Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers is a well-known foreign-language phrase that includes the word “little” in that language:
- 62A. They’re what really count, so it’s said … or a hint to the multilingual answers to the starred clues : THE LITTLE THINGS
- 17A. *Breakfast, in Burgundy : LE PETIT DEJEUNER
- 23A. *With 52-Across, 1787 Mozart composition : EINE KLEINE …
- 52A. See 23-Across : … NACHTMUSIK
- 40A. *Repeated lyric in “La Bamba” : UNA POCA DE GRACIA
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
5. On-screen word in a “Batman” episode : POW!
The television show “Batman” aired from 1966-1968. Burt Ward played Robin opposite Adam West’s Batman. Supposedly, Burt Ward was offered the part taken by Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate”, but Ward couldn’t get out of his contract for the “Batman” television series. Holy xxxx, Batman!
8. Brilliance : ECLAT
“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.
17. *Breakfast, in Burgundy : LE PETIT DEJEUNER
In French, “le déjeuner” is “lunch”, and “le petit déjeuner” is “breakfast” (literally “the little lunch”).
The Burgundy region of France is famous for its wine production. If you’re looking at a label that isn’t translated into English though, you’ll see Burgundy written in French, namely “Bourgogne”.
20. Davis of “Jungle Fever” : OSSIE
Ossie Davis was a very successful African-American actor, but also a director, poet, playwright and social activist. One of Davis’s better known performances was in the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men”, in which he played the owner of the bait shop by the lake.
The 1991 film “Jungle Fever” is a Spike Lee project. Set in New York City, it is a romantic drama about an extramarital, interracial relationship between an architect (played by Wesley Snipes) and his secretary (played by Annabella Sciorra).
21. Fed : G-MAN
The nickname “G-men” is short for “government men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
23. *With 52-Across, 1787 Mozart composition : EINE KLEINE …
(52A. See 23-Across : … NACHTMUSIK)
Mozart’s ”Serenade No. 13 for Strings in G major” is better known as “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, which translates into “a little serenade”, but the more literal English translation of “a little night music” is often used. It is a delightful piece in four, very recognizable movements, although there is much debate about a “lost” fifth movement.
26. ___ Plaines, Ill. : DES
Des Plaines, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago that is located next to O’Hare International Airport. The city is named for the Des Plaines river that runs through the suburb.
27. Title for Gandhi : SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.
Mohandas Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India in the first part of the 20th century, as the country sought independence from Britain. He was also referred to as “Mahatma”, meaning “great soul”. His remarkable philosophy of nonviolence and living a modest lifestyle was a great inspiration to the Indian people. India (and Pakistan) was granted independence in 1947. Tragically, Gandhi was assassinated the very next year.
28. Book after II Chronicles : EZRA
Ezra the Scribe, also called Ezra the Priest, is the central character in the Book of Ezra in the Hebrew Bible.
30. Vivacity : BRIO
“Brio” is borrowed from Italian, in which language it means vigor and vivacity. “Con brio” is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing the musicians to play “with energy, vigor”.
34. Corrida cheers : OLES
Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, or literally “race of bulls”.
37. Start of a selecting rhyme : EENIE
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!
40. *Repeated lyric in “La Bamba” : UNA POCA DE GRACIA
“La Bamba” is a folk song from Veracruz, Mexico that became a huge hit for Ritchie Valens in 1958. The most notable cover version of the Valens hit was recorded by Los Lobos in 1987 as the title track of 1987 movie “La Bamba”.
43. Less feral : TAMER
“Feral”, meaning existing in a wild or untamed state, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “a wild animal”.
45. Golda of Israel : MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.
46. Side dish at a barbecue : SLAW
The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.
48. Dada pioneer : ARP
Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …
50. Affordable Care Act option, briefly : HMO
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).
58. 21,728-pg. work that is constantly updated : OED
Work started on what was to become the first “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) in 1857. Several interim versions of the dictionary were published in the coming years with the first full version appearing, in ten bound volumes, in 1928. The second edition of the OED appeared in 1989 and is made up of twenty volumes. The OED was first published in electronic form in 1988 and went online in 2000. Given the modern use of computers, the publishing house responsible feels that there will never be a third print version of the famous dictionary.
67. Blackthorn fruit : SLOE
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.
68. Org. certifying albums as gold or platinum : RIAA
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certifies an album or single as “diamond” if it sells 10 million copies or more.
70. Massachusetts’ Cape ___ : ANN
Cape Ann is 30 miles north of Boston and is on the northernmost edge of Massachusetts Bay. The Cape was first mapped by the explorer John Smith. Early in his adventurous life Smith had been captured and enslaved by the Ottoman Empire. His “owner” in his days of slavery was a woman called Tragabigzanda, and apparently the slave and owner fell in love. Smith originally called Cape Tragabigzanda in her memory, but King Charles I changed the name to Cape Ann in honor of his own mother, Anne of Denmark.
71. Philosopher Immanuel : KANT
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!
1. Otis’s feline pal : MILO
“The Adventures of Milo and Otis” is a movie about and orange tabby cat named Milo, and a fawn-colored pug named Otis. The film was originally released in Japanese in 1986, and was revamped for English audiences in a version released in 1989.
4. “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” author : STEIN
Gertrude Stein was a great American writer who spent most of her life in France. Gertrude Stein met Alice B. Toklas in Paris in 1907 and the two were life partners until Stein died in 1946. Cleverly, Stein published her own memoirs in 1933 but called the book “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”. It was to become her best selling title.
5. Golden ratio symbol : PHI
The golden ratio, sometimes called the “golden mean” and denoted by the Greek letter phi, is a mathematical constant that often turns up in the world of art. Phi is approximately equal to 1.61, and is represented by the two distances, a and b, where (a+b)/a = a/b. Somehow we perceive the ratio of 1.61 as “pleasing” so it appears in many works of art and in building design. For example, many aspects of the Parthenon in Athens have the ratio of 1.61 (width compared to height). Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man also illustrates the golden ratio in the proportions of the human body, where he shows that the distance from the foot to the navel, compared to the distance from the navel to the head, is 1.61.
7. It provides more loft than a 9-iron : WEDGE
Those would be golf clubs.
8. Name in “A Christmas Carol” : EBENEZER
The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.
9. French vineyard : CRU
“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below
11. “Skyfall” singer, 2012 : ADELE
I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion. And, Adele’s rendition of the title song is an added plus …
12. Robert Byrd served nearly nine of these in the Senate : TERMS
Democratic Senator Robert Byrd passed away in June, 2010. He was the US Senator from West Virginia. Byrd was elected to office in 1959 and retained his seat until his death. Senator Byrd was the longest-serving member in the history of the United States Congress, having served for 51 years.
24. McDonald’s founder Ray : KROC
The original McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant. The brothers then moved into fast food hamburgers, eventually selling out to one of their franchise agents, Ray Kroc. It was Ray Kroc who really led the company to its worldwide success. He was played by Michael Keaton in the movie about Ray Kroc’s business life called “The Founder”.
25. State flower of New Hampshire : LILAC
The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family.
The US state of New Hampshire takes its name from the former British colony known as the Province of New Hampshire, In turn, the colony was named for the English county of Hampshire by Captain John Mason, who was the first proprietor of the Province of New Hampshire.
29. Paper purchase : REAM
A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper has been called a “short ream”. We also use the term “reams” to mean a great amount, evolving from the idea of a lot of printed material.
31. Genetic 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.
33. Volkswagen competitor : OPEL
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.
38. XXX divided by X : III
In Roman numerals, XXX (30) divided by X (10) is II (3).
41. Fizzy citrus beverage : ORANGINA
Orangina is a citrus drink that originated in France and is very popular in Europe. Despite the name, Orangina contains a lot more than just orange juice, including juice from lemons, mandarins and grapefruit.
47. Poet Whitman : WALT
Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the greatest American poets. He was born in 1819 on Long Island, and lived through the American Civil War. Whitman was a controversial character, even during his own lifetime. One view held by him was that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were not actually written by Shakespeare, but rather by someone else, or perhaps a group of people.
50. ___-totsy : HOTSY
“Hotsy-totsy” is a slang term that means “perfect”.
51. Zubin formerly of the New York Philharmonic : MEHTA
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music, from Mumbai. Mehta studied music in Vienna, where he made his conducting debut in 1958. In 1961 he was named assistant director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a fuss with the music director designate of the orchestra, Georg Solti. Solti resigned as a protest, and Mehta took his job. In 1978 Mehta took over as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, eventually becoming the longest holder of that position.
56. Ancient region where the style of an architectural column originated : IONIA
The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.
57. Justice who joined the bench in 2010 : KAGAN
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …
61. Aspiring D.A.’s exam : LSAT
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)