forgive divine (Alexander Pope)
- Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one (Albert Einstein)
- Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton)
31. Tennis’s Novak Djokovic, by birth : SERB
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player and former world No. 1 ranked player. Djokovic is quite the character off the court it seems and he is very popular on the talk-show circuit, all around the world. It helps that Djokovic is fluent in several languages.
32. Rex Tillerson’s alma mater, for short : UT AUSTIN
The University of Texas at Austin was established back in 1883. UT Austin is known as one of the “Public Ivies”, a publicly-funded university at which a student can get an education comparable to that provided by the Ivy League. The school’s sports teams are known as the Texas Longhorns, named for the Longhorn cattle that is now the official “large animal” of the state of Texas.
39. Carved emblem : TOTEM
“Totem” is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.
41. Keys for Keys? : PIANO
“Alicia Keys” is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.
44. German pronoun : SIE
“Sie” is a German word meaning “you”.
46. South American plains : LLANOS
“Llano” is the Spanish word for “plain”.
48. Tikkanen who won five Stanley Cups : ESA
Esa Tikkanen is a retired hockey player from Finland. He was on the winning team in five Stanley Cup finals, between 1985 to 1994.
55. More chichi : TONIER
Something described as “tony” is elegant or exclusive. “Tony” is derived from the word “tone”.
Someone who is “chichi” is showily trendy and pretentious. “Chichi” is a French noun meaning “airs, fuss”.
58. Team finale? : -STER
Originally, a teamster was a person who drove a team of animals that pulled a wagon. Over time, “teamster” became a synonym for “truck driver”. The term became more prevalent as the trade union called the International Brotherhood of Teamsters grew in importance during the Depression.
60. Hot spot, both literally and figuratively : MID EAST
In geographical terms there are three “Easts”. The Near East and Middle East are terms that are often considered synonymous, although “Near East” tends to be used when discussing ancient history and “Middle East” when referring to the present day. The Near/Middle East encompasses most of Western Asia and Egypt. The term “Far East” describes East Asia (including the Russian Far East), Southeast Asia and South Asia.
63. Roman philosopher who wrote “All cruelty springs from weakness” : SENECA
Seneca the Younger was a tutor and advisor to the Emperor Nero of Ancient Rome. Although maybe innocent, Seneca was forced to commit suicide by Nero as it was alleged that Seneca participated in a plot to kill the emperor. To kill himself, Seneca cut into a number of veins in order to bleed to death.
67. Buenos ___ : AIRES
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, and is located on the estuary of the Ria de la Plata. As it is a port city, the people of Buenos Aires are known as porteños (“people of the port”).
78. “Homer and ___ Exchange Cross Words” (2008 episode of “The Simpsons”) : LISA
Lisa Simpson is Bart’s brainy younger sister on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Lisa is voiced by actress Yeardley Smith. In a 2008 episode of the show, Lisa enters a crossword tournament. Crossword celebrities Merl Reagle and Will Shortz make appearances in that episode, basically playing cartoon versions of themselves.
83. Catch like Spider-Man : ENMESH
Spider-Man is a creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in comics in 1962. Spider-Man was a somewhat groundbreaking character in that his alter ego was a teenage high school student (named Peter Parker), which marked the first time that a young person featured front and center as the superhero.
93. Stranded cellular stuff : RNA
The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein “generators” called ribosomes.
95. Addis Ababa’s country: Abbr. : ETH
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. The city is relatively young, having being founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II. Addis Ababa holds an important position within the nations of Africa as it is home to many international organizations that are focused on the continent.
96. Claim deposits : LODES
A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.
100. Backup group for Gladys Knight : THE PIPS
Gladys Knight & the Pips performed together from 1953 to 1989. The Pips were founded around Gladys Knight, originally featuring her brother, sister and two cousins. The group took its name from yet another cousin, a cousin named “Pip”.
102. Mahmoud Abbas’s grp. : PLO
Mahmoud Abbas took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2004 after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, a position equivalent to “head of state”.
105. Tiny conductor of heat or electricity : NANOTUBE
Nanotubes, particularly those made from carbon, are the subject of a lot of research and development right now. Nanotubes are extremely thin, and in some cases the tube walls are only one-atom thick. On the other hand, nanotubes can be quite long, with some tubes having been grown to about half a meter.
108. Email best not replied to : SPAM
The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …
113. Extra periods at TD Garden : OTS
TD Garden is a sports arena that was built in the 1990s to replace the aging Boston Garden as home for the Boston Celtics basketball team and the Boston Bruins hockey team.
114. Mythical beast with goatlike features : SATYR
The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.
115. Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.
116. Premise of the film “Freaky Friday” : ROLE REVERSAL
“Freaky Friday” is a well-known children’s novel, written by Mary Rodgers and published in 1972. The basic story is that one Friday, a mother and her teenage daughter have their bodies switched due to the effects of an enchanted fortune cookie. Hilarity ensues! Disney adapted the novel into a movie three times in all:
- In 1976, starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster
- In 1995, starring Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffman
- In 2003, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan
122. Singer India.___ : ARIE
India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.
124. Director Anderson : WES
Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums”, released in 2001, not my favorite film by any stretch. However, his 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.
1. Grain containers : SILOS
“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept corn.
3. National ___ Day (last Friday in April) : ARBOR
Arbor Day is a holiday each year in which people traditionally plant and care for trees. The first Arbor Day was held way back in 1872.
5. 007, for one: Abbr. : AGT
The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …
6. ___ monkey : RHESUS
The Rhesus macaque is also known as the Rhesus monkey. As it is widely available and is close to humans anatomically and physically, the Rhesus macaque has been used in scientific research for decades. The Rhesus monkey was used in the development of rabies, smallpox and polio vaccines, and it also gave its name to the Rhesus factor that is used in blood-typing. It was also Rhesus monkeys that were launched into space by the US and Soviet space programs. Humans and macaques share about 93% of their DNA and had a common ancestor about 25 million years ago.
8. Copyright concern : FAIR USE
The term “copyright” really derives from the concept of giving another party the “right to copy”. Usually “copyright” gives the holder the power to financially benefit from any copies made. Copyright was invented in essence soon after the development of the printing press, with the first legal statutes put in place in Britain in the early 18th century.
9. Symbol for a break : EM DASH
In typography, there are em dashes and en dashes. The em dash is about the width of an “m” character, and an en dash about half that, the width of an “n’ character. An en dash is used, for example, to separate numbers designating a range, as in 5-10 years. The em dash seems to be going out of style, and indeed the application I am using to write this paragraph won’t let me show you one!
10. ___, amas, amat : AMO
Amo, amas, amat … I love, you love, he/she/it loves, in Latin.
11. Taquito wrap : TORTILLA
A “flauta”, also known as a “taquito”, is a rolled tortilla with some kind of filling that has been deep-fried until it is crispy.
13. Barley wine, e.g. : ALE
Barley wine is a very strong ale from England. The term “barley wine” is used because the alcohol content of the beer is similar to that of wine (8-12%) and yet it is made from grain rather than fruit.
14. Burton of “Reading Rainbow” : LEVAR
The actor LeVar Burton is very much associated with two iconic roles on television: young Kunta Kinte in “Roots”, and Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Burton also hosted the children’s PBS show “Reading Rainbow” for many years. His portrayal of Kunta Kinte in 1977 was Burton’s first acting job. Indeed, Burton’s audition for the part was the first in his professional career!
“Reading Rainbow” is an award-winning children’s television series that aired on Public Television from 1983 to 2006. The mission of the show was to encourage children to read. “Reading Rainbow” was hosted by the actor LeVar Burton (from “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”).
17. Frequent director of De Niro : SCORSESE
The movie director Martin Scorsese is very much a New York City native, and is well-known for directing movies set in the Big Apple. Among the list of great Scorsese films are “Taxi Driver”, “Raging Bull”, “Goodfellas”, “Cape Fear”, “Casino” and “The Departed”.
Robert De Niro is noted for his longtime and highly successful collaboration with the director Martin Scorsese, in such films as “Taxi Driver” (1976), “Raging Bull” (1980), “Goodfellas” (1990) and “Casino” (1995). De Niro is also noted for his commitment as a method actor. Famously he gained a full 60 pounds in order to play Jake Lamotta in “Raging Bull”.
18. Pigment in red blood cells : HEME
Heme (also “haem”) is an organic structure containing iron, and is a component of hemoglobin, the protein that transports primarily oxygen around the body. It is the “heme” in “hemoglobin” that binds the oxygen atoms.
22. “Star Wars” droid : ARTOO
Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2. R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 ft 8 ins tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.
24. Letters on N.Y.C. trains : MTA
The MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). MTA might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as the Metro and sometimes the MTA.
33. Swiss folk hero with a crossbow : TELL
Supposedly, William Tell came from Uri, a canton in the German part of Switzerland. Altdorf is the capital of Uri and is the city where William Tell shot the apple off his son’s head using a crossbow, at least according to legend. There is a bronze statue of Tell that was erected in the city’s marketplace in 1895 to memorialize the event.
36. After-dinner drink : PORT
Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.
38. Speed skater Karin who won eight Olympic medals : ENKE
Karin Enke is a former speed skater who represented East Germany in competition in the seventies and eighties.
41. Celestial object that emits radio waves : PULSAR
A pulsar is a rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. As the beam is not emitted in all directions, it is only seen from Earth when at particular rotations, hence creating a cycle of pulsed gamma rays known as the lighthouse effect.
44. Anthropomorphic hedgehog of gamedom : SONIC
Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot “Mario”.
51. Pair : BRACE
A brace is a pair, as in a brace of game birds that have been killed for sport.
53. Kidney-related : RENAL
Something described as “renal” is related to the kidneys. “Ren” is the Latin word for “kidney”.
56. Dark time, in poesy : E’EN
“Poesy” is an alternative name for poetry, and is often used to mean the “art of poetry”.
61. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 …, e.g.: Abbr. : SEQ
In this sequence, each number is the sum of the prior two numbers. 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, etc.
64. Like the Dalai Lama : EXILED
The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.
65. One of the Borgias : CESARE
The Borgias were a papal family that was very prominent during the Renaissance in Europe. Two of the Borgias became popes, namely Pope Calixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. Pope Alexander VI had several children, including Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Cesare became a cardinal, and was the first cardinal to resign from the post. Lucrezia earned a reputation as a femme fatale, and as such turns up in many artworks, novels and movies.
68. The Philippines’ ___ Sea : SULU
The Sulu Sea is found to the southwest of the Philippines, and the northeast of Borneo. Gene Roddenberry named the “Star Trek” character Hikaru Sulu after the Sulu Sea.
70. Author Rankin : IAN
Ian Rankin is crime writer from Scotland. Rankin’s most famous novels feature his hero “Inspector Rebus” and are set in and around Edinburgh.
71. 1428 ___ (horror film address): Abbr. : ELM ST
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is a Wes Craven slasher-horror film that was released in 1984. As I don’t do “slasher” or “horror”, I only learned relatively recently that Johnny Depp was in the movie, making his feature film debut.
72. The N.B.A.’s Curry, informally : STEPH
Steph Curry is a professional basketball player who was named the league’s MVP in 2015, the same season that he led the Golden State Warriors to their first NBA championship since 1975. Steph’s father is former NBA player Dell Curry, and the older brother of current NBA player Seth Curry.
75. Singer James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
77. Baja bear : OSO
Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.
84. Congress, with “the” : HILL
Washington D.C.’s designer Pierre L’Enfant chose the crest of a hill as the site for the future Congress House. He called the location “Jenkins Hill” and “Jenkins Heights”. Earlier records show the name as “New Troy”. Today we call it “Capitol Hill”.
86. ___ wolf : CRY
“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is one of Aesop’s fable, and the tale that gives rise to our phrase “to cry wolf”, which means to give a false alarm. In the fable, a shepherd boy is in the habit of tricking nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock by crying “wolf!”. When an actual attack is made, the villages assume it’s another false alarm and the sheep are are eaten by the wolf.
88. Old outdoor dance sights : MAYPOLES
A maypole is a tall pole used in various folk festivals in Europe, usually taking place in early to mid-summer. The pole is often used for a maypole dance in which men and women circle while holding ribbons attached to the top of the pole.
89. Place to try patatas bravas : TAPAS BAR
“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.
90. Actress Lena : OLIN
Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland.
98. Authority : MAVEN
I’ve always loved the word “maven”, which is another word for an expert. Maven comes into English from the Yiddish “meyvn” meaning someone who appreciates and is a connoisseur.
99. Gertrude who swam the English Channel in 1926 : EDERLE
Gertrude Ederle was an American swimmer from New York City. Ederle became the first woman to cross the English Channel, in 1926. Only five men had made the same swim before Ederle, with the fastest crossing being in 16 hours 33 minutes. Ederle blew that record out of the water (pun!), arriving in Dover in 14 hours 39 minutes.
101. Brand of note? : POST-IT
The Post-it note was invented at 3M following the accidental discovery of a low-tack, reusable adhesive. The actual intent of the development program was the discovery of a super-strong adhesive.
104. The New Yorker piece : ESSAY
The world-famous “New Yorker” magazine is published by Condé Nast. It was founded back in 1925 by Harold Ross and his wife Jane Grant, a reporter for “The New York Times”. The venerated magazine has become famous for many aspects of its content, including its stylish covers and its cartoons.
106. Western tribe : UTE
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”.
107. “Turn! Turn! Turn!” band, with “the” : BYRDS
There aren’t many pop hits that have lyrics taking almost entirely from the Bible. Pete Seeger took some words from the Book of Ecclesiastes, and set them to music in 1959, using the title “To Everything There Is a Season”. He recorded the song in 1962 for one of his albums. It wasn’t until it was recorded by the Byrds as “Turn! Turn! Turn!” that the song climbed the charts. It’s a nice contemplative song, I always think …
109. One-named philosopher : PLATO
Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle.
110. Paul ___, Microsoft co-founder : ALLEN
Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen met and became friends in high school. The Gates was three years younger than Allen, but the pair gravitated towards each other due to a shared interest in computers. One of their first programming projects was to create a computerized version of tic-tac-toe, which they did together on a time-shared computer that was donated to the school by the Mothers’ Association. The two parted company when they graduated and went to different colleges, Allen to Washington State and Gates to Harvard. Allen dropped out of school to start work as a programmer, and he later convinced Gates to drop out of Harvard so that they could create Microsoft.
111. En ___ (as a group) : MASSE
“En masse” is a French term, one that is best translated as “as a group”
117. Homophone for the atomic number of oxygen : ATE
British clergyman Joseph Priestley is often given the credit for the discovery of oxygen, and he was indeed the first person to publish his 1774 findings, doing so in 1775. However, Swedish pharmacist Carl Wilhelm Scheele independently made the same discovery in 1773 or perhaps a year or two earlier. Scheele sent a manuscript describing his findings to his publisher in 1775, but that document was not printed until 1777. It was French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier who gave the newly discovered element its name. Lavoisier mistakenly believed that oxygen was a vital constituent of all acids, and so in 1777 named the gas “oxygène”, from the Greek roots “oxys” meaning “acid, sharp” and “-genes” meaning “producer”.
119. Altar constellation : ARA
The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for “altar”.