Edited by: Rich Norris
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In music, the notation CRESCENDO instructs a performer to change volume from quiet (piano, or “p”) to loud (forte, or “f”). So, we have themed answers here that are common phrases, but with a “P” sound changing to an “F” sound:
- 23A…Brilliant bit of deception?..LUMINOUS FEINT (from “luminous paint”)
- 37A…Taciturn circus entertainers?..QUIET FLEAS (from “quiet, please”)
- 66A…Panel judging phobic reactions?..JURY OF ONE’S FEARS (from “jury of one’s peers”)
- 95A…Award ceremony side dish?..NOBEL FRIES (from “Nobel Prize”)
- 113A…Gradually doze during a long meeting?..FADE BY THE HOUR (from “paid by the hour”)
- 14D…Charge in an Everglades water taxi?..ALLIGATOR FARE (from “alligator pear”)
- 56D…”Charlie’s Angels” actress on her sloop?..FARRAH SAILING (from “parasailing”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
The Talladega Superspeedway is the longest oval on the NASCAR circuit with a length of 2.66 miles. It also has seating for a whopping 175,000 spectators. The track opened in 1969, built on an abandoned airfield north of the city of Talladega, Alabama. The circuit is renowned for its supposed Talladega Jinx, which is said to have caused a number of accidents and incidents over the years. There has been a relatively high number of fatalities and crashes, including the death of driver Larry Smith in what was apparently a minor wreck, and the death of driver Davey Allison in a helicopter crash in the raceway’s infield. In another strange occurrence, driver Bobby Isaac left his car on the 90th lap of a race as he claims he heard voices that told him to park and get out of his vehicle.
22…Like Hobart College..ALL-MALE
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, are known collectively as the Colleges of the Seneca. Hobart is an all-male institution, and William Smith is all-female.
Roadies working with a musical band on tour have to tote amps from venue to venue.
28…Toledo title: Abbr…SRA
Toledo is a city in central Spain, located just over 40 miles south of the capital Madrid. Toledo is sometimes called the “City of Three Cultures”, due to the historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions.
30…Mississippi explorer..LA SALLE
Robert de La Salle (more completely “René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle”) was an explorer famous for his exploits in North America. La Salle’s expeditions brought him from the Great Lakes in the north of the modern-day US to the Gulf of Mexico in the south.
34…Clemson U. is in it..ACC
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Clemson University was founded in 1889. The school takes its name from the town in which it is located: Clemson, South Carolina. The athletic teams of Clemson University have been called the Tigers since 1896 when a new football coach, Walter Riggs, arrived from Auburn University. Riggs was an admirer of the Princeton Tigers, so he gave his new school the tiger mascot.
36…Like a brioche..EGGY
“Brioche” is a French bread that has been enriched with lots of egg and butter, to the extent that it is also considered a pastry.
40…Joshua trees, e.g…YUCCAS
Yuccas are a genus of shrubs and trees that live in hot and dry areas of North and South America. One of the more famous species of Yucca is the Joshua tree. Yuccas has a very unique pollination system, with moths transferring pollen from plant to plant.
Joshua Tree is the common name for the plant species more correctly called Yucca brevifolia. One of the best places to see Joshua Trees is in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The plant was named by Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s. The name was chosen as the shape of the tree reminded the settlers of Joshua reaching his hands to the sky in prayer.
42…Variety of tricks?..BAG
… as in “bag of tricks”.
Tai Babilonia is a retired figure skater, long time partner of Randy Gardner. The pair started skating together when she was just eight years old, and stayed together until she was 49, retiring in 2008. Babilonia was engaged to the comedian David Brenner, but he passed away in 2014 before they could get married.
We’re all in the same boat with this crossword, all in the same predicament.
49…19th-century French composer Édouard..LALO
Édouard Lalo was a classical composer from France. Lalo’s most famous work is probably the complex opera “Le roi d’Ys”, which is based on a Breton legend.
54…Sci. with biomes..ECOL
I tend to think of “biome” as an alternative word for ecosystem.
55…Muscle mag display..PECS
“Pecs” is a familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.
57…”Breaking Bad” channel..AMC
The AMC drama “Breaking Bad” is a well-written show about a high school teacher stricken by lung cancer who turns to a life of crime to make money. It turns out that he has a talent for making high-quality crystal meth.
69…Co-star of Boyer in “Algiers”..LAMARR
Hedy Lamarr was an American actress, originally from Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of the frequency-hopping spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive …
The marvelous actor Charles Boyer was a success in French theater in the 1920s, and then a Hollywood star from the 1930s. In the thirties Boyer played mainly romantic leads, but my favorite role of his is the menacing male lead in the 1944 thriller “Gaslight”. Boyer was married once, to British actress Pat Paterson, a marriage that lasted for 44 years. Boyer committed suicide just two days after his wife died in 1978.
“Algiers” is a 1938 film starring Charles Boyer as a French jewel thief hiding out in the Casbah in Algiers. “Algiers” was a big box-office hit, largely due to the Hollywood debut of Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr. It is said that the screenwriters of the 1942 film “Casablanca” were inspired by the success of “Algiers”, and indeed wrote the “Casablanca” screenplay with Lamarr in mind for the female lead. Lamarr was offered the role, MGM refused to release her from her contract, and so Ingrid Bergman was chosen to play Ilsa Lund.
Federal emergency management has been structured for over 200 years, but what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 in an Executive Order issued by President Jimmy Carter.
73…Org. found in alleys..PBA
Professional Bowlers Association (PBA)
76…Good place for views..OP-ED PAGE
Op-Ed is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-Eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.
That would be in tennis, for example.
82…Florida’s __ City..DADE
Dade City, Florida is located in the Tampa Bay Area. The city evolved from a community named Fort Dade that existed in the 1870s. Dade City was home to a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII that housed mainly German soldiers from Rommel’s Afrika Korps, who were captured in North Africa.
83…Lanford Wilson’s “The __ Baltimore”..HOT L
“The Hot l Baltimore” is a play by Lanford Wilson about the manager and residents of a dilapidated hotel in Baltimore. The play’s name comes from the establishment’s neon sign which is meant to read “Hotel Baltimore”, but the burnt-out “e” in “Hotel” was never replaced.
93…Switch-hitter with the most career homers..MANTLE
Mickey Mantle only played professional baseball for the one team, spending 18 years with the New York Yankees. Mickey Mantle memorabilia is highly prized, especially since he retired from the game in 1969, and even more so since he died in 1995. The only other player memorabilia said to command a higher price is Babe Ruth’s. Mantle holds the record for the most career home runs by a switch hitter, as well as the most World Series home runs.
Brest is a port city in northwest France, and is the second largest military port in the country. Brest was an important base for German U-boats during WWII when France was occupied by the Nazis. Brest is the most westerly city in the whole country.
99…Eponymous tree, streetwise..ELM
The most common street name in the US is “Second Street”. “First Street” comes in only at number three, and this is because many cities and towns forego the use of “First” and instead go with “Main” or something more historical in nature. “Elm Street” appears on the list at number fifteen.
“Triage” is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on a battlefield. The term “triage” is French and means “a sorting”.
105…Milne’s absent-minded Mr…PIM
A. A. Milne (of “Winnie-the-Pooh” fame) wrote a play called “Mr. Pim Passes By” in 1919. The play was a big hit and starred Leslie Howard in the original London production.
118…Its NYSE symbol is “X”..US STEEL
US Steel was founded in 1901 with a merger of Carnegie Steel, Federal Steel and National Steel. The resulting company immediately became the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. US Steel reorganized in 1986 and changed its name to USX Corporation, but reverted to the US Steel name in 2001. I think I’m right in saying that the USX name was chosen because US Steel is traded under the symbol “X” on the New York Stock Exchange.
119…Commemorative 1999 Broadway revue..FOSSE
“Fosse” is a musical revue that opened on Broadway in 1999 and ran for over a thousand performances. It showcases the choreography of Bob Fosse.
Bob Fosse won more Tony Awards for choreography than anyone else, a grand total of eight. He also won an Oscar for Best Director for his 1972 movie “Cabaret”, beating out the formidable Francis Ford Coppola who was nominated that same year for his epic, “The Godfather”.
120…Part of Procter & Gamble..AND SIGN
Procter & Gamble was a founded in 1837 by William Procter and James Gamble. Procter was a candlemaker, an immigrant from England. Gamble was a soapmaker, an immigrant from Ireland. The pair had settled in Cincinnati and married two sisters. Their father-in-law persuaded the two to set up in business together, and rest is history.
121…Savings vehicle named for a sen…ROTH IRA
Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs) were introduced in 1997 under a bill sponsored by Senator William Roth of Delaware, hence the name.
Tweed is a rough woolen fabric very much associated with Scotland in the UK, and County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth was originally called “tweel”, the Scots word for “twill”. Apparently a London merchant misinterpreted some handwriting in the early 1800s and assumed the fabric was called “tweed”, a reference to the Scottish River Tweed, and the name stuck …
Fila was originally an Italian company, founded in 1911, that is now based in South Korea. Fila was started in Piedmont by the Fila brothers, primarily to make underwear that they sold to people living in the Italian Alps. The company started to focus on sportswear in the seventies, using tennis-great Bjorn Borg as their major endorser.
4…Sch. near Providence..URI
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was first chartered as an agricultural school, back in 1888. URI’s main campus today is located in the village of Kingston.
Providence is the capital of the state of Rhode Island. The city was founded way back in 1636 by a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony called Roger Williams. Williams believed that it was “God’s merciful providence” that revealed the location of today’s city as a haven for him and his followers, and so gave the new settlement the name “Providence”.
5…Unit, for one: Abbr…SYN
“Unit” is a synonym (syn.) of “one”.
The hustle is a genre of disco dance that was popular in the seventies. The dance form really took off when Van McCoy released a song called “The Hustle”, to which an accompanying line dance became a big craze in 1975.
8…Pershing’s WWI command..AEF
The US military sent to Europe during WWI were known as the American Expeditionary Force (AEF).
General John J. Pershing was the officer who led the American Expeditionary Forces to victory against Germany in WWI. Pershing was promoted to General of the Armies of the United States , the service’s highest rank, in recognition of this service during the First World War. He was the only person to be so honored within his own lifetime.
The English actress Keira Knightley had her big break in movies when she co-starred in 2002’s “Bend It Like Beckham”. Knightley played one of my favorite movie roles, Elizabeth Bennett in 2005’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Knightley won a Golden Globe for that performance, although that 2005 film isn’t the best adaptation of Austen’s novel in my humble opinion …
If one is capable, one might jokingly be described as “ept”, the apparent opposite of “inept”.
13…Arctic coast explorer..RAE
John Rae was a Scottish explorer, who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae stirred up much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.
14…Charge in an Everglades water taxi?..ALLIGATOR FARE (from “alligator pear”)
The wonderful avocado comes from a tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. The avocado fruit is sometime called an avocado pear, because of its shape, even though it is not related to the pear at all. The fruit might also be referred to as an alligator pear, due to the roughness of the green skin of some avocado cultivars.
The Everglades are a tropical wetlands that cover much of southern Florida. The area was named “River Glades” by a British surveyor in 1773, and it is suggested that poor transcription of the word “river” led to the use of “ever”. The southern 20% of the Everglades is a protected region that we know as Everglades National Park. The park is the third largest National Park in the lower 48 states, after Death Valley NP (the largest) and Yellowstone NP.
18…Oldest Baldwin brother..ALEC
Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey.
The four acting Baldwin brothers are:
24…Five Norse kings..OLAFS
Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or Olaf the Fat) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.
31…Yellow fever mosquito..AEDES
The Aedes genus of mosquito is the most invasive mosquito in the world. The word “aedes” is an Ancient Greek term meaning “unpleasant, odious”, which I think it very apt …
“Cioppino” is a fish stew that originated in San Francisco, despite the Italian-sounding name. That said, the dish is considered part of Italian-American cuisine. Cioppino came out of the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco in the late 19th century, which was then home to Italian immigrants mainly from the port city of Genoa. The name comes from “ciuppin”, a soup from the Liguria region in north-western Italy.
33…”Do I dare to __ peach?”: Eliot..EAT A
“The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”, that famous poem by T. S. Eliot, contains the line “Do I dare to eat a peach?”
37…Versatile Unilever brand..Q-TIPS
Cotton swabs were originally marketed under the name “Baby Gays”, but this was changed in 1926 to “Q-Tips”, with the Q standing for “quality”.
38…”Family Matters” nerd..URKEL
Steve Urkel is a character on the TV show “Family Matters” that aired in the late eighties and nineties. The Urkel character was the archetypal “geek”, played by Jaleel White. Urkel was originally written into the show’s storyline for just one episode, but before long Urkel was the show’s most popular recurring character.
Someone might be described as “bald as a coot”, meaning that the person has no hair at all. A coot is a water bird, one that looks as though it is bald because of its markings. The head is actually covered with feathers.
42…”Almost anything can be improved with the addition of __”: Jasper Fforde..BACON
The English author Jasper Fforde is best known for his “Thursday Next” series of novels, in which Thursday Next is a literary detective, and the daughter of Wednesday Next and Colonel Next.
44…Enjoys the links..GOLFS
The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.
“Jerry Lewis” is the stage name of comedian and actor Joseph Levitch from Newark, New Jersey. Lewis gained fame when he teamed up with straight man Dean Martin in the 1940s. The duo broke up in 1961, largely because Lewis was always in the limelight and Martin’s role became less important in the eyes of the public. The relationship between the two was strained for many years until there was a reconciliation in the late eighties following the death of Martin’s son.
Dean Martin was the stage name of singer and actor Dino Crocetti. Martin was famous for his numerous hit songs such as “That’s Amore”, “Volare” and Everybody Loves Somebody”, as well as his film career with Jerry Lewis. Off screen, Martin was a member of the famous “Rat Pack” as he was a great friend of Frank Sinatra. Martin was always associated with Las Vegas and when he passed away in 1995 the lights on the strip were dimmed in his honor.
51…Links star McIlroy..RORY
Rory McIlroy is an incredibly successful golfer from Northern Ireland. McIlroy is a relatively young man and a former world number one on the circuit, so folks can’t help but compare him to Tiger Woods. He is first European to win three different majors. Along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, McIlroy is one of the only three people to win three majors before the age of 25.
56…”Charlie’s Angels” actress on her sloop?..FARRAH SAILING (from “parasailing”)
Farrah Fawcett’s first big role was that of Jill Monroe, one of the famous “Charlie’s Angels”. Fawcett’s life off-screen was just as celebrated as her performances on television. Fawcett was married to actor Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”) for nine years, and then spent fifteen years with actor Ryan O’Neal.
Parasailing is hanging below a tethered parachute that is towed by a boat.
Back in the 1930s, Earl Tupper was working at the DuPont Chemical Company, and from DuPont obtained inflexible pieces of polyethylene slag. Tupper purified the slag and shaped it into unbreakable containers. He added airtight lids with a “burping seal”, which were provided tight seals similar to that provided by the lids on paint cans. He called his new product Tupperware.
63…Mail svc. in the sticks..RFD
Rural Free Delivery (RFD) was started in the US in 1891. Prior to RFD, rural Americans had to travel to the nearest post office to pick up their mail.
67…Unit of work: Abbr…FT-LB
The foot-pound (ft-lb) is an imperial unit of work or energy. One foot-pound is the amount of work in applying a one pound-force over a distance of one foot.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.
75…Supérieurs des moines..ABBES
In French, “supérieurs des moines” (monks’ superiors) are known as “abbés” (abbots).
78…State of France..ETAT
The French word “state” is “état”.
81…Honda luxury brand..ACURA
Acura is a division of the Honda Motor Company, its luxury brand. As an aside, Infiniti is the equivalent luxury brand for the Nissan Motor Company, and Lexus is the more luxurious version of Toyota’s models.
84…’60s-’70s bullpen star Sparky..LYLE
Sparky Lyle is a retired MLB relief pitcher who played from 1967 to 1982, winning the Cy Young Award in 1977.
86…No longer relevant..MOOT
“To moot” is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able get that right …
93…Cocktail with an umbrella..MAI TAI
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum.
94…Rio Grande city..EL PASO
Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juarez). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.
96…Ice cream company founder..BREYER
Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.
97…Locale in a 1987 Cheech Marin title..EAST LA
“Born in East L.A.” is a 1987 comedy that was written by, directed by and starred Cheech Marin of Cheech & Chong fame.
Mars has two moons, the larger of which is Phobos and the smaller is Deimos. “Phobos” is the Greek word for “fear”, and “Deimos” is Greek for “dread”.
In the think of, in the midst of.
102…Kelly of talk..RIPA
When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting job.
106…”Breaking Bad” drug..METH
“Meth” is a street name used for the drug methamphetamine, also called “crank” and “crystal meth”.
United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky.
114…In Chinese, the “north” part of China’s “northern capital”..BEI-
The city of Beijing was given its name in 1403, with “Beijing” chosen as it translates as “Northern Capital”. The name distinguished it from the city of Nanjing, which name translates as “Southern Capital”.