Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers comprises a pair of answers that SHARE the same clue number, one in the across-direction and the other in the down-direction. Those answers therefore also SHARE the same starting letter:
- 1A. Like many a postcard scene : PICTURE …
- 1D. – : … PERFECT
- 8A. Imminently dangerous situation : TICKING …
- 8D. – : … TIME BOMB
- 15A. Achilles’ heel : FATAL …
- 15D. – : … FLAW
- 54A. “Need assistance?” : HOW CAN I …
- 54D. – : … HELP YOU?
- 58A. One of dozens, for millions : FACEBOOK …
- 58D. – : … FRIEND
- 95A. Poppycock, with “a” : BUNCH OF …
- 95D. – : … BALONEY
- 101A. Bad person to share appetizers with? : DOUBLE …
- 101D. – : … DIPPER
- 121A. Mr. Spock forte : MIND …
- 121D. – : … MELD
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
15. Achilles’ heel : FATAL …
(15d. – : … FLAW)
Achilles is a Greek mythological figure, the main protagonist of Homer’s “Iliad”. Supposedly when Achilles was born his mother attempted to make him immortal by dipping him into the River Styx. As he was held by the heel as he was immersed, this became the only vulnerable point on his body. Years later he was killed when a poisoned arrow struck him in the heel. That arrow was shot by Paris.
20. “The NFL Today” analyst : ESIASON
Boomer Esiason is a retired NFL quarterback, now working as a sports commentator. Esiason has had the nickname “Boomer” since before he was born. His mother called him “Boomer” because he was constantly kicking away in her womb.
22. Girl in Byron’s “Don Juan” : LEILA
Lord Byron wrote the poem “Don Juan” based on the legend of Don Juan the libertine. For the poem, Byron created the character Leila, a 10-year-old Muslim orphan girl whom Juan rescues from the city of Ismail.
24. Company that merged with Konica : MINOLTA
Minolta was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras and related products. Minolta was founded in 1928 to make cameras using imported German technology. One of the company’s most memorable products was the world’s first integrated autofocus 35mm SLR camera. Minolta merged with Konica in 2003, forming Konica Minolta.
25. Jason’s shipbuilder : ARGUS
In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called the “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.
27. Gross fraction : DOZEN
Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.
The number 144 is also known as a gross. The term comes from the Old French “grosse douzaine” meaning “large dozen”, i.e. a “dozen dozen”.
32. Caribbean islander : ARUBAN
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
36. Trig ratio : SINE
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”
40. Mayo is in it : ANO
In Spanish, “mayo” (May) is one of the months of the “año” (year).
41. Behold, to Brutus : ECCE
The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in Ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”
44. Knowledge of spiritual matters : GNOSIS
“Gnosis” is a Greek word meaning “knowledge”. The related term “Gnosticism” describes a religious movement that espouses the belief that only a few people can have special knowledge or insight into the central tenets of that religion.
46. North Pole feature : TUNDRA
Tundra is an ecosystem that is treeless, or very nearly so. There are three types of tundra. Arctic and Antarctic tundra can’t support the growth of trees as the ground is pretty much frozen. Alpine tundra cannot support tree-growth due to high altitude.
51. City on Lake Michigan : GARY
The city of Gary, Indiana is located just 25 miles from downtown Chicago and falls within the Chicago metropolitan area (also known as “Chicagoland”). Gary was founded by US Steel in 1906, as the company selected it as the site for a new steel plant. The name “Gary” was chosen in honor of Elbert H. Gary, who was the key player in setting up US Steel in 1901.
62. Classic VW : BEETLE
VW stands for Volkswagen, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.
65. Tiny messenger : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.
72. Japanese noodle dish : RAMEN
Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is a also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.
76. 1986 #1 hit for Starship : SARA
The sixties folk group called Jefferson Airplane gave rise to two spin-off groups that were founded by former Jefferson Airplane band members. The first was Jefferson Starship, and the second was Starship. Confusing, huh?
81. Spanish royalty : REYES
In Spanish, “reyes” (kings) rule.
83. Poppycock : ROT
It is thought that the relatively gentle term “poppycock”, meaning “nonsense”, comes from a Dutch word for “dung” combined with a Latin word for “excrete”. Not so gentle after all …
84. West Coast NFLer : NINER
The 49ers football team in San Francisco takes its name from the gold prospectors who flooded into Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. These “1849 prospectors” became known as the “49ers”.
85. Musical Keys : ALICIA
Alicia Keys is the stage name of Alicia Cook, an R&B and soul singer from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.
89. Short-lived Mormon state : DESERET
When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag.
91. Chihuahua neighbor : TEXAS
Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname “El Estado Grande”. The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. The Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.
94. Deli delicacy : LOX
Lox is a brine-cured salmon fillet, finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.
105. Taoist force : YIN
The yin and the yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.
108. “Bus Stop” playwright : INGE
“Bus Stop” is a marvelous play written by William Inge in 1955. The famous 1956 movie of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe is only very loosely based on the play.
109. Berkeley school, familiarly : CAL
The University of California, Berkeley (Cal) is the most difficult public university to get into in the world. It opened in 1869 and is named for Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley.
114. Rouge ou blanc : VIN
In French, a “vin” (wine) might be “rouge” (red) or “blanc” (white).
120. Kate of “Th1rteen R3asons Why” : WALSH
“13 Reasons Why” (“Th1rteen R3asons Why” onscreen) is a Netflix TV drama that is based on the 2007 Jay Asher novel “Thirteen Reasons Why”. The show’s title is a reference to thirteen cassette tapes left by a high school student who committed suicide, with the tapes detailing thirteen reasons why she ended her life.
The actress Kate Walsh is probably best known for playing Dr. Addison Montgomery on “Grey’s Anatomy”, and then leading the cast on the spin-off show “Private Practice”.
121. Mr. Spock forte : MIND …
(121D. – : … MELD)
Mr. Spock was the first to show us the Vulcan mind meld, on the original “Star Trek” series. Vulcans have the ability to meld with the minds of other Vulcans, and indeed humans, in order to see what what’s “going on” in the other individual’s mind.
122. Bridges, in Venice : PONTI
The city of Venice in northeast Italy is built in a saltwater lagoon on the Adriatic Coast, on 117 small islands. The classic transportation along the waterways is the gondola, but this is really only used for tourists these days, as well as on ceremonial occasions. The locals rely on the motorized water-buses.
129. Pisa party? : ITALIAN
The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …
130. English novelist Charles : READE
Charles Reade was an English author who came to public attention with a two-act comedy play called “Masks and Faces”. Reade turned the play into a prose story in 1852 that he called “Peg Woffington”. Reade also wrote a historical novel called “The Cloister and the Hearth” about a married man who becomes a Dominican friar on hearing that his wife has died. Years later he discovers that his wife is in fact still living and a struggle develops between the man’s obligation to family and his obligation to the Roman Catholic Church.
131. Nerve junction : SYNAPSE
A synapse is a junction between a nerve cell and another cell over which an electrical or chemical signal can pass.
5. GI morale booster : USO
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.
6. Mixed martial artist Rousey : RONDA
Ronda Rousey is a mixed martial artist, and the first US woman to win an Olympic medal in judo. Rousey is a popular person online, with hers being the third most searched name on Google in 2015 (after Lamar Odom and Caitlyn Jenner).
7. “Bewitched” character : ENDORA
In the television sitcom “Bewitched”, Endora was Samantha’s mother, with mother, daughter and indeed granddaughter having the magical powers accorded to witches. Endora was played flamboyantly by Agnes Moorehead.
9. One of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” : IRINA
Olga, Masha and Irina were the “Three Sisters” in the play by Anton Chekhov. The three title characters were inspired by the three Brontë sisters, the English authors.
12. “Land ho!” prompter : ISLE
The cry of “land ho!” from a sailor means that land has just been spotted. A similar shout is “sail ho!”, another boat has been spotted.
17. Fertile Crescent waterway : TIGRIS
The Fertile Crescent is a large swath of land in the Near East that includes the Nile Valley in the west and the land around the Tigris and Euphrates in the east.
28. Pueblo people : ZUNI
The Zuni are one of the Pueblo peoples. They live on the Zuni River in western New Mexico, a tributary of the Little Colorado River.
33. Virtual human companion : NEOPET
Neopets.com is a website where one can own a virtual pet. I wouldn’t bother …
35. Name that might pop up during a breakfast conversation : EGGO
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced the original name chosen, which was “Froffles”, created by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.
42. Old yellers : CRIERS
Town criers make public announcements on the streets, usually shouting “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” to attract attention. The term “oyez” derives from the Anglo-Norman word for “listen” and is used in this instance to me “Hear ye!”
43. Biform beast : CENTAUR
The centaur is a creature from Greek mythology, a creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse.
55. Five-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey : ARCARO
Eddie Arcaro was a very successful jockey, the only rider to win the US Triple Crown twice. Arcaro also won more American classic races than any other jockey.
56. Impulse-conducting cell : NEURON
A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The branched projections that receive electrochemical signals from other neurons are known as dendrites. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.
59. Breakdown of social norms : ANOMIE
“Anomie” is social breakdown caused by the erosion of value and standards. The term comes to us via French from Greek. The root words are “a-” (without) “nomos” (law).
61. First Turkish president __ Atatürk : KEMAL
Mustafa Kemal was a Turkish army officer who led the Turkish National Movement following the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI. He then led the Turkish military in resisting Allied forces occupying modern-day Turkey, in what is now referred to as the Turkish War of Independence. Kemal founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and became the new nation’s first president. The Turkish Parliament granted him the name Atatürk in 1934, and name that translates as “Father of the Turks”.
71. Kind of radial tire : STEEL BELTED
Radial (actually “radial-ply) tires are so called because the cord plies embedded in the rubber are arranged radially from the centre of the tire. This means that the plies are at right angles to the direction of travel. In older tires the plies were criss-crossed over each other, at angles of 60 and -60 degrees from the direction of travel. Such tires are called cross-ply or bias tires.
73. Christianity’s __ Creed : NICENE
What is known today in the Christian tradition as the Nicene Creed, was originally adopted by the first ecumenical council when it met in 325 AD. The meeting took place in the city of Nicaea, which gave its name to this particular profession of faith. Nicaea is the Greek name of the city that is now called Iznik, and it lies in the northwest of Turkey.
75. Grinch creator : SEUSS
The Grinch is the title character in Dr. Seuss’s 1957 children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Based on Seuss’s hero, we now use the term “grinch” for someone who is opposed to Christmas festivities or who is coarse and greedy in general.
78. “The Fog of War” director Morris : ERROL
Errol Morris is a film director, best known for his excellent 2003 documentary “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara”. Morris also directed “The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld” in 2013.
88. Champagne choice : BRUT
Sparkling wines can be classified according to sweetness. These classifications are, from driest to sweetest:
- Brut Nature
- Extra Brut
- Extra Dry
92. Trendy coffee order : SOY 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.
98. Wife of Aeneas : LAVINIA
In Roman mythology, Lavinia was the last wife of Aeneas. Aeneas is the hero of Virgil’s epic poem, “The Aeneid”.
100. Muscle-to-bone connectors : TENDONS
Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.
103. Kampala is its capital : UGANDA
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda. The airport that serves Kampala is in the town of Entebbe. Entebbe airport is well known for the daring hostage-rescue carried out by Israeli Defense Forces in 1976 following a hijacking.
112. Base runners? : AWOLS
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).
113. Snow __ : WHITE
“Snow White” is a traditional German fairy tale that was published in 1812 in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. There is also a second, very different Grimms’ Fairy Tale called “Snow-White and Rose-Red”, not to be confused with its more famous cousin. In the latter tale, Snow-White and Rose-Red are sisters who get into trouble with a dwarf, but are rescued by a bear who turns into a prince.
118. Tandoori bread : NAAN
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.
119. Peak in Thessaly : OSSA
Mount Ossa in Greece is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.
The region of Greece known as Thessaly used to be called Aeolia, and appears in Homer’s “Odyssey” under that name.
124. Poppycock : PAP
One meaning of “pap” is soft or semi-liquid food for babies and small children. “Pap” comes into English via French, from the Latin word used by children for “food”. In the 1500s, “pap” also came to mean “an oversimplified” idea. This gives us a usage that’s common today, describing literature or perhaps TV programming that lacks real value or substance. Hands up those who think there’s a lot of pap out there, especially on television …