Edited by: Will Shortz
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
9. Name of England’s Nine Days Queen : JANE
Lady Jane Grey was known as the “Nine Days Queen”. Lady Jane was the cousin of Edward VI and succeeded to the throne when the king named her his successor on his deathbed. Edward VI was the only son of Henry VIII. Henry’s eldest child Mary was the rightful heir to the throne and she deposed Lady Jane Grey in just a few days to become Queen Mary I (aka “Bloody Mary”). Lady Jane was imprisoned in the Tower of London and eventually beheaded.
13. Period ushered in by Augustus : PAX ROMANA
Pax Romana is Latin for “Roman Peace”. The term literally described a period in Roman history for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD during which the Roman Empire was ruled by Caesar Augustus. Under his control, expansionist ideas by powerful generals were held in check, and the peoples of foreign lands ruled by the Romans were relatively calm. The peace enjoyed was considered uneasy as Rome governed its conquered territories with an iron fist, and insurrection was likely at all times. The expression “pax Romana” then came to be used in English to describe any situation in which there is an uneasy peace, a peace imposed by a powerful state on a weaker state.
14. Format too big for conventional reels : IMAX
The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.
16. Joey’s portrayer on “Friends” : MATT
Actor Matt LeBlanc is best known for his portrayal of Joey Tribbiani in the sitcom “Friends”. LeBlanc was born in Newton Massachusetts. In 2011, LeBlanc started playing a fictionalized version of himself in BBC/Showtime collaboration called “Episodes”.
17. Clytemnestra’s half sister : HELEN
In Greek mythology, Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus when he took the form of a swan. Leda produced two eggs from the union. One egg hatched into Clytemnestra and the beautiful Helen of Troy, over whom was fought the Trojan War. The other egg hatched into the twins Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux had different fathers according to the myth. Pollux was the son of Zeus and was immortal, while Castor was the son of Leda’s earthly husband, and so he was a mortal. In the world of the arts, William Butler Yeats wrote a famous sonnet called “Leda and the Swan” in 1924, and Peter Paul Rubens made a copy of a now-lost painting called “Leda and the Swan” by Michelangelo.
18. Shaggy mammal : YAK
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.
21. Object at the center of St. Peter’s Square : OBELISK
An obelisk is a rectangular column that tapers to the top and is capped by a pyramid shape.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian sculptor and architect, one generally regarded as the successor to Michelangelo. Bernini’s most famous work perhaps is the design for the Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Square) that is located in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
31. Another name for a horizontal ladder : MONKEY BARS
The “Junglegym” was invented in Chicago in 1920, although today we use the generic term “jungle gym”. Somehow, the phrase “monkey bars” started to be used in the mid-fifties for the same apparatus.
33. Newspaper columnist who wrote the book “Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball” : GEORGE WILL
George Will is a journalist and author who is noted for his conservative political commentary. Outside the world of politics, Will is a big baseball fan and wrote the bestseller “Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball”.
38. What the ancient Greeks called the Hyrcanian Ocean : CASPIAN SEA
The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in South Caucasus.
39. Pacific island Magellan visited in 1521 : CEBU
Along with Luzon and Mindanao, the Visayan Islands is one of the three main geographical regions of the Philippines. The region consists of several islands, including Cebu and Leyte.
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who was hired by King Charles I of Spain to find a westward route to the Spice Islands, now known as the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. Magellan headed west through the Atlantic starting out in 1519. He passed south of the Americas through was is now called the Strait of Magellan. He gave the name “Peaceful Sea” to the body of water that he encountered west of the Americas, which we now know as the Pacific Ocean. He and his expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521, and returned home via the Indian Ocean. This voyage was the first circumnavigation of the globe in history.
40. Ones trembling not out of fear : ASPENS
The “quaking” aspen tree is so called because the structure of the leaves causes them to move easily in the wind, to “tremble, quake”.
43. Court org. : NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The NBA name was adopted in 1949 following a merger with the rival National Basketball League (NBL). Of the four major sports leagues in North America, the NBA has the highest average annual salary per player.
44. Presidential nickname : ABE
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.
53. John Deere creation : PLOW
John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.
55. “___ Enchanted,” 1998 Newbery Honor book : ELLA
“Ella Enchanted” is a fantasy novel written by Gail Carson Levine, and published in 1997. It is a retelling of the story of Cinderella, with lots of mythical creatures added. A film adaptation was released in 2004, starring Anne Hathaway in the title role.
1. Alistair ___, “The Guns of Navarone” novelist : MACLEAN
The Scottish author Alistair MacLean wrote two thrilling WWII novels featuring the fictional island of Navarone, namely “The Guns of Navarone” and “Force 10 from Navarone”. Both books were made into movies, the best of which is 1961’s “The Guns of Navarone”. That film has a stellar cast led by Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn.
3. Certain Caribbean islander, informally : TRINI
A Trini is someone the island of Trinidad located off the coast of Venezuela.
4. Snookums : HON
The term of endearment “snookums” comes from the family name “Snooks”. Snooks was a name used in Britain in the 1800s for some hypothetical, unknown individual (as we would use the name “Joe Blow” today).
5. Cable channel for cinephiles : AMC
AMC, formerly known as American Movie Classics, is one of my favorite television channels. Although the channel’s focus has shifted from airing classic movies to including other programming, there’s still a lot of quality output. AMC’s flagship shows are “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”.
6. Player in Washington, familiarly : NAT
The Washington Nationals (“Nats”) baseball team started out life as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and were the first Major League Baseball team in Canada. The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 becoming the Nats. There are only two Major Leagues teams that have never played in a World Series, one being the Mariners and the other the Nats.
9. Huck’s pal : JIM
In Mark Twain’s novel “Huckleberry Finn”, much of the storyline is taken up with Huck’s adventures with the slave Jim as they raft down the Mississippi River. By making the journey, the pair hope to find freedom from slavery for Jim and freedom from his vagrant drunkard father for Huck.
10. Unlikely winner at the Masters : AMATEUR
Golf’s Masters Tournament is the first of the four major championships in the annual calendar, taking place in the first week of April each year. It is played at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, and has a number of traditions. One is that the winner is awarded the famous “green jacket”, but he only gets to keep it for a year and must return it to the club after twelve months.
13. Native of the Southwest : PUEBLO
The Pueblo peoples are Native Americans from the American Southwest who are known for their construction of towns and villages comprising buildings made from adobe and stone. The Pueblo inhabited pit houses dug into cliffs prior to c. 1050 CE. After this date, they started to develop planned village that included apartment-like structure often located on ledges of rock that were easy to defend. The largest of these villages extant today is the magnificent Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. It is a “must see” when visiting the area …
15. Little swine : SHOAT
A shoat is a name given to a young hog after it has been weaned.
22. Choice meal? : SMORGASBORD
A smorgasbord is a buffet-style meal that originated in Sweden. “Smörgåsbord” is a Swedish word comprised of “smörgås” meaning “slice of bread and butter” and “bord” meaning “table”.
23. Math puzzle : KENKEN
KenKen is an arithmetic and logic puzzle invented quite recently, in 2004 by a Japanese math teacher named Tetsuya Miyamoto. “Ken” is the Japanese word for “cleverness”.
25. Dappled horse : ROAN
A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.
34. Lengua with the word “lengua” : ESPANOL
In “Español” (Spanish), the word “lengua” translates as “language”.
37. Easy marks : DUPES
A dupe is someone who is easily fooled, a “live one”, one who can fall victim to deception.
38. Party platter tidbit : CANAPE
A canapé is a finger food, something small enough to eat in just one bite. In French, “canapé” is actually the word for a couch or a sofa. The name was given to the snack as the original canapés were savories served on toasted or stale bread that supposedly resembled a tiny couch.
39. Like étouffée : CREOLE
Étouffée is a Cajun and creole dish made with shellfish, the most famous version being Crawfish Étouffée. Étouffée is like a thick shellfish stew served over rice. The dish uses the cooking technique known as “smothering” in which the shellfish is cooked in a covered pan over a low heat with a small amount of liquid. “Étouffée” is the French word “stifled, smothered”.
45. Weapon with a bell guard : EPEE
The hilt of a sword consists of a grip and a guard (sometimes “bell guard”). One grasps the sword with the grip, and the guard is a metal shell that is designed to protect the fingers.
48. Howard Hughes acquisition of 1939 : TWA
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.
Businessman Howard Hughes made a name for himself first as a film producer, and then in the aviation industry. Nowadays, Hughes is perhaps best known for the eccentric behavior that he exhibited late in his life. He was very much an eccentric, and suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and became a germaphobe. Perhaps the most approachable way of gaining insight into the life of Hughes is a viewing of the Martin Scorsese film “The Aviator”, in which Hughes is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
51. Clothes closet fixture : ROD
In old French a “clos” was an enclosure, with the diminutive form “closet” describing a small enclosure or private room. Over time “closet” evolved into our modern usage, to describe a cabinet or cupboard.