1. Toy gun shot : BBS
A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle, that shoots ammunition known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.080″ in diameter) to size FF (.23″). 0.180″ diameter birdshot is size BB, which gives its name to the air gun.
4. Machine that was often cloned : IBM PC
In the early days of desktop computing, an IBM clone (also a “PC clone”) was a computer built by an IBM competitor that was designed to function just like an IBM, but without using any copyrighted material or trade secrets that were the intellectual property of IBM. Clones were always a competitive issue for IBM, and perhaps were part of the reason that IBM doesn’t make desktop computers today …
13. “Don’t Bring Me Down” band, for short : ELO
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. Their manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).
“Don’t Bring Me Down” was the biggest hit ELO had in the US, and was dedicated to the NASA’s Skylab which reentered the earth’s orbit in the same year the song was released, 1979.
14. It may be “golden” in mathematics : RATIO
The golden ratio, 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 Manalso 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.
15. Kind of shark : MAKO
The shortfin mako shark can appear on restaurant menus, and as a result the species is dying out in some parts of the world. The mako gets its own back sometimes though, and attacks on humans are not unknown. And the shark in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, that’s a mako.
16. Where a cowpuncher may work : DUDE RANCH
In the late 1800s, city folk in the Eastern US with the romantic notion of the American West created a market for “guest ranches”, working ranches that catered for paying guests. Such a guest from back East might be called a “tenderfoot” or a “greenhorn”, and the hospitable ranches became known as “dude ranches”. To westerners, a “dude” was a well-dressed male, who had never lived outside of the city.
19. School attended by James Bond … and Ian Fleming : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders, including David Cameron who took power in the recent UK general election. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming.
20. Big bears : KODIAKS
Brown bears are found over much of northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The biggest subspecies of brown bear is the Kodiak Bear, the largest land-based predator in the world. The Kodiak grows to about the same size as the enormous polar bear.
22. Drink made with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream : WHITE RUSSIAN
A White Russian is a cocktail made from vodka, Kahlua or Tia Maria, and cream, served in an old-fashioned glass with ice. The White Russian is similar to a Black Russian, which is the same drink without the cream. Both cocktails are called “Russian” as they are based on vodka, and both have been around since the late forties, with no one seeming to know which drink came first.
26. Equipment for Olympian Lindsey Vonn : SKIS
Lindsey Vonn is an alpine ski racer who is famous as the first American woman to win the Olympic downhill event, which she did in 2010 in Vancouver. Vonn won a skiing competition in France a few years back, and as a publicity stunt the prize check was written on the side of a cow. Vonn insisted that she be given the cow as the prize, and gave up the actual cash itself. The cow, now called Olympe, lives near her winter training base in Austria.
27. Aunts, in Arles : TANTES
I had the privilege to live a short car ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although it has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a tremendous influence over the cities design. It has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place that Vincent van Gogh often visited, and where he painted his famous “Cafe Terrace at Night”, as well as “Bedroom in Arles”.
30. “Exodus” hero : ARI
“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris, first published in 1947. The book was incredibly well received by the public, and is the second biggest best seller in the US, after “Gone with the Wind”. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.
35. “Arrivederci” : CIAO
“Ciao”, the Italian for “bye-bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.
36. “Sorry if that rude word offended you” : PARDON MY FRENCH
We’ve been using “pardon my French” to excuse obscene language since the end of the 19th century.
40. Double-reed woodwind : OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance, you’ll note (pun intended!) the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. Everyone tunes in turn to that oboe’s “A”. Oh, and if you want to read a fun book (almost an “expose”) about life playing the oboe, you might try “Mozart in the Jungle” by oboist Blair Tindall.
41. Prefix with -morphism : ENDO
Animals, including humans, tend to be classified into three body types:
– Ectomorphic (“slim”)
– Mesomorphic (“muscular”)
– Endomorphic (“fat” … that would be me …)
46. Quatre + un : CINQ
In French, four (quatre) and one (un) adds up to five (cinq).
48. Play whence the phrase “the most unkindest cut of all” : JULIUS CAESAR
In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Marc Antony refers to the “the most unkindest cut of all”, the stabbing of his friend, Julius Caesar.
53. Group for young people coping with parental substance abuse : ALATEEN
Alateen is part of Al-Anon, a support group formed to help people enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous . Alateen is a 12-step program of recovery for young people who are affected by someone else’s drinking.
55. “Othello” villain : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. Iago is a soldier who fought alongside Othello, and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. His rival is Cassio, and Iago hatches a plot to discredit him, which creates mayhem, jealousy and violence, before Iago is finally exposed for his true character.
56. Green fruit : KIWI
What we call kiwifruit today used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.
57. What the last words in 16-, 22-, 36- and 48-Across are : DRESSINGS
61. ___ fixe : IDEE
An idee fixe (a French term) is basically a fixed idea, an obsession.
62. “Fiddler on the Roof” milkman : TEVYE
Tevye is the central character in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”, a wonderful piece of theater. When the show opened on Broadway in 1964, it received a great reception and became the first musical in history to rack up over 3,000 performances.
65. Pictures that may be difficult to focus on : OP ART
Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.
66. Word repeated in a classic “When Harry Met Sally …” scene : YES
Perhaps the most memorable scene in the wonderful film “When Harry Met Sally” is set in a Manhattan deli. Sally (Meg Ryan) claims that men cannot recognize when a woman is faking an orgasm. Harry (Billy Crystal) disagrees, so Sally proves her point over her sandwich, screaming out a lot of “yeses!” Director Rob Reiner tells a story about a test screening of the movie that he attended. He recalls that all the women in the audience were rolling around the aisles, while the men weren’t even cracking a smile …
1. Moisten, as grass : BEDEW
“To bedew” is to wet something, as if covering it in dew.
2. Animator Don : BLUTH
Don Bluth developed his skills as an animator in the Walt Disney Company. He left Disney in 1979 to direct and produce his own animated films. One of his first films was 1982’s “The Secret of NIMH”. He also collaborated with Steven Spielberg in creating “An American Tail” (1986) and “The Land Before Time” (1988),
4. Like the verb “to be”: Abbr. : IRR
“To be” is an irregular verb.
10. Quentin who directed “Inglourious Basterds” : TARANTINO
I tried hard to enjoy the 2009 movie “Inglourious Basterds”, but I find the violence in a Quentin Tarantino film so very hard to take. However, it got good reviews, so maybe you shouldn’t let me put you off.
17. Sinusitis docs : ENTS
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, usually due to a viral infection. It might be treated by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.
21. 1/7 of a Spanish week : DIA
In Spanish “dia” is a “day”, and “semana” is a “week”.
23. Kitchen utensil brand name : EKCO
The EKCO name dates back to 1888 when Edward Katzinger founded his company in Chicago, to make baking pans (Edward Katzinger CO.).
25. 1972 #2 hit for Bill Withers : USE ME
Bill Withers was working as a assembly operator while he was trying to make a name for himself in the music industry. Even as he found success with his glorious 1971 single “Ain’t No Sunshine”, he held on to his day job, worried that the music industry was unpredictable.
29. Greenwich Village neighbor : SOHO
TriBeCa is a clever little acronym that expands into “TRI-angle BE-low CA-nal Street. The name was developed by local residents who basically copied the technique used by residents of the neighboring area of SoHo, which is short for SO-uth of HO-uston Street.
31. “Streamers” playwright David : RABE
David Rabe is an American playwright, a veteran of Vietnam. He is the author a Vietnam War Trilogy of plays:
– “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel”
– “Sticks and Bones”
– ” Streamers”
38. Bank guarantor, for short : FDIC
During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Banking Act of 1933. The legislation established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, intended to be a temporary government corporation that provided insurance on deposits made by customers of qualified financial institutions. The first accounts to be covered, in 1934, had an insurance limit of $2,500. Since the financial crisis of 2008, that limit is $250,000.
39. “Five Women” author Jaffe : RONA
Rona Jaffe was an American novelist perhaps most famous for two of her books, “The Best of Everything” and “Mazes and Monsters”. “The Best of Everything” was published in 1958 and has been compared with the HBO television series “Sex and the City” as it depicts women in the working world. “Mazes and Monsters” was published in 1981 and explores a role-playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons and the impact it has on players.
45. Told fibs : LIED TO
To “fib” is to “to tell a lie”. It likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, itself derived from “fable”.
47. British monarch beginning in ’52 : QEII
Princess Elizabeth became queen in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her, that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. At almost 59 years, Queen Elizabeth’s reign is currently the third longest in the history of the UK. She is closing in on the record of Queen Victoria who reigned longest, for almost 64 years.
49. Overseas diplomat in N.Y.C., say : UNREP
Most representatives at the United Nations are overseas diplomats.
50. Little Orphan Annie’s dog : SANDY
“Little Orphan Annie” is a comic strip created in 1924 by Harold Gray. The title was taken from a poem written in 1885 by James Whitcomb Riley called “Little Orphant Annie” (and yes, that spelling “orphant” is correct). Strangely enough, the original name of the poem was “Little Orphant Allie”, changed forever at its third printing, purely because of a typesetter’s error!
51. Texas A&M athlete : AGGIE
Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public higher education institute when it accepted its first students in 1876.
52. Rock’s Guns N’ ___ : ROSES
Guns N’ Roses is a hard rock band founded in 1985 and still going strong. The group was pulled together by Axl Rose, the lead vocalist. The lead guitar back then was Tracii Guns, and it was the combination of Axl and Tracii’s “family” names that led to the band being called Guns N’ Roses.
54. Beach resort at the entrance to the Lagoon of Venice : LIDO
The Lido de Venezia is a famous sandbar, about 11 km long, in Venice, Italy. It may be a sandbar, but it is home to about 20,000 residents, as well as the Venice Film Festival that takes place there every September. The Lido is also the setting for Thomas Mann’s famous novel “Death in Venice”.
59. Six-Day War land: Abbr. : SYR
The Six-Day War took place from June 5-10, 1967, and was fought between Israel and its neighbors Egypt, Jordan and Syria. By the time the ceasefire was signed, Israel had seized huge swaths of land formerly controlled by Arab states, namely the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Golan Heights. The overall territory of Israel grew by a factor of three in just six days.
60. Word with the longest entry in the O.E.D. : SET
The “Oxford English Dictionary” contains over 300,000 “main” entries, and 59 million words in total. It is said it would take a single person 120 years to type it out in full. The longest word in the OED for the second edition was the verb “set”. When the third edition was published in 2007, the longest entry for a single word became the verb “put”.