Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of the themed answers in this MONDAY puzzle is a common dish that has been made MEATLESS:
- 51A. Weekly occurrence when 20-, 31- and 38-Across might be consumed : MEATLESS MONDAY
- 20A. Meal option #1 : MUSHROOM BURGER
- 31A. Meal option #2 : SPINACH LASAGNA
- 38A. Meal option #3 : BLACK BEAN CHILI
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
5. Torso muscles, briefly : PECS
“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.
“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.
9. Turn into a pretzel : TWIST
Pretzels originated in Europe and are especially popular in Southern Germany where a pretzel is known as “Brezel”. Pretzels were introduced into the US in the 1800s by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland who came to be known over here as the Pennsylvania Dutch.
14. ___ palm (tree with a healthful berry) : ACAI
Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.
16. Italian scooter brand : VESPA
Vespa is a brand of motor scooter originally made in Italy (and now all over the world) by Piaggio. “Vespa” is Italian for “wasp”.
17. Thrifty or Budget offering : RENTAL CAR
Thrifty Car Rental was founded back in 1958. Thrifty became part of Chrysler in 1989 and was merged by Chrysler with Dollar Rent A Car the following year.
The Budget Rent a Car company started out in 1958 with the intent of undercutting the existing price of renting a car at airports. Budget was founded by Morris Mirkin. Mirkin enlisted Julius Lederer as a co-founder the following year. Lederer was the husband of newspaper columnist “Ann Landers”.
22. 007, for one : SPY
The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …
24. Cheer made with a pompom : RAH!
The French call a ball made of tufted wool a “pompon”, a word that we imported into English directly as “pompon”. We use “pompon” to describe perhaps bobbles on some hats, or the tufted balls that are shaken by cheerleaders at sports events. Over time, the spelling “pompom” has become common in English, probably due to mishearing. To confuse matters a little, we also use the word “pom-pom”, which is a nickname for a British autocannon used mainly as an anti-aircraft weapon, particularly during WWII.
25. Moo goo gai pan pan : WOK
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.
Moo goo gai pan is an American version of a traditional Cantonese dish. In Cantonese “moo goo” means “button mushroom”, “gai” is “chicken” and “pan” is “slices”.
26. Brit’s teapot cover : COSY
A tea cozy (sometimes “cosy”) is an insulated cover for a teapot, something to keep the tea hot. I don’t know what I’d do without my tea cosy/cozy …
31. Meal option #2 : SPINACH LASAGNA
Lasagna was originally the name of a cooking pot, but it came to mean a dish that was cooked in it. Lasagna also became the name of the flat noodle used in the dish. If you order lasagna on the other side of the Atlantic, you’ll notice the “lasagne” spelling, the plural of “lasagna”. The plural is used as there is more than one layer of pasta in the dish.
38. Meal option #3 : BLACK BEAN CHILI
The full name of the dish that is often called simply “chili” is “chili con carne”, Spanish for “peppers with meat”. The dish was created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.
51. Weekly occurrence when 20-, 31- and 38-Across might be consumed : MEATLESS MONDAY
To help the war effort, the United States Food Administration (led by Herbert Hoover) introduced “Meatless Tuesdays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” for the duration of WWI. Similar campaigns were revived during WWII. Wheatless Wednesdays have fallen by the wayside but Meatless Monday is very much in vogue these days as an attempt to improve the population’s health and help reduce global warming (less methane from fewer cows).
56. Dance to some Johann Strauss music : WALTZ
What we tend to think of as a waltz today is danced at about 90 beats per minute. The original waltz was much faster, and is danced at about 180 beats per minute. To differentiate, we now call the faster dance a “Viennese Waltz”, and sometimes refer to the other as the “English Waltz” or “slow waltz”.
Of the many classical composers with the Strauss name, “The Waltz King” was Johann Strauss II from Austria. Among the many beautiful waltzes that Strauss penned are “The Blue Danube” and “Tales from the Vienna Woods”. He also composed the famous operetta “Die Fledermaus”.
59. La ___ Tar Pits : BREA
The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It’s well worth a visit if you are in town …
60. Blueprint : PLAN
Blueprints are reproductions of technical or architectural drawings that are contact prints made on light-sensitive sheets. Blueprints were introduced in the 1800s and the technology available dictated that the drawings were reproduced with white lines on a blue background, hence the name “blue-print”.
63. Sicilian volcano : ETNA
Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts.
3. Colorful flower also known as heartsease : PANSY
The garden flower called the “pansy” takes its name from the French word “pensée” meaning “thought”. This name was chosen as the flower was often used as a symbol of remembrance.
4. ___ Lord (Jedi’s foe) : SITH
The Sith are characters in the “Star Wars” universe who use the “dark side” of “the Force”, and as such are the antithesis of the Jedi Knights. Members of the Sith use the title “Darth” before their name, as in Darth Vader. The last made of the six “Star Wars” movies is called “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”.
5. Big oaf : PALOOKA
The word “palooka” was originally used to describe a mediocre prizefighter and dates back to the 1920s. Then there was a comic strip called “Joe Palooka”, and I guess the meanings got melded somehow. Today we use “palooka” as a slang term for an oaf or a clumsy person.
6. One no longer in the pen : EX-CON
A convict (con) might be incarcerated in the penitentiary (pen).
8. Belgrade native : SERB
Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia. The name “Belgrade” translates into “White City”.
13. Faucet : TAP
The common “faucet” in an American house is almost always referred to as a “tap” on the other side of the pond.
21. ___ Major (Great Bear) : URSA
The constellation named Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, the “plough”.
25. The Dairy State: Abbr. : WISC
The state of Wisconsin is a leading producer of dairy products, and is particularly known for its cheese. Wisconsin is sometimes referred to as the Dairy State, and the state’s licence plates have borne the motto “America’s Dairyland” since 1940.
27. Actress Lena of “Chocolat” : OLIN
Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland.
28. Alike, in Paris : EGAL
“Égal” (feminine “égale”) is the French word for “equal, alike”, and a word we sometimes use in English. The national motto of France is “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, meaning “Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood).
29. ___-Defamation League : ANTI
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a US organization that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. The ADL was founded in 1913 as the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith.
30. ___ kwon do (martial art) : TAE
Tae kwon do is the national sport of Korea. “Tae” means “to strike or break with foot”; “kwon” means “to strike or break with fist”; “do” means “way” or “art”. Along with judo, tae kwon do is one of only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.
32. Say grace, e.g. : PRAY
A grace is a short prayer recited before or after a meal.
33. First symbol on a musical staff : 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.
35. Torso muscles, briefly : ABS
The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …
39. They’re all thumbs : KLUTZES
A klutz is an awkward individual, and the term comes from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.
42. “Mankind’s greatest blessing,” per Mark Twain : HUMOR
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.
46. Espresso drink : LATTE
The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.
49. The Devil : SATAN
Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.
50. “Laughing” animal : HYENA
The spotted hyena of Sub-Saharan Africa is also known as the laughing hyena because of the sound it oftens makes, which resembles maniacal laughter.
51. Mother horse : MARE
There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:
- Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
- Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
- Filly: female horse under the age of four
- Colt: male horse under the age of four
- Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
- Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
- Mare: female horse four years or older
52. Flair : ELAN
Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style” or “flair”.