Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Each of today’s themed answers contains a hidden “NV” (sounds like “envy”). Each themed answer comprises two words, the first ending with a letter N and the second starting with a letter V:
- 123A. Word homophonically hidden in the eight longest puzzle answers : ENVY (sounds like “NV”)
- 29A. Sure thing : CERTAIN VICTORY
- 52A. Oath : SOLEMN VOW
- 54A. Titanic undertaking : MAIDEN VOYAGE
- 77A. City NNW of San Diego : MISSION VIEJO
- 80A. Gourmet : BON VIVANT
- 104A. Many a side dish : GREEN VEGETABLE
- 3D. Tanzanian flowering plant : AFRICAN VIOLET
- 58D. Hollywood adaptation : SCREEN VERSION
Bill’s errors: 2
BON VIVANT (non vivant!!!!!)
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Lunchbox staples, initially : PBJS
Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ).
9. Two-time Argentine president : PERON
Nowadays, President Juan Perón of Argentina is perhaps less well-known than his second wife, Eva Perón of “Evita” fame. Juan and Eva Perón were overthrown in a military coup in 1955, although Juan Perón was returned to power in 1973 after which he served for only nine months before he passed away. Juan was succeeded in office by his third wife, Isabel Perón.
14. Piglike rhino relative : TAPIR
All four species of tapir are endangered. Even though the tapir looks much like a pig, it is more closely related to the horse and the rhinoceros.
19. Sword handle : HAFT
The “haft” of a weapon is its handle or hilt.
21. Texas Revolution battle site : ALAMO
The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.
27. Pouilly-__: wine : FUISSE
So many French wines are blended to develop the wonderful flavors and complexity that they have. However, Pouilly-Fuissé is made from just Chardonnay grapes, and maybe that’s why it generally sells for less!
32. Sam Spade type : TEC
Private detective Sam Spade is the main character in Dashiell Hammett’s novel “The Maltese Falcon”. Famously, Spade was played by Humphrey Bogart in the 1941 film adaptation directed by John Huston.
35. Low-tech travel guide : AAA MAP
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.
38. Explorer Ericson : LEIF
Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer and was the first European to land in North America, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus’s landing in 1492. The Norsemen named the area they discovered “Vinland”, which might translate as “Wine Land” or “Pasture Land”. Erikson built a small settlement called Leifsbudir, which archaeologists believe they have found in modern day Newfoundland, at L’Anse aux Meadows. The settlement discovered in Newfoundland is definitely Norse, but there is some dispute over whether it is actually Erikson’s Leifsbudir.
44. “Lou Grant” star : ASNER
“Lou Grant” is a spinoff from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. The title character, played so ably by Ed Asner, had headed up a television newsroom in Minneapolis in the original series. In the spinoff, Grant was the city editor of the fictional “Los Angeles Tribune”. The original show was a sitcom, the spinoff was a drama series.
48. Spikes : LACES
To lace a drink, is to spike it, by adding perhaps some alcohol or other strong substance.
54. Titanic undertaking : MAIDEN VOYAGE
The RMS Titanic set off on her tragic maiden voyage in 1912, sailing from Southampton, England bound for New York City. Regulations only required that the ship have lifeboat capacity for 1,178 people, even though a full complement of passengers and crew was 3,547. When the order was given to abandon ship, the captain adhered to the traditional protocol of “women and children first”. As a result, only 20% of male passengers survived the disaster, compared to 75% of the female passengers. Perhaps more telling is that 61% of those in first class survived, and only 25% of those in third class. The crew fared even worse though, with only 24% making it.
59. Native of Nigeria : IBO
The Igbo (or Ibo) people are an ethnic group living in southeastern Nigeria.
64. Epidemic-fighting agcy. : CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …
70. Actor Stephen : REA
Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.
72. Order to swabs : AVAST!
“Avast” is a nautical term used to tell someone to stop or desist from what they are doing. The word comes from the Dutch “hou vast” meaning “hold fast”.
73. Donizetti opera “L’elisir __” (“The Elixir of Love”) : D’AMORE
“L’elisir d’amore” is an opera by Donizetti, the title of which translates as “The Elixir of Love”. The opera is performed quite often today, as is the beautiful aria from the work called “Una furtiva lagrima”. “Una furtiva lagrima” translates from Italian as “A single furtive tear”.
77. City NNW of San Diego : MISSION VIEJO
Mission Viejo is a city in Southern California in Orange County. According to FBI data, MIssion Viejo has qualified as the safest city in the US in some years.
80. Gourmet : BON VIVANT
A bon vivant (plural “bons vivants”) is a person who enjoys the best of food and drink, a person with very refined tastes. The term is French, coming from “good living” in that language.
85. Casual tops : POLOS
Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer, born Ralph Liftshitz in the Bronx, New York. Lauren started off working as a salesman for Brooks Brothers after spending two years in the US Army. He then opened a necktie store, featuring his own tie designs. The ties were sold under the name “Polo”, which became Lauren’s most famous brand. Other Lauren brands are Purple Label and Black Label.
89. ’60s protest org. : SDS
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.
91. “If I Were a Rich Man” singer : TEVYE
The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye, a milkman living in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.
93. Pal : CRONY
A “crony” is a friend or companion. The term originated as slang in Cambridge University in England in the 1600s. “Crony” is probably derived from the Greek “khronios” meaning “long-lasting”.
94. Longfellow’s bell town : ATRI
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Sicilian’s Tale; The Bell of Atri”, a narrative poem set in the small town of Atri in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
95. Half a fly : TSE
Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.
96. Like some ancient Celts : GALLIC
The Celts were a very broad group of people across Europe, linked by common languages. The Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in the British Isles. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France..
99. Dessert square : BROWNIE
Apparently the first brownies were created for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The recipe was developed by a pastry chef at the city’s Palmer House Hotel. The idea was to produce a cake-like dessert that was small enough and dainty enough to be eaten by ladies as part of a boxed lunch.
101. Long John Silver creator’s monogram : RLS
Long John Silver is a character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”, and is a pirate with a peg leg.
109. “__ Fideles” : ADESTE
The lovely Christmas hymn “Adeste Fideles” (entitle “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in English) was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time. A kind blog reader pointed out to me that the English translation is in fact a little “off”. The term “adeste” best translates from Latin as “be present, attend”, rather that “come”. The verb “come” appears later in the lyrics in “venite adoremus”, meaning “come, let us worship”.
113. Oater actor Jack : ELAM
Jack Elam was a movie actor noted for playing the bad guy in Westerns. When Elam was a boy scout, he was accidentally stabbed in the eye with a pencil. The incident left him blind in that eye, and the iris remained skewed to the outside of his face. This gave him a crazed, wide-eyed look that helped add a sense of menace to the characters Elam played.
115. Capital south of Helsinki : RIGA
Riga is the capital city of Latvia. The historical center of Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared as such because of the city’s magnificent examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, and is by far the country’s biggest urban area. In English we tend to stress the “-sink-” in “Helsinki”, whereas the Finns stress the “Hel-”.
116. Lycée student : ELEVE
The French word “élève” can be translated as “pupil, student”
The “lycée” is the last stage of secondary education in France.
117. Industry leaders : CZARS
The term “czar” (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.
118. Hieroglyphics bird : IBIS
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!
120. Cold fall : SLEET
Apparently “sleet” is a term used to describe two weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets, smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.
121. Exaggerated on stage : HAMMY
The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is apparently a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.
122. “Eli’s Coming” songwriter : NYRO
1. Harsh treatment, with “the” : SHAFT
“Shafted” isn’t a nice term at all. Someone who has been shafted has been given a raw deal. The term arose in the fifties, playing on the vulgar slang usage of shaft to represent the male organ (a usage that has been around since the early 1700s). The use of the verb “shaft” therefore is a reference to sodomy. We really should stop using the term …
2. World Court site, with “The” : HAGUE
International Court of Justice (ICJ) is commonly referred to as the World Court, and is based in the Hague in the Netherlands. Housed in a building known as the Peace Palace, the ICJ is the main judicial branch of the United Nations. One of the court’s functions is to settle disputes between UN member states. The US no longer accepts the jurisdiction of the ICJ, after the court’s 1986 decision that the US’s covert war against Nicaragua was in violation of international law. The UN Security Council is charged with enforcing ICJ rulings, and so the US used its veto power in the Nicaragua v. United States case.
4. Classic muscle cars : GTOS
The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.
5. Introduction : PROEM
A “proem” is a brief introduction, a prelude. The term comes into English via Old French and is ultimately derived from the Greek “prooimion” meaning “prelude”, especially a prelude to music or poetry.
8. Metal marble : STEELIE
A playing marble made from agate is called just that, an agate. Steelies on the other hand, are made from solid steel.
9. Medicare Rx section : PART D
Medicare is divided into four parts:
- A: Hospital Insurance
- B: Medical Insurance
- C: Medicare Advantage Plans
- D: Prescription Drug Plans
10. Lamb pen name : ELIA
Charles Lamb published a famous collection of essays simply entitled “Essays of Elia”. Elia was actually a clerk and co-worker of Charles Lamb, whereas Lamb was the author.
11. Indian musician who influenced Beatle George : RAVI
Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous virtuoso (to us Westerners) from the world of Indian classical music, and was noted for his sitar playing. Also, Shankar was the father of the beautiful pop singer Norah Jones.
George Harrison is often referred to as the “quiet Beatle”, although he did have a profound influence on the direction taken by the Fab Four. It was Harrison who first became an admirer of Indian culture and led the rest of the group into the Indian way of life. Harrison went as far as embracing the Hindu religion.
14. Puccini heroine : TOSCA
Unlike so many operas, Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” was a big hit right from day one, when it was first performed in 1900 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. “Tosca” is currently the eighth-most performed opera in America.
15. “West Side Story” girl : ANITA
In Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”, the female lead character is Maria and her older friend, also in the gang called the Sharks, is Anita.
16. River to Chesapeake Bay : POTOMAC
Chesapeake Bay is on the Atlantic coast and is surrounded by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the whole country, with over 150 rivers and streams draining into it, including the Potomac.
28. Pfizer-owned trademark : SEARLE
Searle is mainly a pharmaceutical company, and was founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1888. The company is famous for introducing the first birth control pill in the late 1950s, as well as the artificial sweetener NutraSweet. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was Searle’s CEO and then President in the seventies and eighties.
31. James’ creator : IAN
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 …
37. Go : HEAD
I’m going to go, going to head.
41. __City: computer game : SIM
SimCity is a very clever computer game. Players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. “SimCity” was launched in 1989, and to this day it is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.
47. Theater option : LOGE
In most theaters today, “loge” is the name given to the front rows of a mezzanine level. Loge can also be used for box seating.
48. Irish truck : LORRY
On the other side of the Atlantic, a truck is called a “lorry”, a term that probably comes from the English dialectal verb “to lurry” meaning “to drag, tug”.
55. Up-and-down inventor? : OTIS
Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.
56. 2015 World Series winning manager Ned : YOST
Ned Yost is the manager of the Kansas City Royals, and a former Major League Baseball catcher. Yost played baseball at high school in Dublin, California, just a few miles from where I am now right now.
61. Trucks with ovine logos : RAMS
Chrysler put ram hood ornaments on all of its Dodge branded vehicles starting in 1933. When the first line of Dodge trucks and vans were introduced in 1981, they were named “Rams” in honor of that hood ornament.
62. Mine, to Mimi : A MOI
“À moi” (literally “to me”) is French for “mine”.
65. Dance runner : DEEJAY
The world’s first radio disk jockey (DJ, deejay) was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his debut broadcast in 1909, would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, Newby started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.
66. King of pop : CAROLE
Carole King is a marvelous singer-songwriter from Manhattan, New York. King started her career writing a string of hit songs with her partner and eventual husband Gerry Goffin (although they later divorced). King’s first composition to get to number one was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, which she wrote at 18 years of age for the Shirelles. Not so long ago, my wife and I saw the stage musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, which tells the story of King’s music and life. I highly recommend “Beautiful” …
69. Tammany Hall Tiger artist : NAST
Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. Nast was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today. Thomas Nast drew some famous cartoons in which he depicted the Tammany Society as a vicious tiger that was killing democracy. Nast’s use of the tiger symbology caught on and was used by other cartoonists to harp at the society.
73. Childless couple’s acronym : DINK
The acronym “DINK” stands for “Dual Income, No Kids”, and describes a couple who are both working for a wage, and have no children. The extended term “DINKER” stands for “Dual Income, No Kids, Early Retirement”. The opposite situation is sometimes referred to as SITCOM, meaning “Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage”!
76. “I’ll take what I can get,” in classifieds : OBO
OBO (or best offer)
77. R&B singer Gray : MACY
Macy Gray is an R&B singer noted for her raspy voice, and a singing style that resembles that of Billie Holliday.
82. U.N. workers’ gp. : ILO
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is an agency now administered by the UN which was established by the League of Nations after WWI. The ILO deals with important issues such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
83. Cru output : VIN
“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
87. 1992 Kentucky Derby winner : LIL E TEE
Lil E. Tee was a racehorse who won the 1992 Kentucky Derby in a major upset.
90. Med. man of ’70s TV : DR WELBY
“Marcus Welby, M.D.” is a television series that originally aired from 1969 to 1976. The title role was played by Robert Young.
93. MML ÷ X : CCV
In Roman numerals, MML (2050) divided by X (10) equals CCV (205).
94. NYSE trader : ARB
“Arb” is short for an arbitrageur, one who profits from the purchase of securities in one market and the subsequent sale in another, hence taking advantage of price discrepancies across markets.
102. St.’s second-in-command : LT GOV
In the US, a lieutenant governor is usually the second-in-command to the governor of a state.
103. Sordid : SEAMY
We’ve used “seamy” to mean “the least pleasant, the worst” since the 1600s. The idea comes from the seamed side of a sewn garment being the less attractive.
105. Part of NYSE: Abbr. : EXCH
The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
106. __ Strip : GAZA
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the boundaries of the strip of land on the Mediterranean around Gaza were fixed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. The boundaries were specifically defined but were not to be recognized as an international border. From 1948, the Gaza Strip was occupied and administered by Egypt, until 1967 when Israel took over occupation following the Six-Day War. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which handed over administration to the Palestinian Authority, but with Israel retaining control of the Gaza Strip’s airspace, some land borders and its territorial waters. The intent was to further this agreement, but discussions between the parties broke down. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
108. Semester, e.g. : TERM
“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester system has three parts, and a quarter system has four.
110. First name in legal fiction : ERLE
I must have read all of the “Perry Mason” books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.