Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame designer : IM PEI
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can be visited on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1983 and started inducting artists in 1986. The Foundation didn’t get a home until the museum was dedicated in Cleveland in 1995. I had the great privilege of visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame relatively recently, and really enjoyed myself. The magnificent building was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei.
6. “Philomena” co-star, 2013 : DENCH
Dame Judi Dench is an outstanding English actress who has appeared for decades in her home country on stage and screen. Dench’s film career took off in the nineties with a relatively trivial role as “M” in the James Bond series of films. Since then she has played leading roles in several excellent movies including “Shakespeare in Love”, “Mrs. Brown”, “Notes on a Scandal” and “Philomena”.
“Philomena” is a very moving 2013 film that tells the true story of Irishwoman Philomena Lee, and her search for her son who was taken from her at birth. The film is based on journalist Martin Sixsmith’s book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee”. Sixsmith is played in the movie by English actor and comedian Steve Coogan, and Philomena is played by the marvelous Judi Dench. Highly recommended …
14. Beat, in a way : MATED
In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.
15. First name in aviation : ENOLA
The Enola Gay was the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in August 1945. Enola Gay was the name of the mother of pilot Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.
16. What’s big in Texas? : TEE
There’s a big capital letter T (tee) at the beginning of the word “Texas”.
17. Canadian crooner Michael : BUBLE
Michael Bublé is a singer from Burnaby in British Columbia. He is of Italian descent on his father’s side. Bublé has held dual Italian-Canadian citizenship since 2005.
20. “Por ___ Cabeza” (tango song) : UNA
The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.
25. Royal son of the comics : ARN
In the comic strip, Arn is the eldest son of Prince Valiant and Aleta is his wife. Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called the “Prince Valiant” comic strip the “greatest contribution to English Literature in the past one hundred years”. I’m not so sure …
31. Alfredo sauce brand : RAGU
The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …
Alfredo sauce is usually associated with the Italian dish called fettuccine Alfredo. The sauce is made from Parmesan cheese and butter, and is named for the Italian restaurant owner Alfredo Di Lelio. Di Lelio’s nephews still own and run a restaurant in Rome called “Il Vero Alfredo”. Here in the US, we often add other ingredients to the basic cheese and butter recipe. The name “fettuccine Alfredo” won’t be found on a menu in Italy today, and instead one can order “fettuccine al burro”.
35. School of whales : GAM
A group of whales can be called a “gam” as well as a “pod”.
36. Snap, with “out” : WIG
The idea behind the expression “to wig out”, meaning “to go crazy”, is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might “lift your hair/wig”.
37. Tolstoy’s first name, in Russia : LEV
The Russian author Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. He also wrote the much-respected novellas “Hadji Murad” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”.
42. Reggie, to Archie, in Archie Comics : FRENEMY
A frenemy is someone who feigns friendship but who is actually an enemy or competitor.
Archie Andrews was the main character in a comic book series introduced in 1941 by Archie Comics. Archie was such a successful character that he went on to appear in a radio series, a syndicated comic strip and two television cartoon shows. Famously, Archie got himself in a love triangle with Betty Cooper, the girl next door, and Veronica Lodge, the only child of the richest man in town.
44. Greeting in Victoria : G’DAY
Victoria is the most densely populated state in Australia, with most inhabitants living in the state capital of Melbourne. Just like the Australian state of Queensland, Victoria was named for Queen Victoria, the British monarch at the time the state was founded.
51. Richard Gere title role : DR T
The 2000 movie “Dr. T & the Women” is a pretty good film, starring Richard Gere in the title role. There can’t be many romantic comedies about gynecologists …
Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.
52. Leave in : STET
“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.
53. 1979 film whose name comes from a “Chicago” song : ALL THAT JAZZ
“All That Jazz” is a song from the 1975 musical “Chicago”, which was choreographed by the great Bob Fosse. “All That Jazz” was later used as the title for a 1979 film directed by Fosse that features a main character who is a theater director and choreographer, and who greatly resembles Fosse himself.
57. ___-Magnon : CRO
Remains of early man, dating back to 35,000 years ago, were found in Abri de Cro-Magnon in southwest France, giving the name to those early humans. Cro-Magnon remains are the oldest human relics that have been discovered in Europe.
61. Business card abbr. : STE
62. Widen, as jeans legs : FLARE
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.
64. Fine-grained wood : YEW
The family of trees known as yews propagate by producing a seed surrounded by soft, sweet and brightly colored aril. Birds eat the fruit and then disperse the seed in their droppings. The birds leave the seed undamaged, and so are unharmed by the potent poisons taxine and taxol that are found within the seed. The seeds are highly toxic to humans.
66. Celsius, for one : SWEDE
Anders Celsius was a Swedish astronomer. The temperature scale that Celsius created was the reverse of that used today, with “zero” representing the boiling point of water and “100” representing water’s freezing point. This scale was “upended” (in 1744) just after Celsius died, by the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus. The resulting temperature scale then became known as the centigrade scale for over 200 years, until in 1948 it was decided to adopt the “degree Celsius”. So, anyone still using “degrees centigrade” is actually way behind the times …
2. The world’s tallest mountain, base to peak : MAUNA 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.
3. Who said “Without promotion, something terrible happens … nothing!” : PT BARNUM
Phineas Taylor “PT” Barnum was one of the great American showmen, famous for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. By some measures, Barnum was the first ever “show business” millionaire. Beyond the world of entertainment, Barnum was also a politician for a while and served two terms in the Connecticut legislature, and was mayor of the city of Bridgeport. Barnum was a very successful author as well. One of his most famous books was “The Humbugs of the World”, an exposé of deceptions in the world of entertainment. He was a believer in illusions, providing they gave value for money in terms of entertainment. However, Barnum had an intense dislike of fraudulent deception and came down hard on spiritualist mediums in particular.
4. Dragon roll ingredient : EEL
A dragon roll is a sushi dish made from eel, cucumber, seaweed, rice and avocado. I am sure it’s delicious … without the eel!
5. Latin word in a footnote : IDEM
“Idem” is usually abbreviated as “id.” and is the Latin word for “the same”. In research papers, “idem” is used in a list of references, in place of citations “already mentioned above”.
6. Look-alike : DEAD RINGER
A “ringer” was originally a fast horse that was substituted surreptitiously into a race for a slower one. The term was derived from the verb “to ring in”, meaning to substitute. We use the phrase “dead ringer” to describe an exact duplicate.
8. Bygone Chevy model : NOVA
The Chevrolet Nova was produced by General Motors from 1962 to 1979, and from 1985 to 1988. I owned one of those 1985-1988 Novas many years ago. Those latter models were actually Toyota Sprinters that were assembled just down the road here in Fremont, California in a GM/Toyota joint venture.
9. Pitch setter : CLEF
“Clef” is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on the stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, the alto clef is the C-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.
10. Dirty cop? : HARRY
“Dirty” Harry Callahan was the protagonist in a series of five movies starring Clint Eastwood:
- “Dirty Harry” (1971)
- “Magnum Force” (1973)
- “The Enforcer” (1976)
- “Sudden Impact” (1983)
- “The Dead Pool” (1988)
11. Paragraph analogue : STANZA
“Stanza” is an Italian word meaning “verse of a poem”.
12. Saul Bellow novel : HERZOG
Saul Bellow was the only writer to have won the National Book Award three times. He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. Bellow was a Canadian-born American writer, and among his most famous works were “Herzog” and “Humboldt’s Gift”.
19. Retail giant since 1886 : SEARS
Richard Sears was a station agent on the railroad. In the late 1800s, he bought up a shipment of unwanted watches that was left at his depot and sold the watches to other agents up and down the line. He was so successful that he ordered more watches and then came up with the idea of using a catalog to promote more sales. The catalog idea caught on, and his success allowed Sears to open retail locations in 1925. By the mid 1900s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the whole country.
28. Basic beverage, in baby talk : WAWA
A tot drinks “wawa” (water), perhaps out of a sippy cup.
30. Posh hotel, familiarly : THE RITZ
César Ritz was a Swiss hotelier, who had a reputation for developing the most luxurious of accommodations and attracting the wealthiest clientèle. He opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1898 and the second of his most famous hotels, the Ritz Hotel in London, in 1906. Ritz was lucky in his career, as before starting his own hotel chain he had been dismissed from the Savoy Hotel in London, implicated in the disappearance of a substantial amount of wine and spirits. Today’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company was founded in 1983, although the chain has its roots in the properties developed by César Ritz.
34. Bygone Chevy model : AVEO
The Chevrolet Aveo is a subcompact automobile that has been around since 2002. The Aveo is manufactured by GM Daewoo, the GM subsidiary in South Korea. Although the Aveo name is still used in some markets, here in North America the Aveo has been sold as the Chevrolet Sonic since 2012. By the way, GM Daewoo is the third largest manufacturer of automobiles in South Korea, after Hyundai and Kia.
41. Peter Fonda’s role in “Easy Rider” : WYATT
“Easy Rider” is a 1969 movie about two bikers traversing the American Southwest and the South. The bikers are famously played by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Fonda produced the film and Hopper directed.
43. Some college Greeks : NUS
The Latin equivalent of the Greek letter “nu” is “N”. An uppercase nu looks just like the Latin capital N, however, the lowercase nu looks like our lowercase “v”. Very confusing …
48. Beseech : ADJURE
Our word “adjure” comes from the Latin “adjurare”, meaning “to swear to”. We use to the term “adjuration” to mean an earnest entreaty or plea.
54. Org. fighting anti-Muslim discrimination : 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”.
60. With 38-Across, pasta shape : BOW …
(38A. See 60-Down : … TIE)
“Farfalle” is commonly referred to as “bow-tie pasta” because of its shape. The name comes from the Italian “farfalla” meaning “butterfly”.