Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers come in pairs. The long answers in the across-direction are food items. The answer in the line above (circled letters in the grid) is a TOPPING that often accompanies the dish below:
- 18A. “Know one’s __”: master a subject : ONIONS
- 22A. It’s not a teeny wienie : FOOTLONG HOT DOG
- 24A. Gusto : RELISH
- 27A. Cookout favorite : HAMBURGER
- 43A. Lively Cuban dance : SALSA
- 50A. Crunchy snack choice : TORTILLA CHIP
- 60A. Big __ : CHEESE
- 66A. Trattoria selection : SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
- 81A. Green shade : LIME
- 86A. Beef on the patio : GRILLED STEAK
- 99A. “Drab” color : OLIVE
- 109A. Dorm breakfast, maybe : COLD PIZZA
- 112A. Nabisco noshes : OREOS
- 116A. Dessert with syrup : ICE CREAM SUNDAE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Seabird related to the booby : GANNET
Gannets are large white seabirds that feed by diving into the sea and hunting fish underwater. They plunge into the water from heights of about 100 feet, and hit the surface at speeds in excess of 60 mph.
Boobies are seabirds. There is a suggestion that the name “booby” comes from the Spanish slang “bobo” meaning “stupid”. Boobies were said to be stupid as they were known to land on sailing ships and were easily captured and eaten.
7. Bold & Crispy Fries maker : ORE-IDA
Ore-Ida frozen foods are all made using potatoes. The company is located in Oregon, just across the border from Idaho. “Ore-Ida” is a melding of the two state names.
18. “Know one’s __”: master a subject : ONIONS
The phrase “knowing one’s onions” means “being knowledgeable about a subject”. The expression has been connected with a couple of men with the family name Onions, but the usage predates both of them. Similar phrases such as “know one’s oil/oats/apples” were being used in the US as far back as the 1920s.
19. It’s intoxicating : ETHANOL
Ethyl alcohol is more usually known as ethanol. Ethanol is the alcohol found in intoxicating beverages, and nowadays is also used as a fuel for cars. It is also found in medical wipes and hand sanitizer, in which it acts as an antiseptic.
20. Willow twigs : OSIERS
Most willows (trees and shrubs of the genus Salix) are called just that, willows. Some of the broad-leaved shrub varieties are called sallow, and the narrow-leaved shrubs are called osier. The variety known as osier is commonly used in basketry, as osier twigs are very flexible. The strong and flexible willow stems are sometimes referred to as withies.
22. It’s not a teeny wienie : FOOTLONG HOT DOG
“Wienie” is an informal variant of “wiener”.
What we call a wiener in this country is known as a Vienna sausage in Germany. It was first produced by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna, hence the name “Wiener”, which is German for “of Vienna”. Paradoxically, the same sausage is called a Frankfurter in Vienna, as it was created by someone from Frankfurt. It’s all very confusing …
24. Gusto : RELISH
“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.
25. Place to put down stakes?: Abbr. : OTB
Off-Track Betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.
33. Org. that does searches : TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.
35. “The Kiss” sculptor : RODIN
“The Kiss” is a beautiful sculpture created in 1889 by Auguste Rodin. I’ve had the privilege of standing beside the original, life-size marble work on a few occasions as it is housed in the Rodin Museum, my favorite of all museums in Paris. The Musée Rodin is very special in that the building and garden that hold all of the works were Rodin’s actual home and studio. Well worth a visit if you make it to Paris …
36. Seine feeder : OISE
The River Oise rises in Belgium and joins up with the River Seine just outside Paris.
38. Chain that sells Grand Slam breakfasts : DENNY’S
Denny’s was the first restaurant I ate at on my initial visit to the US many moons ago. I thought I was in heaven. I’ve changed my opinion a little since then! Denny’s is famous for being “always open” (almost), something that blew my mind as a visitor from Ireland back in 1980. Denny’s was founded in 1953 in Lakewood, California, and originally went by the name “Denny’s Donuts”. The enduring Grand Slam breakfast has been on the menu since 1977.
43. Lively Cuban dance : SALSA
The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.
45. New Zealand native : MAORI
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting some time in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities. The Māori refer to New Zealand as “Aotearoa”.
47. The Beatles’ “__ Mine” : I ME
“I Me Mine” is one of the relatively few Beatles songs to have been written by George Harrison (and indeed performed by him). Harrison chose the same title for his autobiography, which was published in 1980 just a few weeks before John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.
50. Crunchy snack choice : TORTILLA CHIP
“Tortilla” translates literally from Spanish as “little cake”.
53. Gardner of mystery : 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.
54. Major work : OPUS
The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”.
55. “Et voilà!” : TA-DA!
“Et voilà” is French for, “and there it is!”
56. Three-time NFL rushing yards leader Adrian : PETERSON
Adrian Peterson is a running back who played college football at the University of Oklahoma and who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2007 NFL Draft. Adrian was a hyperactive kid, and so his father nicknamed him “All Day”, which led to one of his current nickname “A.D.”
58. Hero : SUB
“Hero” is another name for a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.
59. Some sodas : RCS
Nehi Corporation was the nickname for the Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works that introduced the Nehi drink in 1924. Years later the company developed a new brand, Royal Crown Cola (also known as RC Cola). By 1955, RC Cola was the company’s flagship product, so the “Nehi Corporation” became the “Royal Crown Company”. In 1954, RC Cola became the first company to sell soft drinks in cans.
60. Big __ : CHEESE
The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, and was used way back in late 1800s. “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” morphed into “the real cheese”. In early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”.
65. “Big Blue” : IBM
The origin of the IBM nickname “Big Blue” seems to have been lost in the mists of time. That said, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the IBM logo is blue, and almost every mainframe they produced was painted blue. I remember visiting IBM on business a few times in my career, and back then we were encouraged to wear white shirts and blue suits to “fit in” with our client’s culture.
66. Trattoria selection : SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
The term “spaghetti” is a plural diminutive form of the Italian word “spago”, which means “thin string, twine”.
73. Unagi or anago : EEL
“Unagi” is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, and “anago” is the word for salt-water eel.
74. Antenna housing : RADOME
A radome is a weatherproof enclosure surrounding a microwave antenna. Such an enclosure is constructed from materials that do not interfere with electromagnetic signals. “Radome” is a portmanteau of “radar” and “dome”.
75. Parisian pronoun : ILS
“Ils” is the French for “they”, if not referring to feminine nouns (when “they” translates as “elles”).
76. Federation in OPEC : UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (states) in the Middle East. Included in the seven are Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the city of Abu Dhabi being the UAE capital and cultural center.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
83. Magazine founder Eric : UTNE
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984 by Eric Utne, with management taken over by Eric’s wife Nina Rothschild Utne in 1990.
85. “Exodus” hero : ARI
“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris that was first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, a character played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.
91. Seoul soldier : ROK
A South Korean soldier is known as an ROK, an initialism standing for the Republic of (South) Korea.
93. Rwandan people : TUTSI
The Tutsi are the second largest population of people in Rwanda, with the Hutu being the largest group. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.
94. Oil acronym : ARCO
The company name “ARCO” stands for the Atlantic Richfield Company. One of ARCO’s claims to fame is that it is responsible for the nation’s largest Superfund site. Mining and smelting in the area around Butte, Montana polluted the region’s water and soil, and ARCO have agreed to pay $187 million to help clean up the area.
96. Some polytheists : PAGANS
A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world. In classical Latin, “paganus” means “villager, rustic”.
A polytheist is a person who believes in many deities, with the opposite being a monotheist, someone who believes in one god. The ancient Greeks and Romans were polytheists.
98. “Coriolanus” setting : ROME
“Coriolanus” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. The play tells the story of the real-life Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, who lived in the 5th century BC.
99. “Drab” color : OLIVE
We now use the word “drab” to mean “dull, cheerless”. Back in the late 17th century, “drab” was the color of natural, undyed cloth.
103. Saigon soup : PHO
Pho is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.
Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.
112. Nabisco noshes : OREOS
The National Biscuit Company was formed in 1898 with the merger of three existing bakery businesses. The company name today is “Nabisco”, an abbreviated form of “National Biscuit Company”.
116. Dessert with syrup : ICE CREAM SUNDAE
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.
124. Bright circle? : MENSA
If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.
3. Weeper of myth : NIOBE
In Greek mythology, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus when her children were killed. There, she was turned into stone and wept for eternity. There is indeed a Niobe’s Rock on Mount Sipylus (in modern-day Turkey) that resembles a female face, and so is known as “The Weeping Rock”.
5. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL
6. Chinese menu possessive : TSO’S
General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.
8. P’s on frat jackets : RHOS
Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.
10. Lake Mich. state : IND
Of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the only one that is located totally within the US, the others being shared by the US and Canada.
11. He played Scotty on “Star Trek” : DOOHAN
In the “Star Trek” series on television and in the movies, the colorful character named Scotty was played by the Canadian actor James Doohan. Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery at the start of WWII, and participated in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. After surviving the landing, that same day Doohan was shot by one of his own men in a tragic mishap. Doohan was hit six times, with a bullet to his chest stopped by a silver cigarette case he was carrying. One of Doohan’s fingers was shot off in the incident. He managed to conceal that injury during his acting career.
13. TV’s Hercules Kevin __ : SORBO
The actor Kevin Sorbo is best known for playing the leads in the TV shows “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and “Andromeda”. Sorbo married actress Sam Sorbo in 1998, after meeting her on the set of “Hercules”.
16. Feudal lords : SEIGNEURS
“Seigneur” was the name given in France to feudal lords. Such offices were abandoned during the French Revolution.
17. Language that gave us “plaid” : ERSE
Tartan is sometimes called “plaid” over here in the US, a word not used in the same sense outside of this country. The term comes from the Scots Gaelic “plaide”, which is a blanket or a tartan cloth worn over the shoulder.
19. “The one who makes it, takes it” breakfast brand : 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 “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.
21. Nasdaq unit: Abbr. : SHR
28. Hook’s mate : MR SMEE
In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on the pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.
33. Garr of “Mr. Mom” : TERI
The lovely Teri Garr had a whole host of minor roles in her youth, including appearances in nine Elvis movies. Garr’s big break came with the role of Inga in “Young Frankenstein”, and her supporting role in “Tootsie” earned Garr an Academy Award nomination. Sadly, Teri Garr suffers from multiple sclerosis. She is a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“Mr. Mom” is a 1983 comedy written by John Hughes and starring Michael Keaton and the great Teri Garr. The movie is all about an engineer in the auto industry in Detroit who loses his job and then takes over the running of the household while his wife heads back to work. It’s funny stuff …
34. Impertinent sort : SNIP
An impertinent person might be described as a little snip. I’m not sure of the etymology of “snip”, quite frankly …
37. Dispenser made obsolete by the shaker : SALT CELLAR
A salt cellar is small bowl that sits on a table holding salt for the seasoning of food. Salt cellars were popular before free-flowing salt became available in the early 1900s. They have been almost completed displaced now by salt shakers.
38. Cry from Homer : D’OH!
“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”
41. Cat pal of Otis : MILO
“The Adventures of Milo and Otis” is a movie about and orange tabby cat named Milo, and a fawn-colored pug named Otis. The film was originally released in Japanese in 1986, and was revamped for English audiences in a version released in 1989.
44. Its capital is Oranjestad : ARUBA
Oranjestad is the capital city of the island of Aruba in the Caribbean. Aruba is a constituent country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Oranjestad translates as “Orange Town”, and was named for the first King William of Orange-Nassau.
45. “Spy vs. Spy” magazine : MAD
“Spy vs. Spy” is a comic strip that has run in “Mad” magazine continuously since 1961. It was drawn by Antonio Prohias, a refugee from Cuba, until his retirement. The early storyline was very fitting for the times, a statement about the futility of the arms race, detente and the Cold War.
46. Mimosa family tree : ACACIA
Acacia is a genus of tree and shrub that is also known as thorntree, whistling thorn and wattle.
Some members of the Mimosa genus of plant are capable of rapid movement. For example, if you touch the leaves of the Mimosa pudica, they curl up in less than a second.
50. Eighty-six : TOSS
To eighty-six something is to eject it, to throw it out. The origin of the term is unclear. One story is that it originated in the days of prohibition in the West Village of Lower Manhattan, New York City. Whenever there was a scheduled raid on the establishment called Chumley’s, an informant would call ahead and tell the bartender to “86” his customers i.e. to send them out the door on 86 Bedford Street. The cops would then turn up at the entrance on Pamela Court.
53. Aunt with a “Cope Book” : ERMA
“Aunt Erma’s Cope Book” was written by Erma Bombeck and published in 1979. Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.
59. Seehorn of “Better Call Saul” : RHEA
Rhea Seehorn is an actress best known for playing lawyer Kim Wexler in the TV crime drama “Better Caul Saul”.
“Better Call Saul” is a spinoff drama series from the hit show “Breaking Bad”. The main character is small-time lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, who featured in the original series. “Better Call Saul” is set six years before Goodman makes an appearance in the “Breaking Bad” storyline. The lawyer’s real name is James Morgan McGill, and his pseudonym is a play on the words “S’all good, man!”
62. “Another Green World” musician : ENO
“Another Green World” is an album by ambient music pioneer Brian Eno. Eno persuaded a few guest musicians to perform with him on “Another Green World”, including John Cale of Velvet Underground and Phil Collins of Genesis.
63. Oilers, on NHL scoreboards : EDM
The National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers are so called because they are located in Alberta, Canada … oil country.
68. Horse-drawn vehicle : TROIKA
“Troika” is a Russian word meaning “set of three”. “Troika” can apply to a sled or carriage drawn by three horses, or to a folk dance between one man and two women. The term might also apply to a triumvirate of political leaders.
69. Parisian lover’s word : AIME
“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, and into “je t’aime” in French.
70. Fretted instruments : LUTES
The lute is a stringed instrument with a long neck and usually a pear-shaped body. It is held and played like a guitar, and was popular from the Middle Ages right through to the late Baroque era. A person who plays the lute can be referred to as a “lutenist”.
71. Hawaiian island : LANAI
Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai and turned most of it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as “The Pineapple Island”. Today, 98% of the island is owned by Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, and 2% is owned by the State of Hawaii.
80. Saint-__: French Riviera resort : TROPEZ
Saint-Tropez is a town in southeastern France on the French Riviera. These days, Saint-Tropez is very much associated with the European and American jet set. The town is named for a legendary martyr named Saint Torpes of Pisa. Torpes was supposedly executed on the orders of the Roman Emperor Nero. Having been beheaded, his head was tossed into the river Arno, and his body placed in a boat along with a cock and a dog who were to eat the body. The boat came ashore at the present-day location of Saint-Tropez, with the body untouched by the cock and the dog. The local people named their village in honor of Saint Torpes.
82. Martinique, par exemple : ILE
The island of Martinique in the eastern Caribbean is actually a part of France, and is referred to as an “overseas department”. As such, Martinique is part of the European Union and even uses the euro as its currency. The island is fully represented in the French National Assembly and Senate, just like any department within France. It’s sort of like the status of Hawaii within the US.
87. Mathematician Descartes : RENE
The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”.
89. Water collection pit : SUMP
A “sump” has been a “pit to collect water” since the middle of the 17th century. Prior to that, a sump was a marsh or a morass.
95. “No Country for __” : OLD MEN
American novelist Cormac McCarthy published the novel “No Country for Old Men” in 2005, and saw it adapted into a very successful film of the same name released in 2007. The title comes from the opening line of the William Butler Yeats poem “Sailing to Byzantium”, a poem that we Irish school kids all had to read and learn to recite …
98. One of nine Clue cards : ROOM
Clue is board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …
100. Bridge declaration : I PASS
That would be the card game called bridge.
106. Many a Sundance film : INDIE
The Sundance film festival is the largest independent film event in the country, and takes place every year around the Sundance Resort near Provo, Utah. The festival has its roots in the Utah/US Film Festival which started in Salt Lake City in 1978. Management of the festival was taken over by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in 1985. The festival has became a bit of a media feeding frenzy in recent years, as a lot of A-list celebrities attend. The Festival organizers introduced a “Focus on Film” campaign in 2007 to try to offset some of the madness.
109. USN officer : CDR
110. City near Provo : OREM
Orem, Utah was originally known as “Sharon” (a Biblical name), then “Provo Bench”, and in 1914 it was given the family name of a local railroad operator called “Orem”. Orem gave itself the nickname “Family City USA” and sure enough in 2010, “Forbes” rated Orem the 5th best place in the country to raise a family.
Provo, Utah is a city located just over 40 miles south of South Lake City. Provo is home to Brigham Young University. The city was originally called Fort Utah, and the name was changed to Provo in 1850 in honor of Étienne Provost. Provost was a French-Canadian fur trader who was perhaps the first man of European descent to see the Great Salt Lake.
111. Pasta choice : ZITI
Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.
112. Baseball’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.
113. Retired fliers : SSTS
Supersonic transport (SST)
118. Civil War letters : CSA
The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government.