Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to a complete list of today’s clues and answers
The circled letters in today’s grid spell out the word STOP in FOUR different directions, all meeting at the center of the grid. We have a FOUR-WAY STOP:
- 62A…With 63- and 64-Across, meeting place suggested both literally and graphically by this puzzle’s circled letters..FOUR
- 63A…See 62-Across..-WAY
- 64A…See 62-Across..STOP
- 36A…Whistlers on the range..TEAPOTS
- 37A…Tennis lob strategy..TOPSPIN
- 5D…Popular reading in New York and Washington..THE POST
- 41D…Pandora alternative..SPOTIFY
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.
Cameo is a method of carving, often the carving of a gemstone or a piece of jewelry. The resulting image is in relief (sits proud of the background), whereas an engraved image would be produced by the similar carving method known as intaglio. Nowadays, the term cameo is used for any piece of oval-shaped jewelry that contains the image of a head, usually in profile (maybe even a photograph).
The practice of ostracism, freezing out or exclusion, dates back to Ancient Greece. Back then citizens could write the names of men they thought were exceptionally dangerous on tiles that were publicly posted, resulting in a banishment of ten years. “Ostracize” derives from the Greek “ostrakon”, the word for a “tile”.
Spyware is software that is installed on a computer to gather information without the owner’s knowledge. Nasty stuff …
17…Home to Mykonos and Milos..AEGEAN SEA
The Aegean Sea is that part of the Mediterranean that lies between Greece and Turkey. Within the Aegean Sea are found the Aegean Islands, a group that includes Crete and Rhodes.
Mykonos is a Greek island that is part of the Cyclades group. Mykonos has the nickname “the island of the winds”, a reference to the strong seasonal winds that impact the island in the winter and the summer.
Milos is a one the Cyclades group of Greek islands. Famously, the statue of Aphrodite that can been seen in the Louvre was discovered on the island in 1820. The more famous name for the statue “Venus de Milo” is a reference to the island of Milos.
“To decoct” is to extract the flavor of a liquid by boiling down and increasing the concentration. A related term is “to concoct”, meaning “to boil together”. We use the verb “to concoct” in figurative sense to mean to contrive, devise.
“Vista” is a word meaning “sight, view” that we imported into English from Italian.
26…Condensed, for short: Abbr…SYN
The word “condensed” is a synonym (syn.) for the word “short”.
By definition, a schooner is sailing vessel with two or more masts, but one on which the foremast is shorter than the rear mast(s).
“Silly String” is a brand of “aerosol string”. The “string” exits the aerosol can as a liquid, with the solvent evaporating rapidly in mid-air resulting in a continuous strand. Aerosol string is used as a toy, an application that really annoys me (I’m an old grouch!). However, the military has a use for the product, spraying it over areas where tripwires are suspected. The string falls to the ground if none are present, but gets caught on tripwires that are present without activating any explosive.
40…Park that opened in April, 1965..ASTRODOME
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program.
The word “unkempt” means “disheveled, not well-combed”. It derives from the Old English word “cemban” meaning “to comb”. The opposite to the more common “unkempt” is … “kempt”.
The Baptist denominations of the Christian tradition embrace the doctrine of believer’s baptism as opposed to infant baptism.
Guatemala in Central America became independent from Spain in 1821, first becoming part of the Mexican Empire, and then completely independent two years later.
47…Simile center..AS A
A simile is a figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things that are unalike. For example, a person might be described as “cute as a kitten” or as “busy as a bee”.
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar. For example, an actor may substitute his or her own words for forgotten lines using an ad lib, or a director may instruct an actor to use his or her own words at a particular point in a performance to promote a sense of spontaneity.
54…Like the water in a Simon & Garfunkel song..TROUBLED
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” is a song written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon & Garfunkel in 1970. This marvelous tune became Simon & Garfunkel’s biggest hit, and their signature song.
59…De Tocqueville thought..IDEE
“Idée” is French for “idea”.
Alexis de Tocqueville was a French politician and historian who is famous in the US for his two-volume text “On Democracy in America” (“De La Démocratie en Amérique”) published in 1935 and 1849.
Our word “oaf”, meaning a stupid or clumsy person, comes from the Old Norse word “elf” meaning “silly person”. Our word “elf” has the same root. On the other side of the Atlantic, the plural of “elf” is “elves”, and in some dictionaries the plural of “oaf” is written as “oaves”.
The word “lummox” comes from East Anglian slang (northeast of London). The term is probably a contraction of “lumbering ox”.
The actress Laura Dern is the daughter of the actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Among her many notable roles, Laura played the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the 2008 movie “Recount”, and Dr. Ellie Sattler in the 1993 blockbuster “Jurassic Park”.
3…Ancient Texcoco native..AZTEC
Texcoco was a city-state that lay just northeast of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
5…Popular reading in New York and Washington..THE POST
The “New York Post” is a daily newspaper that has been around since 1801, when it was established by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. In the 19th century, the paper was known as the “New York Evening Post”, and was respected broadsheet. Rupert Murdoch took over in 1993 and turned it into the tabloid rag that it is today.
“The Washington Post” is the oldest paper still being published in the DC area, having been founded in 1877. Famously, “The Post” reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the media’s investigation into what we now called the Watergate scandal. “The Washington Post” was purchased in 2013 by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com.
6…National Mustard Day mo…AUG
National Mustard Day has been celebrated on the first Saturday in August since 1991. The event is sponsored by the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin.
7…Like some parallel bars..UNEVEN
The uneven bars are a piece of equipment used in women’s gymnastics.
13…Neptune or Mars..ROMAN GOD
Neptune was the Roman god of the sea and of freshwater. He was sometimes known as “Neptunus Equester” as he was also the god of horses and patron of horse-racing.
Mars was the god of war in Ancient Rome. Mars was viewed as the father of the Roman people, and the father of Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who founded Rome according to Roman mythology..
14…”Better Call __”..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!”
24…”Father Knows Best” actress Jane..WYATT
Jane Wyatt was an actress best known for playing housewife and mother Margaret Anderson on the fifties TV show “Father Knows Best”. More recently, Wyatt played Spock’s human mother on the original “Star Trek” television series.
“Father Knows Best” is a radio and television sitcom that ran in the 1940s and 1950s. The title character was played by Robert Young, the actor who later played the title role on “Marcus Welby, M.D.”
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”.
Iams dog food was produced by the animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.
“Svelte” comes into English from Latin, via the Italian “svelto” meaning “stretched out”. Something or someone described as svelte would be slender and graceful.
30…River to the North Sea..TYNE
The River Tyne is in the northeast of England. The most famous city on the river is Newcastle upon Tyne. Newcastle upon Tyne is home to the famous Newcastle Brown Ale.
The North Sea is an offshoot of the Atlantic Ocean that is located between Britain and Scandinavia.
“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.
Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: “Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937). One of Wolfe’s endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.
The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “carp” so that it came to mean “find fault with”.
34…Half-brother of Ishmael..ISAAC
According to the Hebrew Bible, Isaac was the second son of Abraham, born to his wife Sarah when she was beyond her childbearing years and when Abraham was 100 years old. Isaac himself lived until he was 180 years old. When Isaac was just a youth, Abraham was tested by Yahweh (God) and told to build an altar on which he was to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute an angel appeared and stopped Abraham, telling him to sacrifice a ram instead.
Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, according to the Bible and the Qur’an. Ishmael’s mother was Hagar, the handmaiden to Abraham’s wife Sarah.
35…GMC Terrain, for one..SPORT UTE
The Terrain is GMC’s smallest SUV.
38…Maine college town..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.
Spotify is a popular music-streaming service that was launched in Sweden in 2008.
Pandora is a clever music-streaming site that runs what’s called the Music Genome Project. The idea behind the project is that particular pieces of music can be classified by specific characteristics (genes). The assumption is that given a person’s liking for the genome of a particular song, then a recommendation of another song with a similar genome will also be enjoyed by that person. I’ve used Pandora quite a lot, and it seems to work!
45…NFL ball carriers..RBS
In football, one might hand off to the running backs (RBs).
The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests.
As one might perhaps imagine, “in lieu” comes into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum”, also meaning “place”. So, “in lieu” means “in place of”.
53…Actor Robert of “The Sopranos”..ILER
The actor Robert Iler’s most famous role was A.J., son of mob leader Tony Soprano in HBO’s “The Sopranos”. Apparently Iler’s screen persona has spilled over into his personal life, as he was arrested for armed robbery of two tourists in 2001 (and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge).
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.