Edited by: Rich Norris
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The circled letters running “atilt”, diagonally, through today’s grid spell out the idiomatic phrase “TILT AT WINDMILLS”. Said phrase comes from an event in the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes:
- 60A. Classic character whose exploits inspired the phrase in this puzzle’s circles : DON QUIXOTE
- 17A. 60-Across’ noble status : KNIGHTHOOD
- 24A. 60-Across’ home : LA MANCHA
- 49A. 60-Across’ beloved : DULCINEA
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Wingding : BASH
A wingding is a wild and enthusiastic celebration. This meaning of the term started to be used in the late 1940s. Back in the twenties, “wingding” was hobo slang, a word describing a fake seizure designed to attract attention and sympathy.
9. Word often improperly punctuated : ITS
The word “it’s” is a contraction for “it is”, as in “it’s a fun crossword”. The spelling “its”, without an apostrophe, is used in all other cases, most commonly as the possessive form of the pronoun “it”. In that sense, “its” is akin to the pronouns his, hers, ours, etc., as in “the newspaper is known for its great crosswords”.
12. Small stream : RILL
The word “rill”, meaning a small brook or rivulet, has German roots. It has the same roots as “Rhine”, the name of the major European river.
13. Satellite radio giant : SIRIUS
XM Satellite Radio used to be in competition with Sirius Satellite Radio but the FCC allowed the two companies to merge in 2008 forming SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
16. Jackie Robinson Stadium sch. team : UCLA
Jackie Robinson Stadium is the baseball stadium owned by UCLA that is home field for the UCLA Bruins. Located off-campus, the stadium was constructed using funds donated by Hoyt Pardee. Pardee and Jackie Robinson were classmates who graduated from UCLA in 1941.
19. “Bother someone else!” : SCAT!
Our word “scat”, meaning “get lost!” comes from a 19th-century expression “quicker than s’cat”, which meant “in a great hurry”. The original phrase probably came from the words “hiss” and “cat”.
20. Footnote term : IDEM
“Idem” is usually abbreviated as “id.” and is the Latin word for “the same”. In research papers, “idem” is used in a list of references, in place of citations “already mentioned above”.
21. Collagist’s supply : PASTE
A collage is a piece of artwork that is made by assembling pieces of paper and objects that are glued onto paper or canvas. The term “collage” comes from the French “coller” meaning “to glue”.
24. 60-Across’ home : LA MANCHA
(60A. Classic character whose exploits inspired the phrase in this puzzle’s circles : DON QUIXOTE)
La Mancha is a region in Spain, a plateau lying south of Madrid. The area became famous after publication of the novel “Don Quixote de La Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes.
27. “O god of battles! __ my soldiers’ hearts”: Henry V : STEEL
“O God of battles! steel my soldiers’ hearts” is a line spoken by the title character in William Shakespeare’s play “Henry V”.
Shakespeare’s play “Henry V” is more correctly called “The Life of Henry the Fifth”. The story mainly focuses on his life before and immediately after the king’s celebrated victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt. “Henry V” includes one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated speeches, an address by the king to his troops at the siege of Harfleur, with the opening lines:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead …
31. White House section : WING
The White House was designed by an Irishman, I am proud to say. James Hoban from County Kilkenny emigrated to the US in his twenties, and won the design competition for the White House in 1792.
41. ESPN’s Hershiser : OREL
Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.
43. Johnny who was the last pitcher to face Babe Ruth : SAIN
Johnny Sain was a baseball pitcher for whom most success came playing with the Boston Braves just after WWII. He faced two great players at important times in their careers. He was the last person to pitch against Babe Ruth in a game, and the first to pitch in the Majors against Jackie Robinson.
44. Catcher on the ranch : LASSO
Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.
56. Hunter on high : ORION
The very recognizable constellation of Orion is named for the Greek God Orion, the Hunter. If you take a look at the star in Orion’s “right shoulder”, the second brightest star in the constellation, you might notice that it is quite red in color. This is the famous star called Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, a huge star that is on its way out. Betelgeuse is expected to explode into a supernova within the next thousand years or so. You don’t want to miss that …
57. Wolverine, for one : X-MAN
In the Marvel Comics universe, Wolverine is a mutant with keen animal-like senses and an ability to regenerate body parts after injury. He usually appears as a member of the X-Men superhero team. On the big screen, Wolverine is regularly played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman.
59. Hipbone prefix : ILIO-
The ilium is the upper portion of the hipbone.
60. Classic character whose exploits inspired the phrase in this puzzle’s circles : DON QUIXOTE
The full name of Cervantes’s novel is “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha”. In the story, Don Quixote is a retired country gentleman who heads out as a knight-errant and who renames himself Don Quixote of la Mancha. In his mind he designates a neighboring farm girl called Aldonza Lorenzo as his lady love, and renames her Dulcinea del Toboso.
63. Santana’s “__ Como Va” : OYE
“Oye Como Va” is a song written by Tito Puente in 1963. The best-known recording is the cover version by Santana released in 1970.
Santana is a Latin rock band from by guitarist Carlos Santana in San Francisco in 1967. Santana’s big break came with a well-received performance at Woodstock in 1969, when the band was completely unknown.
65. Khartoum waterway : NILE
Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.
66. Sautéing sound : SSS
“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.
67. Top 500? : INDY
The Indianapolis 500 race is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The race is run around a 2.5 mile oval, hence requiring 200 laps for completion. The first Indy 500 race was held on Memorial Day in 1911. The winner that day was one Ray Harroun. Harroun had seen someone using a rear view mirror on a horse-drawn vehicle, and decided to fit one on his Marmon “Wasp” motor car. Supposedly that was the first ever use of a rear view mirror on a motor vehicle.
68. Hole starters : TEES
That would be in golf.
2. “The Addams Family” film actress : RICCI
Christina Ricci is an American actress who found fame on the big screen at an early age, playing the very young Wednesday Addams in the 1991 movie version of “The Addams Family”.
3. Macabre fiction middle name : ALLAN
Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 39 years of age.
4. Almost all of Tibet : PLATEAU
Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.
6. Disney mermaid : ARIEL
“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton.
7. Summation symbol in math : SIGMA
Sigma is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is the one used for an “ess” sound, equivalent to our letter S. Sigma is used in mathematics to represent a summation, the adding together of a sequence of numbers.
9. Like some triangles : ISOSCELES
An isosceles triangle is one that has two sides of equal length, and two equal internal angles.
In geometry, there are several classes of angles:
- acute (< 90 degrees)
- right (= 90 degrees)
- obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees)
- straight (180 degrees)
- reflex (> 180 degrees)
13. Part of a Girl Scout uniform : SKIRT
The Girl Guides of America organization was founded in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia. That first meeting formed a troop consisting of eighteen girls. There are now almost 4 million girl scouts. Just one year after its formation, the group changed its name to the Girl Scouts of the United States and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C.
14. Mar. honoree : ST PAT
There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.
18. Playtex sister brand : HANES
The Hanes brand of apparel was founded in 1901. A related brand was introduced in 1986 called Hanes Her Way.
Playtex Apparel makes bras and other lingerie. The most popular Playtex bras are iconic names such as “the Living Bra”, “the Cross Your Heart Bra” and “the Eighteen Hour Bra”. The famous slogan “it lifts and separates” is associated with the Cross Your Heart Bra and dates back to 1954.
25. Catholic title: Abbr. : MSGR
Monsignor (Msgr.) is a form of address used when speaking to some high ranking members of the Roman Catholic Church. The word “monsignor” comes from the Italian “monsignore” which in turn comes from the French “mon seigneur” meaning “my lord”.
29. Pants with texture : CORDUROYS
There’s a myth that the name of textile known as “corduroy” comes from the French “corde du roi” (the cord of the king). It’s more likely that “corduroy” comes from a melding of “cord” and “duroy” (a coarse fabric that used to be made in England).
31. One of two states formed during the U.S. Civil War : WVA
The state of West Virginia was formed during the civil war when the western counties in the old state of Virginia voted to secede from the Confederate state.
42. With 36-Across, French title of a Rimsky-Korsakov opera that translates to “The Golden Rooster” : LE COQ …
(36A. See 42-Down : … D’OR)
“The Golden Cockerel” (“Le coq d’or”) is a an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov that was premiered in 1909 in Moscow. Sadly, that premiere was a year after the composer died.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was one of the great Russian composers from the Romantic Era. His most famous works are probably “Capriccio Espagnol” and “Scheherazade”. While he was composing, Rimsky-Korsakov spent much of his working life as an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy.
49. Extinct birds : DODOS
The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.
50. Half a 1999 gas merger : EXXON
The Exxon Corporation was a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Exxon merged with Mobil (yet another descendant of Standard Oil) in 1999 to form ExxonMobil.
53. Stan’s partner : OLLIE
Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. Hardy used the stage name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father Oliver Hardy. His early performances were credited as “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, and off camera his nickname was “Babe Hardy”. Hardy appeared in several films that also featured the young British actor Stan Laurel, but it wasn’t until 1927 that they teamed up to make perhaps the most famous double act in the history of movies. The Laurel and Hardy act came to an end in 1955. That year, Laurel suffered a stroke, and then later the same year Hardy had a heart attack and stroke from which he never really recovered.
Stan Laurel was an English comic actor (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson), who made a great career for himself in Hollywood. Laurel ended up at the Hal Roach studio directing films, intent on pursuing a career in writing and directing. However, he was a sometime actor and was asked to step in when another comic actor, Oliver Hardy, was injured and couldn’t perform. Laurel and Hardy started to share a stage together during that time and when it was clear they worked so well together, their partnership was born. Oh, and the oft-quoted story that Clint Eastwood is the son of Stan Laurel … that’s just an urban myth.
54. De Gaulle’s birthplace : LILLE
Lille is a large city in the very north of France sitting right on the border with Belgium. The name “Lille” is a derivation of the term “l’isle” meaning “the island”. The name “L’Isle” dates back to 1066, and is a reference to a castle that once stood on an island in the Deûle river that runs through the city. The city grew around the island and the castle.
Charles de Gaulle was a colonel in the French army at the outbreak of WWII. He was promoted to brigadier general after a successful attack on German tank forces in 1940, one of the few successes enjoyed by the French at the start of the war. Some months later, he was appointed junior minister in the French government, at which time he strenuously argued against surrender to Germany, advocating removal of the government to the French territory of Algeria. He was unsuccessful in his arguments and so flew to England where he set about building the Free French Forces from soldiers who had also fled the country. De Gaulle made several important radio addresses to the French from London that helped rally the resistance movement. Despite a shaky relationship with Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower, De Gaulle managed to maintain a working relationship with the rest of the Allies and was accepted as leader of the new French government when Paris was liberated in 1944.
58. DOJ employee : ATTY
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) was created in 1870 by the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, although the office of the Attorney General had been operating since 1789. The DOJ Building in Washington, D.C. was completed in 1935, and was named the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in 2001.
61. Here, in Le Havre : ICI
Le Havre is a city on the mouth of the river Seine on the northwest coast of France. The city’s name translates as “the haven”.