Edited by: Rich Norris
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Perhaps in honor of April Fools’ Day, we have a mini-themed Saturday puzzle. Starting from the letter S at the 40-across answer SNAGS, we have the letters STAIRS reading in the northeasterly direction, AT A SLANT:
- 57A. Like an escalator, and, aptly, like the six-letter word that begins where 40-Across ends : AT A SLANT
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Shuttle facility : SPACELAB
Spacelab was a modular science laboratory that was carried in the cargo bay of 32 Space Shuttle missions from 1981 until 2000. It was designed and constructed by 10 European nations with funds from the European Space Agency (ESA), with NASA providing ground facilities and managing Space Shuttle flights.
9. Auto shop purchase : RADIAL
Radial tires (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.
15. Slender smoke : PANATELA
A panatela is a long thin cigar. It is a about the length of a “regular” cigar, but is not much wider than a cigarette.
16. Thorny shrub : ACACIA
Acacia is a genus of tree and shrub, also known as thorntree, whistling thorn and wattle.
22. Autumn shade : OCHER
Ochre is often spelled “ocher” in the US (it’s “ochre” where I come from). Ocher is a light, yellowy-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher.
23. Many profs : PHDS
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for an earned PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.
24. Oktoberfest supply : BIER
“Bier” is the German word for “beer”.
Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …
25. Transportation option : UBER
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft. Personally, I love the service and have only had good experiences …
28. Jaunty topper : 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”.
Our words “jaunty” and “genteel” are related in that they both derive from the French “gentil” meaning “nice, pleasing”. In modern usage, someone described as jaunty has a buoyant air. Someone described as genteel is refined in manner.
30. Ja, across the border : OUI
The word “yes” translates into German as “ja”, and into French as “oui”.
31. Beezus’ little sister, in Cleary books : RAMONA
Ramona Quimby is a character in a series of “Henry Huggins” children’s novels penned by Beverly Cleary. As she aged, Ramona merited her own set of stories.
38. Super __ : PAC
A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.
43. Punxsutawney headliner : PHIL
Punxsutawney is a borough in Pennsylvania, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Punxsutawney Phil is the famous groundhog that lives in the area. Phil comes out of his hole on February 2 each year and if he sees his shadow he goes back into his hole predicting six more weeks of winter weather. February 2 is known as Groundhog Day.
44. Default result : REPO
46. “Growing Up in New Guinea” author : MEAD
“Coming of Age in Samoa” sounds like a fascinating book. It was written by American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead and published in 1928. In the book, Mead examines the behavior of youths in Samoa, making some comparisons with youths in America. One major observation she made was the smooth transition from childhood to adulthood of Samoan girls, compared to what she described as a more troublesome transition in the US. Mead followed up “Coming of Age in Samoa” with a similar work in 1930 titled “Growing Up in New Guinea”, which documented her observations of the people of the Manus Province of Papua New Guinea.
47. Joint component : TENON
One simple type of joint used in carpentry is a mortise and tenon, basically a projection carved at the end of one piece of wood that fits into a hole cut into the end of another. In a dovetail joint, the projecting tenon is not rectangular but is cut at a bias, so that when the dovetails are joined they resist being pulled apart. You’ll see dovetail joints in drawers around the house.
48. Hatchling from a green egg : EMU CHICK
Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs.
50. Art incorporating architectural elements : MURALS
A “mural” is a painting that is applied directly to a wall or a ceiling. The term comes from the Latin “murus” meaning “wall”.
52. Rule with many exceptions : I BEFORE E
“I before E, except after C”, although with so many exceptions, I don’t think that this rule is taught in schools anymore …
54. Software giant : ORACLE
Oracle is a huge software company with a headquarters in Redwood City, California. Oracle’s main product is enterprise software, software that meets the needs of an organization rather than an individual user. Oracle was co-founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison, who is now one of the richest businesspeople in the world.
2. Emergency exit device : PANIC BAR
A crash bar or panic bar is a special door handle that allows someone to open a locked door quickly, often in the case of an emergency. Crash bars are often mandated by fire regulations on the doors used to exit a building.
3. Something detested : ANATHEMA
“Anathema” is a source of persistent annoyance. Anathema is the Latin word for an excommunicated person. Note that “anathema” does not take an article, so we say “he is anathema” rather than “he is an anathema”.
5. Heavens : ETHER
The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also “ether”). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets.
8. Its sung in the same act as “Some Enchanted Evening” : BALI HA’I
The 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific” is based on stories from the 1947 book “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A. Michener. “South Pacific” really is a classic show featuring some classic songs, like “Bali Ha’i”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”, “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Happy Talk”.
14. Surgical tools : LASERS
The term “laser” comes is an acronym standing for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER!
21. Wartime prez : FDR
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.
23. Fruity cocktail word : PINA
“Piña colada” is a Spanish term which translates into “strained pineapple”. The Piña colada cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton San Juan in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum …
26. Fuzz : LINT
Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the pond …
30. Colorful ring tone producer? : OPAL
An opal is often described as having a milky iridescence, known as “opalescence”.
33. Arrived home evasively : SLID
That would be baseball.
35. Layered dessert : NAPOLEON
A Napoleon is a French layered pastry that is often called a “mille-feuille” on the other side of the Atlantic. “Mille-feuille” is French for “thousand-leaf”. The origin of the “Napoleon” name is unclear, but is thought to derive from the French “napolitain” meaning “from Naples”. The shift to “Napoleon” perhaps took place during the reign of Napoleon I, although there is no direct connection to the emperor.
37. Colombian singer formerly a coach on “The Voice” : SHAKIRA
Shakira is a hugely successful singer from Colombia. She used to appear on TV as one of the coaches on the reality show “The Voice”. Shakira is the highest-selling Colombian performing artist of all time.
40. Hearing aid, briefly? : STENOG
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).
42. Oranjestad native : ARUBAN
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.
43. Pumping target, for short : PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.
44. Casino table do-over : REROLL
The “casino” originated in the 1700s, first describing a public room for music or dancing. The name “casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.
46. Daughter of Billy Ray : MILEY
Miley Cyrus became famous playing the Disney Channel character “Hannah Montana”. Miley is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. When she was born, Billy Ray and his wife named their daughter “Destiny Hope”, but soon they themselves calling her “Smiley” as she was always smiling as a baby, and this got shortened to Miley over time. Cute …
47. Medford school with a Boston campus : TUFTS
Tufts University is a private school in the city of Medford, near Boston. The school was built in 1852 on land donated by Charles Tuft a local businessman. One of the early benefactors of the school was P. T. Barnum who funded the Barnum Museum of Natural History located on the college grounds. This museum is home to the stuffed hide of Jumbo, the famous elephant. Jumbo is also the school’s mascot.
49. Tobogganing spot : HILL
“Toboggan” came into English from the French Canadian “tabagane”, the name for a long sled with a flat bottom. The French Canadian word is probably from the Algonquian word for a sled, “tobakun”,
50. Prefix with carpal : META-
There are five metacarpal bones in each hand. They make up the framework of the palm and the back of the hand. Each metacarpal is connected to a finger and the wrist. The equivalent bones in the foot are called the metatarsals.
53. Swing in a box : BAT
That would be baseball.