Edited by: Rich Norris
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We have a rebus puzzle today, with the Roman numerals V and X standing for FIVE and TEN in several answers:
- 39A. Roman variety store? (and a hint to 10 other puzzle answers) : V AND X (five-and-ten)
- 1A. Roman jet? : DC-X (DC-10)
- 23A. Roman’s advice to prevent an explosion? : COUNT TO X (count to ten)
- 51A. Roman Shakespearean drama? : V-ACT PLAY (five-act play)
- 70A. Roman graveyard shift hour? : V AM (5 a.m.)
- 3D. Roman bowler’s target? : X-PIN (10-pin)
- 4D. Roman musical family? : JACKSON V (Jackson 5)
- 26D. Roman bike? : X-SPEED (10-speed)
- 27D. Roman “high” request? : GIMME V! (“Gimme five!”)
- 40D. Roman Scrabble Q-tile, e.g.? : X-POINTER (10-pointer)
- 57D. Roman’s long golf hole? : PAR-V (par-5)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Roman jet? : DC-X (DC-10)
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a very recognizable passenger aircraft, with one engine under either wing and a third incorporated into the base of the vertical stabilizer at the rear of the plane. The DC-10 made its last commercial passenger flight in 2014, but it remains in service as a cargo plane, particularly with FedEx Express.
4. Start of a rhyming Basque game : JAI
Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …
Basque Country is an area that covers north-central Spain and southwestern France, and is home to the Basque people.
16. The record longest continuous ride on one is 105.57 miles : UNICYCLE
In 2007, a student rode a unicycle for 24 hours around the athletic track at Aberystwyth University. In so doing, the young man broke the record for the longest ride on a unicycle without feet touching the ground, a distance of 105.57 miles. He also covered a total distance of 282 miles over the full 24-hour period.
18. Unlikely to ride a 16-Across well : KLUTZY
(16A. The record longest continuous ride on one is 105.57 miles : UNICYCLE)
A klutz is an awkward individual, with the term coming from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.
19. Hunted Carroll critter : SNARK
“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.
22. A.L. East team : BOS
The Boston Red Sox is one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so commands a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell out since May of 2003.
27. ’80s jeans : GITANOS
Gitano is a brand of jeans that was sold by Kmart in the 1980s.
31. SOP part: Abbr. : STD
Standard operating procedure (SOP)
32. “48 __” : HRS
“48 HRS.” is a hilarious 1982 movie starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. Even though the lead characters play a convict and a cop who team up, “48 HRS.” is often cited as the first of the modern “buddy cop” movies, a precursor to the likes of “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Lethal Weapon”.
33. Assistant who didn’t exist in Mary Shelley’s novel : IGOR
The lab assistant named Igor has turned up in many movies in recent decades, usually appearing as the aide to Dr. Frankenstein. Paradoxically, in Mary Shelley’s original novel, Frankenstein had no assistant at all. Further, the lab assistant introduced in 1931 in the first of the “Frankenstein” series of movies was named Fritz. Bela Lugosi played a character named Ygor in “Frankenstein” sequels in 1939 and 1946, but he was a blacksmith and didn’t work in the lab.
36. “… beneath __ blue sky”: Don Henley lyric : A DEEP
“And rolled beneath a deep blue sky” is a line from the 1989 Don Henley song “The End of Innocence”.
Don Henley is a singer-songwriter and drummer who is best known as a founding member of the Eagles. It’s Henley who is singing lead vocals on the Eagles songs “Desperado”, “One of These Nights” and “Hotel California”.
39. Roman variety store? (and a hint to 10 other puzzle answers) : V AND X (five-and-ten)
A five-and-ten is a store that sells inexpensive items. “Five-and-ten” is an alternative name for “dime store”, “five-and-dime” and “ten-cent store”. The “five-and-ten” name is short for “five-and-ten cent store”.
41. Perry’s creator : 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.
44. F-__ : STOP
Varying the f-stop in a lens varies how big the lens opening (the aperture) is when a photograph is taken. Smaller apertures (higher f-stop values) admit less light, but result in a greater depth of field (more of the photograph is in focus).
51. Roman Shakespearean drama? : V-ACT PLAY (five-act play)
Shakespeare adopted the five-act structure for all of his plays, thereby using the same format that was used by Seneca for his Roman tragedies. Given five acts, the plays tend to unfold as follows:
- Act I is used as an introduction
- Act II is used to complicate things
- Act III contains the climax of the tale
- Act IV is used to add some suspense
- Act V is the conclusion
54. Bargain bin abbr. : IRR
Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)
55. Bete __ : NOIRE
“Bête noire” translates from French as “black beast” and is used in English to describe something or someone that is disliked.
56. Immature dragonfly : NYMPH
Dragonflies are predatory insects and love to feed on flies, bees, ants, wasps and mosquitoes. When dragonflies are in their aquatic larval stage, they are known as nymphs or naiads, and live beneath the water’s surface.
65. Facial feature named after an animal : GOATEE
A goatee is a beard formed by hair on just a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.
66. Muscovite’s denial : NYET
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.
Moscow is the capital of Russia. If one considers Europe to be all points west of the Ural Mountains, then Moscow is the most populous city on the European continent. Moscow also is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world, according to “Forbes” magazine. The city is named for the Moskva River which flows through Moscow. People from Moscow are referred to as Muscovites.
68. They usually leave the park : HOMERS
That would be baseball.
69. Key contraction : O’ER
The words “o’er the ramparts we watched” come from “The Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.
70. Roman graveyard shift hour? : V AM (5 a.m.)
In a three-shift working system, the shifts are known by various names:
- First shift, day shift
- Second shift, swing shift
- Third shift, night shift, graveyard shift
1. R&B’s __ Hill : DRU
Dru Hill is an R&B singing group from Baltimore, Maryland. Dru Hill was formed in 1992, and is still going strong today. The name “Dru Hill” comes from Druid Hill Park which is found on the west side of Baltimore.
3. Roman bowler’s target? : X-PIN (10-pin)
Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.
4. Roman musical family? : JACKSON V (Jackson 5)
The Jackson 5 singing group was originally made up of brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. The four eldest brothers are still performing, now using the name “The Jacksons”.
6. Intestinal : ILEAC
The human ileum (plural “ilea”) is the lowest part of the small intestine, and is found below the jejunum and above the cecum of the large intestine.
8. NutraSweet competitor : SPLENDA
Splenda and Equal are brand names for the artificial sweetener sucralose.
NutraSweet is a brand name for the artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame was discovered by a chemist working for Searle in 1965, but it took 15 years for the company to be granted approval for its sale. I wonder why …???
10. Noodle topper? : HAT
“Noodle” and “bean” are slang terms for the head.
11. “Les __” : MIZ
The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London quite a few years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.
14. “… truth is always strange; / Stranger than fiction” poet : BYRON
Here are some famous lines from Lord Byron’s epic 1823 poem “Don Juan”:
‘Tis strange—but true; for truth is always strange,
Stranger than fiction: if it could be told,
How much would novels gain by the exchange!
How differently the world would men behold!
17. “Willkommen” musical : CABARET
The musical “Cabaret” is based on “I Am a Camera”, a 1951 play written by John Van Druten. In turn, the play was adapted from a novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The action in the musical takes place in the 1930s, in a seedy Berlin cabaret called the Kit Kat Club. “Cabaret” is a great stage musical, although the 1972 film of the musical isn’t one of my favorites.
24. “… there’s __!”: Hamlet : THE RUB
The phrase “To sleep — perchance to dream” comes from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy:
To die — to sleep.
To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
A rub is a difficulty or obstruction. The usage of the term “rub” predates Shakespeare, and comes from the game of lawn bowls in which a rub is a fault in the bowling surface.
27. Roman “high” request? : GIMME V! (“Gimme five!”)
The celebratory gesture that we call a “high five” is said to have been invented by former baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke when they were both playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the later 1970s.
28. Exotic pet : IGUANA
An iguana is a lizard, and as such is cold-blooded. There are times when pet iguanas need heat from an IR lamp to maintain body temperature.
29. Pre-Aztec Mexican : TOLTEC
The Aztec’s viewed the Toltec people as their cultural ancestors. In the “Aztec” language, the term “Toltec” came to mean “artisan”.
30. Multi-armed ocean critter : SEA STAR
Starfish (sometimes known as “sea stars”) come in many shapes and sizes, but commonly have “pentaradial symmetry”, meaning they have symmetric body-shapes with five points. Most starfish are predators, mainly living on a diet of mollusks such as clams and oysters.
35. Bad picnic omen : ANT
Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable pot-luck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.
40. Roman Scrabble Q-tile, e.g.? : X-POINTER (10-pointer)
The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.
48. Dior designs : A-LINES
Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. As WWII approached, Dior was called up by the French military, drawing a temporary halt to his career in fashion. He left the army in 1942 and for the duration of the war designed clothes for wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. After the war his designs became so popular that he helped reestablish Paris as the fashion center of the world.
50. Secret hot date : TRYST
In its most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting. Further, a tryst taking place at lunchtime is sometimes referred to as a nooner.
52. Fed. bill : T-NOTE
A Treasury note (T-Note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-Note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-Bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-Bond matures in 20-30 years.
60. Nanki-__ : POO
“The Mikado” is a wonderful comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, set in the exotic location of Japan. “Mikado” is a former term for the “Emperor of Japan”. In the story, Nanki-Poo is the Mikado’s son, who falls in love with Yum-Yum.
61. Bagpiper’s hat : TAM
A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”.
64. Apollo lander, briefly : LEM
In the Apollo program, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was the vehicle that actually landed on the moon and returned the astronauts to the command module that was orbiting overhead. The third LEM built was named “Spider”, and it participated in the Apollo 9 mission which tested the functionality of the LEM design in space. The fourth LEM was called “Snoopy” and it flew around the moon in the Apollo 10 mission, the dress rehearsal for the upcoming moon landing. Apollo 11’s LEM was called “Eagle” and it brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to and from the moon’s surface. Another famous LEM was Apollo 13’s Aquarius. Although Aquarius never landed on the moon, it did serve as a “lifeboat” for the three astronauts after the explosive rupture of an oxygen canister in the Service Module.