Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
We have a baseball-ish puzzle today that uses “AB”, an abbreviation for “at-bat”. Each of today’s themed answers starts with the letters AB:
- 70A…Hitter’s statistic, and, when abbreviated, a hint to the six longest puzzle answers..AT-BAT (AB)
- 17A…Fancy burger meat..ANGUS BEEF
- 35A…Powerful northern cold front..ARCTIC BLAST
- 44A…”30 Rock” co-star..ALEC BALDWIN
- 63A…Color of a clear sky..AZURE BLUE
- 11D…”Good Eats” series creator..ALTON BROWN
- 29D…Injury treatment brand..ACE BANDAGE
I hope y’all like baseball, because here are some baseball related clues and answers:
- 15A…Cleanup hitter’s stat..RBI
- 19A…Athlete on a Houston diamond..ASTRO
- 47A…One throwing the first pitch..STARTER
- 56D…Strike’s opposite..BALL
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14…Reddish-orange salon dye..HENNA
Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, not just for leather and wool, but also for the hair and skin. In modern days, henna is also used for temporary tattoos.
15…Cleanup hitter’s stat..RBI
Runs batted in (RBIs)
17…Fancy burger meat..ANGUS BEEF
The full name of the cattle breed is Aberdeen Angus, which is also the name used around the world outside of North America. The breed was developed by crossbreeding cattle from the counties of Aberdeenshire and Angus in Scotland. The breed stands out in the US as Angus cattle don’t have horns.
19…Athlete on a Houston diamond..ASTRO
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 Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.
20…When repeated, an African fly..TSE
Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.
“Hansel and Gretel” is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds and so the children do indeed become lost. But eventually they do all live happily ever after …
27…Ristorante shrimp dish..SCAMPI
The Italian dish known as “scampi” is a serving of shrimp in garlic butter and dry white wine.
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.
41…Sch. east of Hartford..UCONN
The University of Connecticut (UConn) was founded in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School, taking its name from the Storrs brothers who donated the land and provided initial funding.
44…”30 Rock” co-star..ALEC BALDWIN
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. More recently, Baldwin made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey.
49…Art of “The Honeymooners”..CARNEY
Art Carney was best known as the actor who played Ed Norton on the fifties television show “The Honeymooners”. Carney walked with a limp for much of his life, as one leg was almost an inch shorter than the other due to a wound he received during the Battle of Normandy in WWII.
The classic sitcom called “The Honeymooners” only aired for 39 episodes, with the last being broadcast in September of 1956. The sitcom was based on a recurring sketch that appeared on “Cavalcade of Stars” and then “The Jackie Gleason Show” from 1951-1955.
53…Melville sailor Billy..BUDD
“Billy Budd” is a novella by American author Herman Melville. However, Melville didn’t actually finish “Billy Budd” before he died in 1891.
63…Color of a clear sky..AZURE BLUE
The word “azure” came into English from Persian via Old French. The French word “l’azur” was taken from the Persian name for a place in northeastern Afghanistan called “Lazhward” which was the main source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. The stone has a vivid blue color, and “azure” has been describing this color since the 14th century.
“Li’l Abner” was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he went so far as to apologize to his long-standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt that the quality of his work had gone down in those latter years.
The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London quite a few years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The old theater’s seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor that had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.
8…Michelle, to Barack..WIFE
Michelle Obama nee Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago and is sister to Craig Robinson, former coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Robinson worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another …
9…Valedictorian’s 4.0, e.g.: Abbr…GPA
A valediction is an act of taking one’s leave, from the Latin “vale dicere”, to say farewell. An example of a valediction would be the words “yours truly” at the end of a letter. And of course, the valedictorian (here in the US anyway) is the student in a graduating class that is chosen to say the final words at the graduation ceremony, a farewell to the classmates.
11…”Good Eats” series creator..ALTON BROWN
Alton Brown is a celebrity chef who is behind the Food Network show “Good Eats”, and the host of “Iron Chef America”.
12…One sought by cops..PERP
Eros, the Greek god of love, was also known as Amor.
22…Johns, to Elton..LOOS
It has been suggested that the British term “loo” comes from Waterloo (water-closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo” in which the pot was called the loo!
Elton John’s real name is Reginald Dwight. Sir Elton was knighted in 1998, not for his music but for his charitable work. He founded his own Elton John AIDS Foundation back in 1992.
26…”Downtown” singer Clark..PETULA
Petula Clark is a an English singer of popular songs who had most of her success in the sixties, with hits such as “Downtown” and “I Know a Place”. Clark is a little unusual in the world of entertainment as she started to make recordings in French as well as English, and eventually in German, Italian and Spanish as well. For decades, Clark has been splitting her time between her properties in England, France and Switzerland.
The Republic of Croatia is a Balkan country. The Croats declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.
29…Injury treatment brand..ACE BANDAGE
ACE is a brand name of elastic bandage.
30…NYC subway org…MTA
The MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). MTA might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as the Metro and sometimes the MTA.
33…Broadway title orphan..ANNIE
The Broadway musical “Annie” is produced in more than one version. There is an “Annie Jr.” that has been edited down to a shortened version more suitable for young performers and audiences. An even shorter version that lasts only 30 minutes is called “Annie KIDS”, and is meant for performers still in elementary school.
34…Boy in a classic Irish ballad..DANNY
“Danny Boy” is a famous ballad associated with Ireland. The song’s lyrics were written by Englishman Frederick Weatherly and put to an existing tune called “Londonderry Air” (also “Derry Air”). Although heard quite often in Ireland, “Danny Boy” has been adopted as an unofficial anthem by people in North America with Irish roots.
Max Baer was an American Heavyweight Champion of the World in the thirties. Baer held the title for 364 days, and then went into the ring after hardly any training at all against the well-prepared James J. Braddock. Braddock was a huge underdog, and yet emerged victorious after 15 rounds (Braddock is the subject of the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man”). By the way, Baer’s son is Max Baer, Jr., the actor who played Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies”.
45…Mother of Castor and Pollux..LEDA
In Greek mythology, Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus when he took the form of a swan. Leda produced two eggs from the union. One egg hatched into the beautiful Helen, later to be known as Helen of Troy and over whom was fought the Trojan War. The other egg hatched into the twins Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux had different fathers according to the myth. Pollux was the son of Zeus and was immortal, while Castor was the son of Leda’s earthly husband, and so he was a mortal. In the world of the arts, William Butler Yeats wrote a famous sonnet called “Leda and the Swan” in 1924, and Peter Paul Rubens made a copy of a now-lost painting called “Leda and the Swan” by Michelangelo.
48…Watery obstacle for Moses..RED SEA
The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.
51…Popeye creator Segar..ELZIE
Elzie Segar was a cartoonist who went by the name E. C. Segar. Segar was the man who created the strip “Thimble Theater”, home of the character Popeye.
54…Eurasian border river..URAL
The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.
“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.
60…Part of R and R..REST
Rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R)
62…Ambulance destinations, for short..ERS
Emergency rooms (ERs)