Edited by: Rich Norris
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The starts of today’s themed answers give us a vowel progression through words in the format L-ST:
- 17A…King of the Hill winner..LAST MAN STANDING
- 20A…Repeated phrase in Kipling’s “Recessional”..LEST WE FORGET
- 31A…It’s rarely paid to a car dealer..LIST PRICE
- 48A…Recovery site?..LOST AND FOUND
- 52A…Scholar’s motivation..LUST FOR LEARNING
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14…”It was you,” in a Verdi aria..ERI TU
Every crossword constructors’ favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (A Masked Ball). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.
15…Word on mail from Spain..AEREO
“Aereo” is the Spanish for “air”.
16…Unit of RAM..MEG
Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer storage.
17…King of the Hill winner..LAST MAN STANDING
King of the Hill (or King of the Mountain) is a children’s game in which one player endeavors to stay at the top of a hill, while the others try to knock him or her off, to take over as “king of the hill”.
20…Repeated phrase in Kipling’s “Recessional”..LEST WE FORGET
“Lest we forget” is an oft-quoted phrase, one that comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling called “Recessional”. Kipling wrote the piece on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 and used it to express sadness at the waning of the British Empire. The phrase “lest we forget” is used in this context, a warning that the empire will decline. Ever since WWI we’ve been using the words on memorials as a plea not forget the sacrifices made by others in the past.
Today a “ballot” is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.
25…Phil Collins’ old group..GENESIS
The English musician Phil Collins is best known for his work as drummer with the rock group Genesis, as well as for his solo career. In fact, Collins is often grouped with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, two other artists who had tremendous solo success after careers with very well-known bands.
35…Large merchant ships..ARGOSIES
A large merchant ship might be referred to as an “argosy”, especially if it carries a rich cargo. The term comes from the Croatian city of Dbrovnic, which lies on the Adriatic coast. Once called Ragusa (“Arragosa” in English), the city was the departure point for ships laden with goods imported into 16th-century Britain.
Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname “El Estado Grande”. The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. And of course the Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.
42…Persian Gulf island nation..BAHRAIN
Bahrain is an island nation located off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a series of causeways and bridges constructed in the eighties.
46…Instrument to which an orchestra tunes..OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.
47…Turned down for easy reference..DOG-EARED
The folded-down corner of the page of a book, a temporary placeholder, is known as a “dog-ear”. I suppose that’s because it looks like the ear of a dog …
“To blear” is to dim the vision, usually with watery eyes.
Like so many beverages introduced by the Coca-Cola Company, Mello Yello was launched to compete against a successful drink already on the market. Mello Yello first hit the shelves in 1979, and was designed to take market share from Pepsico’s “Mountain Dew”.
59…’60s radical gp…SDS
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.
1…”Alice” diner owner..MEL
The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.
2…Factor in MLB’s Cy Young Award..ERA
Earned run average (ERA)
Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. Young is remembered for pitching the first perfect game of baseball’s modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created and is presented to the best pitcher in each baseball season.
4…Prime minister after and before Churchill..ATTLEE
Winston Churchill was the UK’s prime minister before and after Clement Attlee. Well, if one thinks about it, that also means that Atlee was PM before and after Churchill. The terms were:
- 1940 – 1945 Winston Churchill
- 1945 – 1951 Clement Attlee
- 1951 – 1955 Winston Churchill
Clement Attlee served as leader of Britain’s Labour Party and as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government during the war years under the leadership of Winston Churchill, a Conservative. Attlee swept into power right after WWII in a landslide victory over Churchill and was responsible for major changes not only in Britain but around the waning British Empire. It was under Attlee that former British colonies like India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Jordan became independent. Also, the Palestine Mandate was terminated in 1948, while he was in office, with the state of Israel being declared the very next day.
5…Light bulb units..LUMENS
The lumen is a measure of the amount of visible light emitted by a source.
6…Edmond __: the Count of Monte Cristo..DANTES
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is an 1844 novel by the French author Alexandre Dumas. Dumas’ other famous title is “The Three Musketeers”.
7…”__ Can”: 2008 slogan..YES WE
The 2008 campaign that resulted in the election of President Barack Obama used the slogan “Change we can believe in”, along with the associated chant “Yes We Can”. The words “Yes We Can” were perhaps borrowed from the United Farm Workers, which organization uses the motto “Sí, se puede”. “Sí, se puede” translates as “Yes, it is possible” and is a phrase very much associated with labor leader Cesar Chavez.
The Museo del Prado is in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and has one of the finest art collections in the world. The gallery’s most famous work is “Las Meninas” By Velazquez.
9…Like many Gallaudet College students..DEAF
Gallaudet University is a private school in Washington, D.C. that is focused on the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Gallaudet was founded in 1864 and is officially a bilingual institution, with classes held in both English and ASL.
10…Prefix with gram..SONO-
A sonogram is an image made created using ultrasound. “Ultrasound” is the name given to sound energy that has frequencies above the audible range.
Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine. Moscato d’Asti is produced from the same grape (Moscato Bianco) but is a much sweeter wine with a lower alcohol content. It is usually served as a dessert wine.
The brand name Sno-Cat is owned by the Tucker company. All “snowcats” are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.
A sermon (ser.) might be described as an inspiring message (msg.).
27…Ryssdal of NPR’s “Marketplace”..KAI
Kai Ryssdal is a radio journalist who is famous as the host of the weekday business program “Marketplace”. Ryssdal has been doing the job since 2005.
Revolutions per second (RPS)
31…”Cowboy Man” singer..LOVETT
As well as being famous in his own right as a successful country singer, Lyle Lovett is known for his marriage to the actress Julia Roberts in 1993. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.
32…Rose-rose link..IS A
“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” is a line from a poem called “Sacred Emily” that was written by Gertrude Stein. In the poem, Rose is actually a person. In later writings Stein used the phrase “a rose is a rose is a rose” to mean “things are what they are”.
33…Caesar known for being funny..SID
Sid Caesar achieved fame in the fifties on TV’s “Your Show of Shows”. To be honest, I know Sid Caesar mainly from the very entertaining film version of the musical “Grease”, in which he played Coach Calhoun.
No one seems to know for sure where the golfing term “fore!” comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and since then has been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry “Faugh a Ballagh!” (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling. Road bowling is an Irish game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!
35…Many moon missions..APOLLOS
The Apollo program is very much associated with President Kennedy, as he gave NASA the challenge to land men on the moon by the end of the sixties. However, the Apollo program was conceived during the Eisenhower administration as a follow-up to Project Mercury that put the first Americans in space.
Galleys were large medieval ships mainly found in the Mediterranean. They were propelled by a combination of sails and oars.
In Spanish, “un lago” (a lake) contains “agua” (water).
44…English king who was a son of William the Conqueror..HENRY I
Henry I of England was a son of William the Conqueror. According to legend, Henry died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys”, or more likely food poisoning. Lampreys look like a cross between a fish and an eel.
The Norman Conquest of England started in 1066 when William, Duke of Normandy defeated King Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings. William was crowned King William I of England, and was dubbed William the Conqueror.
45…Original “SNL” cast member..RADNER
Gilda Radner was a comedian and actress, one of the original cast members of the hit television show “Saturday Night Live”. Radner left her first husband to marry comedic actor Gene Wilder, whom she met while they were both filming the Sidney Poitier movie “Hanky Panky”.
49…HQs for B-2s..AFBS
Air Force Base (AFB)
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is more familiarly called the Stealth Bomber. The original plan was for the US Military to buy 132 B-2 bombers but the cost became so high (over a billion dollars each in today’s money) that only 21 were actually ordered. One of these crashed in 2008 and the remaining 20 aircraft are still in service.
50…Longtime Steelers coach Chuck..NOLL
Chuck Noll was the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969 to 1991. Noll won the Super Bowl four times in all as head coach, an NFL record.
51…Half of sechs..DREI
In German, half of “sechs” (six) is “drei” (three).
54…N.Y. Mets’ div…NLE
National League East (NLE)
55…Word on U.S. coins..GOD
From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. “E pluribus unum” is Latin for “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.