Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s themed answers includes the hidden word TOOTH. There’s a gap in those TEETH (a black square, a space between words). A gap in teeth is known as a DIASTEMA:
- 52A. Formal term for the gap suggested by 17/18-, 35/37- and 54/57-Across : DIASTEMA
- 17A. With 18-Across, what a boastful guy might do :
TOOT HIS OWN HORN (hiding “TOOT-H”)
- 35A. With 37-Across, start of an ethical rule : DO UNTO OTHERS (hiding “TOO-TH”)
- 54A. With 57-Across, overextended : SPREAD TOO THIN (hiding “TOO-TH”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
16. Sal’s canal, in song : ERIE
17. With 18-Across, what a boastful guy might do : TOOT HIS OWN HORN (hiding “TOOT-H”)
The song “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” was written in 1905. The lyrics are nostalgic and look back to the days when traffic on the canal was pulled by mules, bemoaning the introduction of the fast-moving engine-powered barges. The first line is “I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal”.
25. Save for later : CACHE
A cache is a secret supply. We imported the term into English from French Canadian trappers in the 17th century. Back then, “cache” was a slang term for a “hiding place for stores”, derived from the French verb “cacher” meaning “to hide”.
26. What comes before a clue? : GET
Get a clue!
27. ___ NFL (video game franchise) : MADDEN
Retired sportscaster John Madden is a former NFL footballer and Super Bowl-winning coach. Famously, Madden has a fear of flying and so he travels around the country on “the Madden Cruiser”, a customized coach that he started using in 1987. Madden actually lives about a mile from me and we used to see the Madden Cruiser filling up with provisions at our grocery store all the time. Even though he is afraid to fly, John’s wife Virginia actually has her private pilot’s license.
30. Antarctica’s ___ Ice Shelf : ROSS
The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest such structure in Antarctica, and is about the size of the country of France. The shelf is named after the person who discovered it in 1841, Captain Sir James Clark Ross.
33. Dr. of verse : SEUSS
“Dr. Seuss” was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel first used the pen name while studying at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford. Back then, he pronounced “Seuss” as it would be in German, i.e. rhyming with “voice”. After his books found success in the US, he went with the pronunciation being used widely by the public, quite happy to have a name that rhymed with “Mother Goose”.
35. With 37-Across, start of an ethical rule : DO UNTO OTHERS (hiding “TOO-TH”)
The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity, and is a basis for the concept of human rights. A version of the rule used in the Christian tradition is attributed to Jesus:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
40. Prop for Gandalf : STAFF
Gandalf is an important character in the J. R. R. Tolkien novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He is a wizard known as Gandalf the Grey during his life, and as Gandalf the White after he returns from the dead.
42. “Grease” high school : RYDELL
“Grease” was, and still is, a very successful stage musical with a blockbuster film version released in 1978. The movie stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Travolta wasn’t the first choice for the lead role. It was first offered to Henry Winkler of “Happy Days” fame in which he played “the Fonz”. Winkler turned down the role for fear of being typecast as a leather-clad fifties “hood”.
47. Singer Nicks : STEVIE
Singer Stevie Nicks came to fame as the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac. Nicks has a very distinctive voice, heard at its best (I think) on the famous 1977 album “Rumours”.
58. Tiny treasures from the sea : SEED PEARLS
Pearls form in oysters because of a reaction that is similar to an immune system response in higher animals. The pearl is formed as the oysters lays down successive layers of calcium carbonate around some microscopic foreign body that has penetrated the shell.
60. Dots in la mer : ILES
In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “la mer” (the sea).
62. Language of the Lahore Post : URDU
Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.
Lahore is a large city in Pakistan, that is second in size only to Karachi. It is known as the Garden of the Mughals (or in English, Moguls) because of its association with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals ruled much of India from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
4. Fills : SATES
“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.
5. German cry : ACH!
The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”
6. Put in one’s two cents, with “in” : CHIMED
“To put in one’s two cents” is to add one’s opinion. The American expression derives from the older English version, which is “to put in one’s two pennies’ worth”.
8. University near Greensboro : ELON
Elon is a city in the Piedmont region of North Carolina located close to the city of Burlington. Elon University is a private liberal arts school founded in 1889.
The North Carolina city of Greensboro was founded in 1808 as Greensborough, with the spelling changing in 1895. The city was named for Major General Nathanael Greene who commanded the defeated American forces at the Battle of Guilford Court House during the Revolutionary War. Although technically a defeat, Greene’s forces inflicted such heavy casualties on the British Army, led by Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis, that the outcome was a strategic victory for the Americans.
10. Jesse who pitched in a record 1,252 major-league games : OROSCO
Jesse Orosco is a former baseball pitcher who played for several teams including the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Orosco had a long playing career, retiring when he was 46 years old. Partly because of that long career, he holds the major league record for career pitching performances: 1,252 games.
15. Cause for a suspension, in brief : DWI
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.
19. Giants’ grp. : NFC
National Football Conference (NFC)
21. Early TV network competing with NBC, ABC and CBS : DUMONT
The DuMont Television Network started broadcasting in the US in 1946, only a few years after NBC and CBS went on the air. DuMont only lasted for ten years, having struggled to make money from day one. One of the network’s most famous shows was “Cavalcade of Stars”, which was the precursor of “The Jackie Gleason Show”.
23. Most movie explosions these days, for short : CGI
Computer-generated imagery (CGI)
24. Some Jamaicans, informally : RASTAS
I must admit that I don’t really know much about Rastafarianism. I do know that a “Rasta”, like Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.
28. Job listing abbr. : EEO
“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.
29. Burrowing South American rodent : NUTRIA
The river rat, also known as the coypu or nutria, is a native of South America, although is now found all over the word as an invasive species. The river rat was introduced into locations outside of South America by ranchers who farmed them for their fur.
38. Rising notes? : REVEILLE
“Reveille” is a trumpet call that is used to wake everyone up at sunrise. The term comes from “réveillé”, the French for “wake up”.
41. Gangsters’ wear, in old movies : FEDORAS
A fedora is a lovely hat, I think. It is made of felt, and is similar to a trilby, but has a broader brim. “Fedora” was a play written for Sarah Bernhardt and first performed in 1889. Bernhardt had the title role of Princess Fedora, and on stage she wore a hat similar to a modern-day fedora. The play led to the women’s fashion accessory, the fedora hat, commonly worn by women into the beginning of the twentieth century. Men then started wearing fedoras, but only when women gave up the fashion …
44. Centaur who was killed by Hercules : NESSUS
The centaur is a creature from Greek mythology. It is a creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse.
“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles. The first of these labors was to slay the Nemean Lion, a monster that lived in a cave near Nemea. Hercules had a tough job as the lion’s golden fur was impenetrable to normal weapons. One version of the story is that Hercules killed the lion by shooting an arrow into its mouth. Another version says that Hercules stunned the monster with a club and then strangled him with his bare hands.
48. Quintet instrument : VIOLIN
A standard string quartet is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. A string quintet consists of a standard string quartet with the addition of a fifth instrument, usually a second viola or cello.
53. Dickens’s Fagin, e.g. : THIEF
Fagin is the colorful antagonist in the Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist”. Fagin leads a band of children who earn their keep by picking pockets and committing other petty crimes. Fagin’s most successful pickpocket is the Artful Dodger.
55. Paris’s Pont ___ Arts : DES
The Pont des Arts is a footbridge crossing the River Seine in Paris. It is named for the nearby Palais de Louvre, which used to be known as the Palais des Arts. In recent years, tourists have attaching “love locks” to the railing on the side of the bridge. These are padlocks engraved with the names of a couple who are in love. The pair attach the lock to the railing and then throw the key into the Seine as a romantic gesture.
59. Above capacity, for short : SRO
Standing room only (SRO)