Edited by: Will Shortz
Each of today’s answers is a common phrase. However, it a two-letter word in the phrase has been reinterpreted as a standard, two-letter abbreviation for a US state:
- 23A. “Try not to miss Bangor and Lewiston”? : CATCH MAINE IF YOU CAN (catch me if you can!)
- 34A. 2:00 in New York vis-à-vis St. Louis? : ONE, MISSOURI TIME (one mo’ time)
- 50A. Whistler from two Eastern states? : MASSACHUSETTS AND PENNSYLVANIA KETTLE (Ma and Pa Kettle)
- 68A. “We shouldn’t sell our Fort Wayne home”? : LET’S KEEP THIS INDIANA HOUSE (let’s keep this in-house)
- 86A. “Sooner this, Sooner that … can’t you talk about any other subject?”? : EVERYTHING’S OKLAHOMA (everything’s OK)
- 100A. Deal another blackjack card to a young Salem woman? : HIT OREGON MISS (hit or miss)
- 117A. Midwest state secedes and will join the United Kingdom? : OHIO TO BE IN ENGLAND (Oh, to be in England)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies
1. Tennis world since 1968 : OPEN ERA
In the sport of tennis, the Grand Slam tournaments were opened up to professional players, and not just amateurs, in 1968. So, the period since 1968 has been called “The Open Era”.
8. St. Louis Arch, e.g. : GATEWAY
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn’t started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch, intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch alright, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment …
25. “___ de Lune” : CLAIR
“Clair de lune” is the beautiful third movement from Claude Debussy’s piano work called the “Suite bergamasque”. “Clair de lune” is French for “moonlight”.
26. Player of TV’s Det. Tutuola : ICE-T
Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.
27. Publication read by drs. : JAMA
The American Medical Association (AMA) has been publishing the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) since 1883.
28. Kind of torch on “Survivor” : TIKI
A tiki torch is a bamboo torch that’s very commonly used in Tiki culture. Tiki culture is a relatively modern invention dating from the 20th century, and is the experience created in Polynesian-style restaurants. The word “Tiki” is borrowed from Polynesia.
The reality show “Survivor” is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called “Expedition Robinson”.
29. Private eye, slangily : SHAMUS
“Shamus” is a slang term for policeman or a private investigator. The experts don’t seem so sure, but there is no doubt in my mind that the term derives from the Irish name “Séamus” (“James” in English). Sure, aren’t cops always from the Auld Sod?
30. Where Spartacus was from : THRACE
Thrace is a historical and geographic region of southeast Europe, largely lying in southeastern Bulgaria. The region took its name from the Thracian people, an ancient race that used to inhabit the area. Included in the region is the European side of the city of Istanbul.
32. Rite for a newborn Jewish boy : BRIS
A mohel is a man who has been trained in the practice of brit milah (circumcision). Brit milah is known as “bris” in Yiddish. The brit milah ceremony is performed on male infants when they are 8-days old.
34. 2:00 in New York vis-à-vis St. Louis? : ONE, MISSOURI TIME (one mo’ time)
We can use the French phrase “vis-à-vis” as a preposition meaning “compared with”. When used as an adverb or adjective, it means “face-to-face”, which is a more literal translation from French.
38. “___ ’em, boy!” : SIC
“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.
41. Part of a full house : PAIR
That would the card game poker.
45. Duds : ATTIRE
“Duds” is an informal word for clothing that comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.
50. Whistler from two Eastern states? : MASSACHUSETTS AND PENNSYLVANIA KETTLE (Ma and Pa Kettle)
The author Betty MacDonald wrote a memoir called “The Egg and I” that was published in 1945, telling the story of her life as a young wife on a chicken farm in Washington state. The book was adapted into a film of the same name in 1947, with the lovely Claudette Colbert playing Betty McDonald, and the great Fred MacMurray as her husband. Two other characters feature in the storyline, namely Ma and Pa Kettle. The latter characters were so well received by theater audiences that a whole series of films about them and their fifteen children was made between the years 1949 and 1957.
55. Name in a Salinger title : ESME
J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor” that was originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.
57. Quaint store descriptor : OLDE
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.
62. “I’m such a klutz!” : OOPS!
A klutz is an awkward individual, with the term coming from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.
64. Sportscaster Al : MICHAELS
Al Michaels is a sportscaster who worked with NBC Sports for nearly 30 years. Michaels is probably best known for his work on “Monday Night Football” for nearly two decades starting in 1986.
72. How a B.L.T. might come : WITH MAYO
The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.
73. Rice-A-___ : RONI
Rice-A-Roni was introduced in 1958 by the Golden Grain Macaroni Company of San Francisco. The company was run by an Italian immigrant and his four sons. The wife of one of the sons created a pilaf dish for the family diner they owned. It was a big hit, so her brother-in-law created a commercial version by blending dry chicken soup mix with rice and macaroni. Sounds like “a San Francisco treat” to me …
77. Reebok rival : AVIA
The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.
78. Navy commando : SEAL
“SEAL” is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counterguerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.
80. It means “farmer” in Afrikaans : BOER
“Boer” is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer”, a word that was used to describe the Dutch-speaking people who settled parts of South Africa during the 1700s.
82. Hydroxyl compound : ENOL
An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, and so is part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol” therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.
83. Airbnb offering : RENTAL
Airbnb is a website-based service that matches people wanting to rent out short-term living quarters to people seeking accommodation.
86. “Sooner this, Sooner that … can’t you talk about any other subject?”? : EVERYTHING’S OKLAHOMA (everything’s OK)
The 1889 Indian Appropriations Act officially opened up the so called Unassigned Lands, land in Oklahoma on which no Native American tribes had settled. Once the Act was signed, those lands became available for settlement. Those people that settled the same lands illegally, prior the date specified, they were termed “Sooners” as their situation was defined in the “sooner clause” of the Act. “Sooner State” is now the nickname for Oklahoma.
89. Imparter of umami taste, in brief : MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …
Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.
93. Resort near Snowbird : ALTA
Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont. The ski resort of Snowbird located next to Alta has been in operation since 1971.
95. Big 2016 film set in Polynesia : MOANA
“Moana” is a 2016 animated feature film and the 56th animated Disney movie. The title character is the daughter of a Polynesian chief who heads off in search of the demigod Maui, hoping that he can save her people.
96. Cab alternative : ZIN
Zinfandel is one of my favorite red wine varietals. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.
100. Deal another blackjack card to a young Salem woman? : HIT OREGON MISS (hit or miss)
“Stand” and “hit me” are instructions to the dealer in the card game Blackjack. The instruction “stand” means, I don’t want any more cards, I’ll use these. The instruction “hit me” means “please deal me another card”.
111. Architect Saarinen : EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in this country for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK. The list of his lesser-known, but still impressive, works includes several buildings erected on academic campuses. For example, the Chapel and Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus, the Emma Hartman Noyes House at Vassar College, the Law School building at the University of Chicago, and Yale’s David S. Ingalls Rink.
115. Grammy-winning singer of “Shepherd Moons” : ENYA
Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!
117. Midwest state secedes and will join the United Kingdom? : OHIO TO BE IN ENGLAND (Oh, to be in England)
Robert Browning met fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett in 1845. Elizabeth was a sickly woman, confined to her parents’ house in Wimpole Street in London, largely due to the conservative and protective nature of her father. Robert and Elizabeth eventually eloped in 1846, and lived in self-inflicted exile in Italy. Away from the country of his birth, Browning was moved to write his now famous “Home Thoughts, From Abroad”, the first line of which is “Oh, to be in England …”
120. Whale food : KRILL
Krill are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the oceans. Krill feed on plankton, and in turn, krill are the main part of the diet of larger animals such as whales, seals and penguins. There’s an awful lot of krill in the world, an estimated 500,000,000 tonnes of it. That’s about twice the biomass of humans on the planet!
122. Direct route : BEELINE
To make a beeline for somewhere or something, one takes a direct route. The term derives from excellent homing instinct of bees.
1. Footnote abbr. : OP CIT
Op. cit. is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to “ibid”, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.
3. Fragrant compound : ESTER
Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.
4. Pitted fruit : NECTARINE
A nectarine is a cultivar of a peach, notable for its smooth skin (as opposed to the fuzzy skin of the traditional peach).
5. Icelandic letter : EDH
Eth (also “edh”) is a letter that was used in Old English and several other languages, such as Icelandic and Faroese (native language on the Faroe Islands). Other languages that used eth replaced it with the letter D over time.
6. Powerful engine : RAMJET
A ramjet is a type of jet engine that uses the speed of the incoming air (due to the aircraft’s forward motion) to compress that air prior to combustion. In a regular jet engine, the air is compressed by a fan that sucks air into the combustion chamber. In a ramjet, air enters the chamber usually at supersonic speed (the speed of the jet) and is slowed prior to combustion. In a scramjet, a variant of a ramjet, the air is maintained at supersonic speeds, allowing the scramjet to operate at very high velocity.
10. Oscar-winning foreign film of 2005 set in South Africa : TSOTSI
The 2005 film “Tsotsi” is an adaptation of a novel of the same name by South African writer Athol Fugard. The movie won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005.
11. Tiny-scissors holder : ETUI
An etui is an ornamental case used to hold small items, in particular sewing needles. We imported both the case design and the word “etui” from France. The French also have a modern usage of “etui”, using the term to depict a case for carrying CDs.
14. Thirst : YEN
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.
17. Turbaned teacher : SWAMI
A swami is a religious teacher in the Hindu tradition. The word “swami” can also mean “husband” in the Bengali and Malay languages.
18. Loathing : ODIUM
Odium is a strong dislike or aversion. The term is Latin in origin and relates to the Latin word “odi” meaning “I hate”.
31. Unit of firewood : CORD
A cord of wood has a volume of 128 cubic feet. More commonly it’s a neat stack measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep.
33. “Freedom ___ free” : ISN’T
“Freedom isn’t free” is an idiom that expresses the sentiment that freedom only comes with the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform.
35. Commercial lead-in to Pen : EPI
EpiPen is a brand name of epinephrine auto-injector. An EpiPen delivers a measured dose of epinephrine, usually for the treatment of an allergic reaction.
42. Part of a recovery effort : AA MEETING
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935, by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. As the organization grew, the guiding principles established by the founders were formatted into a 12-step program that was in place by the forties.
44. Writer of “The Gnat and the Bull” : AESOP
Aesop is remembered today as a fabulist, a writer of fables. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.
46. ___ Conference : TED
The acronym “TED” stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.
49. Vintage Jaguars : XKES
Auto manufacturer Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).
50. Apology start : MEA
Many Roman Catholics are very familiar with the Latin phrase “mea culpa” meaning “my fault”, as it is used in the Latin Mass. The additional term “mea maxima culpa” translates as “my most grievous fault”.
51. Oktoberfest music : POLKA
The polka is a dance from central Europe, one that originated in Bohemia in the mid-1800s. It’s thought that “polka” comes from a Czech word meaning “little half”, reflecting the little half-steps included in the basic dance.
Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …
58. Former parent co. of Gramophone and Parlophone records : EMI
EMI was a British music company, with the initialism standing for Electric and Musical Industries.
66. Dijon darling : CHERI
Dijon is a city in eastern France, in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn’t protect the name “Dijon” so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada!
70. Sister of Helios : EOS
In Greek mythology, Eos is the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos is Aurora.
71. Ancient fortuneteller : SIBYL
The word, and name, sibyl, comes from the Greek word “sibylla” meaning “prophetess”. There were many sibyls, but most famous is probably the Delphic Sibyl.
76. Yellowstone grazer : ELK
Yellowstone was the first National Park to be established in the world, when it was designated as such by President Grant in 1872. What a great tradition it started! The American National Parks truly are a treasure.
79. Unadon fish : EEL
“Unadon” is the Japanese word for “eel bowl”. “Unadon” is actually a contraction, of “unagi no kabayaki” (grilled eel) and “donburi” (rice bowl dish).
81. Armchair accompanier : OTTOMAN
The piece of furniture known as an ottoman can be a couch, one usually with a head but no back or sides. Here in the US, the term more usually applies to a padded and upholstered seat or bench that can also be used as a footrest. The original ottoman couch came from the Ottoman Empire, hence the name.
85. Like some fertile soil : LOAMY
Loam is soil made up of sand, silt and clay in the ratio of about 40-40-20. Relative to other soil types, loam is is usually rich in nutrients and moisture, drains well and is easy to till.
95. Art ___, longtime Cleveland Browns owner : MODELL
Art Modell was the team owner for the Cleveland Browns from 1961-1995 and for the Baltimore Raven from 1996-2004.
97. Pressure indicator on a map : ISOBAR
An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.
99. Iger’s predecessor at Disney : EISNER
Michael Eisner took over as CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 1984. Eisner has been attributed with turning Disney around, as the company was floundering really since 1966 when Walt Disney died. Eisner had a good run, but ran foul of Walt Disney’s nephew Roy Disney who led a revolt that resulted in Eisner’s resignation in 2005.
Robert Iger took over from Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005. Iger worked for ABC when it was taken over by Disney in 1996, and in 1999 he was named president of Walt Disney International. Iger is doing okay for himself; he earned more than $29 million in 2009.
102. Actress Shire : TALIA
The actress Talia Shire is best-known for playing Rocky’s wife Adrian in the “Rocky” series of movies. She also played Connie, the daughter of Don Corleone, in “The Godfather” films. Shire is the sister of movie director Francis Ford Coppola and the aunt of actor Nicolas Cage. Her son is the actor Jason Schwartzman.
103. Quattro + tre : SETTE
In Italian, “quattro” (four) plus “tre” (three) equals “sette” (seven).
107. Diarist Nin : ANAIS
Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for the 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.
108. Jeff ___, leader of the Electric Light Orchestra : LYNNE
Jeff Lynne is a singer-songwriter best known as the leader of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Lynne went on to form the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.
109. Got on board : LADED
The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.
112. Licentious sort : ROUE
“Roue” is a lovely word, I think, describing a less than lovely man. A roue could otherwise be described as a cad, someone of loose morals. “Roue” comes from the French word “rouer” meaning “to break on a wheel”. This describes the ancient form of capital punishment where a poor soul was lashed to a wheel and then beaten to death with cudgels and bars. I guess the suggestion is that a roue, with his loose morals, deserves such a punishment.
117. C.I.A. forerunner : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
118. Tour de France time : ETE
In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).