Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are people who can be paired by family name. One family name in the pair is an occupation, and the other is a material used in that occupation:
- 18A. Virginia politician for whom a university is named : GEORGE MASON
- 60A. “Basic Instinct” star (who complements 18-Across?) : SHARON STONE
- 24A. Magical literary orphan : HARRY POTTER
- 47A. 1960 Olympic boxing gold medalist (who complements 24-Across?) : CASSIUS CLAY
- 33A. “Close to You” singer : KAREN CARPENTER
- 42A. “Westworld” actress (who complements 33-Across?) : EVAN RACHEL WOOD
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Reggae relative : SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.
15. Vital supply line : AORTA
The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.
16. Throat dangler : UVULA
The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.
18. Virginia politician for whom a university is named : GEORGE MASON
George Mason was a Virginia politician who served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Mason was one of only three delegates who refused to sign the resulting constitution, citing that the document did not establish a “wise and just government”. Mason was also the first delegate to propose that the nation’s seat of government not be located in a state capital.
22. __ Testamento : NUEVO
In Spanish, the first book in the “Nuevo Testamento” (New Testament) is the Gospel of “Mateo” (Matthew).
23. Custard base : EGG
Our word “custard” evolved from the Middle French “croustade” meaning “meat or fruit pie (with a “”crust”). Over time the letter R fell away leading to “custard”, possibly due to the influence of the other food item “mustard”.
24. Magical literary orphan : HARRY POTTER
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling.
33. “Close to You” singer : KAREN CARPENTER
Karen Carpenter was an accomplished drummer, although she only started playing drums in high school, as a member of the school band. After she graduated she started playing jazz with her brother, Richard, and a college friend. Later, she and Richard played with a group called Spectrum, and submitted many demo tapes to recording companies, but all were unsuccessful. Finally, Karen and Richard got a recording contract with A&M Records, and when they had Karen take the lead on their songs, they hit the big time and toured as the Carpenters. Sadly, Karen passed away at only 32-years-old, dying from heart failure brought on by anorexia.
“(They Long to Be) Close to You” is a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song that was most famously recorded by the Carpenters in 1970. I was surprised to learn that the first recording was by Richard Chamberlain (who played Dr. Kildare on TV).
39. Old World Style sauce : RAGU
The Ragú brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the sauce on the supermarket shelf it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …
40. Formal orders : DICTA
“Dictum” (plural “dicta”) is a legal term describing a statement by a court as part of a judgment.
41. Pet peeve? : FLEA
Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.
42. “Westworld” actress (who complements 33-Across?) : EVAN RACHEL WOOD
Actress Evan Rachel Wood’s most famous role to date is playing one of the leads in the 2003 movie “Thirteen”. Wood appears regularly on the small screen, for example playing a sentient android on the HBO series “Westworld”.
“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.
45. Analyze, in a way : PARSE
The verb “to parse” means “to state the parts of speech in a sentence”. “Parse” comes from the Latin word “pars” meaning “part”.
46. __ Lingus : AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline called Ryanair.
47. 1960 Olympic boxing gold medalist (who complements 24-Across?) : CASSIUS CLAY
The boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta?
59. If-then-__: programmer’s flow : ELSE
In the world of computer programming, an “if-then-else” construct is a type of conditional statement. The idea is that IF a particular condition is met THEN a particular action is executed. The additional ELSE statement can be used to define an alternative action.
60. “Basic Instinct” star (who complements 18-Across?) : SHARON STONE
Actress Sharon Stone’s big break came with her appearance in the erotic thriller “Basic Instinct” released in 1992. Stone really hasn’t landed huge roles in big movies since then, other than the role of Ginger in “Casino”, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Personally I enjoyed her performance in 1994’s “The Specialist”, an entertaining action film in which she played opposite Sylvester Stallone and James Woods.
“Basic Instinct” is a 1992 erotic thriller movie starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. The film was deemed controversial in many sectors of society at the time of its release, but I will say that I like the movie. To me, “Basic Instinct” epitomizes the neo-noir genre …
64. Letters between names : AKA
Also known as (aka)
65. Where “Ratatouille” was cooked up : PIXAR
“Ratatouille” is a 2007 animated film produced by Pixar. The hero of the piece is Remy, a rat whose ambition is to become a chef. Remy was voiced by stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. The veteran actor Peter O’Toole voiced the character Anton Ego, a restaurant critic.
69. Glacial ridge : ARETE
An arete is ridge of rock defining the border between two parallel valleys that have been formed by glaciation. If this ridge is rounded, it is called a “col”. However if it is “sharpened”, with rock falling way due to successive freezing and thawing, then it is called an “arete”. “Arête“ is the French word for “fish bone”.
1. Walk through puddles : SLOSH
We’ve been using the word “puddle” to mean “small pool of muddy water” since the 15th century. The term ultimately comes from the the German “pudeln” meaning “to splash in water”. “Pudelm” is also the derivation of “poodle”, a breed of dog that was used in hunting waterfowl. So, “poodle” and “puddle” are cousins. Quite interesting …
2. It isn’t really a bear : KOALA
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …
6. Home of Stephen King’s alma mater : ORONO
The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine, founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers. The town of Orono is named after Joseph Orono, a chief of the Penobscot Nation. The school’s athletic teams are named the Maine Black Bears.
8. “Full House” star Bob : SAGET
Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.
10. Oscar-nominated director DuVernay : AVA
Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma”, which was centered on the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
26. It is really a bear : PANDA
The giant panda is a bear, and so has the digestive system of a carnivore. However, the panda lives exclusively on bamboo, even though its gut is relatively poorly adapted to extract nutrients from plants per se. The panda relies on microbes in its gut to digest cellulose, and consumes 20-30 pounds of bamboo each day to gain enough nourishment.
30. D-Day city : ST LO
Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.
32. Mrs., in Madrid : SRA
Madrid is the largest city in Spain and the capital. Madrid is located very close to the geographical center of the country. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (after London and Paris). People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.
33. Polynesian intoxicant : KAVA
Kava is a plant found in the western Pacific. Its roots are used to make an intoxicating drink also called kava, which acts as a sedative.
34. Seaweed product : AGAR
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.
35. Pres. title : CIC
Commander in Chief (CIC)
36. Günther’s gripe : ACH!
The German exclamation “ach!” is usually translated into English as “oh!”
38. Micronesian republic : PALAU
Palau is a tiny island nation lying 500 miles east of the Philippines, and 2,000 miles south of Japan. Palau was once a Spanish possession and was sold by Spain to Germany in the late 19th century. During WWI, Japan invaded the islands (as Japan had declared war on Germany) and was awarded the islands as a territory by the League of Nations at the end of hostilities. In WWII the US took Palau from the Japanese in a bloody battle in 1944. Palau emerged from American administration in 1994 and is now a sovereign state.
Micronesia is one of the three island regions of Oceania, along with Polynesia and Melanesia. The sovereign nations included in the region are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau. Also in Micronesia are the US territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Wake Island.
44. Director Anderson : WES
Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums”, released in 2001, not my favorite film by any stretch. However, his 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.
48. Prince Valiant’s son : ARN
In the comic strip, Arn is the eldest son of Prince Valiant and Aleta is his wife. Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called the “Prince Valiant” comic strip the “greatest contribution to English Literature in the past one hundred years”. I’m not so sure …
49. Beyoncé’s “I Am… __ Fierce” : SASHA
Sasha Fierce is an alter-ego that Beyoncé Knowles has developed for her stage and recording work. Beyoncé describes Sasha as very sensual and aggressive. She released a studio album called “I Am… Sasha Fierce” in 2008.
50. Lute kin : SITAR
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.
51. “How do __ thee?” : I LOVE
Here is the beautiful “Sonnet 43” penned by English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
54. “I Am of Ireland” poet : YEATS
Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.
56. Knight who co-founded Nike : PHIL
Nike was founded in 1964 by entrepreneur Phil Knight and track and field coach Bill Bowerman as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). BRS started out by distributing athletic shoes made in Japan. The company started making its own shoes in 1971 and changed its name to Nike, after the Greek goddess of victory.
63. Chemical suffix : -ENE
An alkene is an organic compound made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. It differs from an alkane in that it has at least one C=C double bond. The simplest alkene is the gas ethylene, a major raw material used in the manufacture of plastics (like polyethylene).