Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s puzzle might have been created by PR MEN. Each of our themed answers comprises two words, each beginning with the letters PR:
- 53A. Ad agency guys responsible for 20-, 38- and 54-Across? : PR MEN
- 20A. Earnings before the government’s cut : PRE-TAX PROFITS
- 38A. Words on a “No Trespassing” sign : PRIVATE PROPERTY
- 54A. Invention that revolutionized book production : PRINTING PRESS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. British bloke : CHAP
“Chap” is an informal term for “lad, fellow”, especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.
“Bloke” is British slang for a fellow. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.
5. Title for a fictional fox : BR’ER
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.
9. Pancake syrup tree : MAPLE
The sugar maple is the state tree of New York, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. It is also the primary source of maple syrup.
15. Coleridge’s “The __ of the Ancient Mariner” : RIME
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge first published in 1798. The publication of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is said to mark the beginning of the Romantic period of British literature. Perhaps the lines most often quoted from the poem are:
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where
Nor any drop to drink
17. Many Manet works : OILS
Édouard Manet was a French painter whose works are mainly classified as Realist. Manet was friends with Impressionists masters like Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir and greatly influenced the Impressionist movement. The list of Manet’s marvelous paintings includes “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe”, “Le Repose” and “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère”.
19. __ Islander: small-state resident : RHODE
The largest US states by land area are, in order:
- New Mexico
The smallest US states are:
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
25. Cops’ orgs. : PDS
Police department (PD)
28. Fave pal, in 67-Across : BFF
Best friend forever (BFF)
31. German pastry : STRUDEL
Strudel is a layered pastry that is usually sweet. The word “strudel” means “whirlpool, eddy” in German.
34. New Haven collegian : YALIE
The city of New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1638 by Puritan immigrants from England. New Haven is home to Yale University. The city also initiated the first public tree planting program in the country. The large elms included in the program led to New Haven being called “the Elm City”.
36. Cribbage piece : PEG
Cribbage is a great card game that originated in 17th-century England, a creation of the poet Sir John Suckling. One of the unique features of the game is that a cribbage board with pegs is used to keep score. Here in the US, cribbage is very much associated with the submarine service, as it is a favorite game of submariners of all ranks.
37. Gossip columnist Barrett : RONA
Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out as with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.
43. Speck in la mer : ILE
In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “la mer” (the sea).
45. Chessmen and board, e.g. : SET
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now “pawns”)
- Cavalry (now “knights”)
- Elephants (now “bishops”)
- Chariots (now “rooks”)
50. “No seats” initials : SRO
Standing room only (SRO)
51. Big __: trademark burger : MAC
The iconic Big Mac sandwich was introduced nationally by McDonald’s in 1967. It was the creation of a Pittsburgh franchisee who offered it on the menu as a response to the very similar “Big Boy” sandwich offered by the competing Big Boy restaurant chain.
54. Invention that revolutionized book production : PRINTING PRESS
The printing press was invented in the mid-15th century by German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg. Books were printed prior to the invention of the press, but the techniques used were clumsy and slow. Gutenberg introduced the concept of movable, reusable type, which revolutionized book production. Fifty years after the introduction of Gutenberg’s press, over twenty million volumes had been produced in Western Europe.
63. __ Hari : MATA
Mata Hari was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zella, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.
64. Smidge : SKOSH
“Skosh” is a slang term meaning “a little bit”, and was originally military slang that came out of the Korean War. “Skosh” derives from the Japanese word “sukoshi” which translates as “few, little, some”.
67. Cellphone messages : TEXTS
Short Message Service (SMS) is the name for the text messaging service that many of us still use on our cell phones to contact our friends and family.
4. Rotini or rigatoni : PASTA
Rotini is the corkscrew-shaped pasta that is often used in pasta salads. Even though “rotini” sounds like it comes from a word meaning “twist, rotate”, the word “rotini” doesn’t exist in Italian other than as the name for the pasta.
Rigatoni is a tubular pasta that is relatively short, and with ridges along its length. The name “rigatoni” comes from the Italian “rigato” meaning “ridged, lined”.
5. Secession approved in a 2016 U.K. referendum : BREXIT
The UK held a referendum in June 2016 in which 52% of voters chose to leave the European Union (EU). The term “Brexit” was used for the vote, a portmanteau of “Britain” and “exit”. The vote has led to some debate about the future of the UK. The Scottish electorate voted for the UK to stay in the EU, and so that revived speculation about Scotland leaving the UK. There’s also some discussion about Northern Ireland’s future in the UK, as the Northern Irish electorate also voted to stay in the EU.
6. Jack the __ : RIPPER
Jack the Ripper was one of the names given to a serial killer who terrorized the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The murders were particularly gruesome, and were all directed towards female prostitutes that worked in the area. The victims had their throats cut and then had their abdominal organs mutilated and sometimes removed. Eleven women were killed, and the murderer was never apprehended.
8. Piccolo relative : RECORDER
The recorder is a woodwind instrument with a whistle mouthpiece. I have to admit to a negative impression of the recorder, as it’s the instrument that so many kids have to learn on the other side of the Atlantic. I’ve heard way too many school recitals featuring banks of recorders …
9. Actress Hemingway : MARIEL
The actress Mariel Hemingway is a granddaughter of the famed author Ernest Hemingway. She was given the name “Mariel” because her father and grandfather used to fish together from the Cuban village of Mariel.
11. Element in matches : PHOSPHORUS
Phosphorus is the chemical element denoted on the periodic table with the symbol P. White phosphorus reacts with oxygen in moist air to produce a green glow, in a process known as chemiluminescence. This chemical process used to be called phosphorescence, although this term is now reserved for a glow after illumination. The glow of phosphorus is the result of a chemical reaction and doesn’t rely on illumination, and so cannot be referred to as phosphorescence. Got that …?
21. On the Caribbean : AT SEA
The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Carib people. The Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.
22. En __: on a hot streak, slangily : FUEGO
A sports player who is doing really well might be said to be “on fire”. Sometimes “on fire” is translated into Spanish and the person is said to be “en fuego”.
32. Michigan’s __ Peninsula : UPPER
Michigan is the only US state that comprises two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula is mitten-shaped, and it is separated from the Upper Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac. My wife is from the “U.P”, and is proud to call her herself a Yooper (from “UPer”).
35. Drips in a hosp. : IVS
One might see intravenous drips (IVs) in an intensive care unit (ICU).
37. Classic roadster : REO
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.
39. Giant : TITAN
The Titans were a group of twelve older deities in Greek mythology, the twelve children of the primordial Gaia and Uranus, Mother Earth and Father Sky. In the celebrated Battle of the Titans, they were overthrown by the Olympians, who were twelve younger gods. We use the term “titan” figuratively to describe a powerful person, someone with great influence.
53. Ad agency guys responsible for 20-, 38- and 54-Across? : PR MEN
Public relations (PR)
55. Oxidation damage : RUST
Rust is iron oxide. Rust forms when iron oxidizes, reacts with oxygen.
58. Like short, clipped notes, in mus. : STAC
Staccato is a musical direction signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, indicating long and continuous notes played very smoothly.
59. Burlap container : SACK
Burlap, also called “hessian”, is a coarse woven fabric made from fibers taken from jute, sisal or hemp plants.
60. Va. summer hours : DST
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring (i.e. “spring forward”) and backwards in the fall (i.e. “fall back”) so that afternoons have more daylight.