Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Double-digit figure? : PEACE SIGN
One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V for victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.
15. Spider producer : ALFA ROMEO
The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.
The Spider is a roadster that was manufactured by the Italian auto company, Alfa Romeo. It was in production from 1966 to 1993, and is considered a design classic.
19. Colosseum greeting : AVE
“Ave” is a Latin word meaning “hail” as in “Ave Maria”, which translates as “Hail Mary”. “Ave” can also be used to mean “goodbye”.
The Colosseum of Rome was the largest amphitheater in the whole of the Roman Empire in its day, and could seat about 50,000 people. The structure was originally called the “Amphitheatrum Flavium” but the name changed to “Colosseum” after a colossal statue of Emperor Nero was located nearby.
20. National beverage of 10-Across : SAKE
(10A. See 20-Across : JAPAN)
We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.
22. Apple field : TECH
Apple Computers was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The company incorporated the following year, but without Wayne. He sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak, for $800 …
26. Silent dramatic performance, to Brits : PANTO
I find this clue to be a bit confusing. It is indeed true that British people often shorten the word “pantomime” to “panto”. It’s also true that the term “pantomime” is used outside of the Britain to describe a mime performance. The confusing truth is that “pantomime” and “panto” in Britain describe a form of musical entertainment that is far from silent.
31. Bit of Disneyana : CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.
An ana (plural “anas”) is a collection, perhaps of literature, that represents the character of a particular place or a person. Ana can be used as a noun or as a suffix (e.g. Americana).
41. Actress Ortiz : ANA
Ana Ortiz played the title character’s older sister in the TV series “Ugly Betty”.
45. Unembellished type : SANS-SERIF
Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …
48. Skip the lines, say : AD LIB
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar.
52. On-line jerks? : BITES
That would be fishing.
55. 0, for 0 degrees : SINE
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”
56. Toward el sol naciente : ESTE
In Spanish, we look to the “este” (east) to see “el sol naciente” (the rising sun).
59. Title for Queen Isabella: Abbr. : SRA
The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).
Queen Isabella I of Castile was recognized as a formidable sovereign, and was perceived as a joint ruler with her husband, King Ferdinand II of Aragon. The pair united their two kingdoms in a move that heralded the unification of Spain.
60. Mushroom added to udon soup : ENOKI
Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.
Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisine like tempura.
62. Expert on the drums? : EAR DOCTOR
The eardrum lies at the intersection of the outer ear and middle ear. Also called the tympanic membrane, the eardrum picks up vibrations in air caused by sound waves, and transmits these vibrations to the three tiny bones called the ossicles. These ossicles (hammer, anvil and stirrup) are in the middle ear, and transmit the vibration to the oval window. The oval window is the membrane-covered opening lying at the intersection of the middle ear and the inner ear. The vibrations are transmitted into fluid in the inner ear, and converted into nerve impulses in the cochlea that are transmitted to the brain.
64. Third-longest river in Africa : NIGER
The principal river in western Africa is the Niger, which runs 2,600 miles through the continent. The river has a boomerang shape, taking a sharp turn around the the ancient city of Timbuktu in Mali.
67. 1966 album ranked #2 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” : PET SOUNDS
“Pet Sounds” is a 1966 album recorded by the Beach Boys.
1. It’s a matter of taste : PALATE
The roof of the mouth is known as the palate. The anterior part of the palate is very bony, and is called the hard palate. The posterior part is very fleshy and is called the soft palate. The soft palate is muscular and moves to close off the nasal passages while swallowing.
2. Number of sides on a loonie : ELEVEN
The great northern loon is the provincial bird of Ontario, and the state bird of Minnesota. The loon once appeared on Canadian $20 bills and also appears on the Canadian one-dollar coin, giving the coin the nickname “the loonie”.
4. Monopoly token since 2013 : CAT
There are eight tokens included in the game of Monopoly as of 2013. These are the wheelbarrow, battleship, race car, thimble, boot, Scottie dog, top hat and cat. The latest to be introduced was the cat in 2013, replacing the iron. The battleship and the cannon (aka howitzer, now retired) had been added to the Monopoly game as part of a recycling exercise. The pieces were intended for the game “Conflict” released in 1940, but when Parker Bros. pulled “Conflict” off the market due to poor sales, they added their excess battleships and cannons to Monopoly.
6. Kind of cell : SOLAR
Solar panels are arrays of solar cells that make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.
9. San Francisco’s ___ Valley : NOE
Noe Valley is a neighborhood in San Francisco. The area is named after José de Jesús Noé who was the last Mexican mayor of Yerba Buena, which is what San Francisco was called when it was part of Mexico.
10. Good name for a personal trainer? : JIM
“Gym” sounds like “Jim”.
Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed.
11. Winter coat : ANORAK
Anoraks aren’t very popular over here in America. Everyone has one in Ireland! An anorak is a heavy jacket with a hood, often lined with fur (or fake fur), and is an invention of the Inuit people.
12. Yearly : PER ANNUM
The Latin word for year is “annus”. We often see it used in Latin phrases, but usually with a different spelling. For example in “anno Domini”, the “anno” is the ablative case of “annus” as the phrase means “in the year of the Lord”. Another example is “per annum”, in which “annum” is the accusative case as the literal translation of the phrase is “during the year”.
26. Party animal? : PINATA
Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.
30. Dance with strong percussion : HULA
The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).
36. Who wrote “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are” : ANAIS NIN
Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for her journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.
38. Enemy captain in 2009’s “Star Trek” film : NERO
Eric Bana is an Australian actor who enjoyed a successful career in his home country before breaking into Hollywood playing an American Delta Force sergeant in “Black Hawk Down”. A couple of years later he played the lead in Ang Lee’s 2003 movie “Hulk”, the role of Dr Bruce Banner. More recently he played the Romulan villain Nero, in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie.
43. Collection of favorites, of a sort : MIXTAPE
Even though “tapes” are no longer used, the term “mixtape” still describes any homemade collection of musical tracks. The less retro term for the same thing might be “playlist”.
46. Position in Quidditch : SEEKER
Quidditch is a game that is famously played in the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. The game is contended by two teams of seven wizards or witches flying on broomsticks. The are four animated balls and six ring-shaped goals floating in mid-air. One of the balls is the Golden Snitch, and one of the players is the Seeker. It is the Seeker’s sole purpose to capture the Golden Snitch and thereby end the game.
62. Picking things up? : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)
63. Word on une bouteille de vin : CRU
In French, one might see the word “cru” on “une bouteille de vin” (a bottle of wine).
“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