Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
The circled letters in today’s grid are B-U-L-L, and are arranged in RINGS. They are BULLRINGS:
- 17A…Music in 62-Across..PASO DOBLE
- 39A…Performer in 62-Across..MATADOR
- 62A…Fighting venues suggested by this puzzle’s circles..BULLRINGS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…UV filter once widely used in sunscreens..PABA
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), or now its derivatives, is the “active” ingredient in sunscreens in that it absorbs UV radiation. PABA derivatives are used today as PABA itself fell out of favor due to its tendency to stain clothes and to cause an allergic reaction in some users.
5…Word in Italian dishes..ALLA
The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.
9…Italian for “wasp”..VESPA
Vespa is a brand of motor scooter originally made in Italy (and now all over the world) by Piaggio. “Vespa” is Italian for “wasp”.
17…Music in 62-Across..PASO DOBLE
The lively and dramatic dance called the paso doble is very much associated with the Spanish bullfight, but in fact it originated in southern France. The dance is based on music that is played at bullfights when the bullfighters enter the arena, and when they close in for the kill. Not a big fan of bullfighting …
19…Swedish-born Chan actor..OLAND
Warner Oland was a Swedish actor, best remembered for his portrayal of Charlie Chan in a series of 16 highly successful Hollywood movies. Before playing Charlie Chan, Oland made a name for himself in another Asian role on screen, playing Dr. Fu Manchu.
21…River through Kazakhstan..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.
The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.
The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.
A snell is a length of thin line that connects a fishhook to heavier line.
28…Race town near Windsor Castle..ASCOT
Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing, and is located in the town of Ascot, Berkshire in England. The course is located just six miles from Windsor Castle, and is often visited by members of the royal family. Royal Ascot is the name given to the most famous race meeting in the year, at which members of the royal family attend each day, arriving in horse-drawn carriages amidst great ceremony.
Windsor Castle is located on the River Thames in Berkshire, just 20 miles outside London. It was built in the early 11th century by William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion of England. Queen Elizabeth II likes to spend her weekends at Windsor. She has lots of room to move around there, as it’s the largest inhabited castle in the world.
30…People never seen in “Peanuts”..ADULTS
Charles M. Schulz was a cartoonist best known for his comic strip “Peanuts” that featured the much-loved characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy. “Peanuts” was so successful, running daily in over 70 countries and 21 languages, that it earned Schulz an estimated 30-40 million dollars annually.
King Arthur probably never really existed, but his legend is very persistent. Arthur was supposedly a leader of the Romano-British as they tried to resist the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.
“Bur” is a variant spelling of the word “burr”, a seed vessel that has hooks or prickles on the outside.
A sylvan area is wooded, covered in trees. “Silva” is the Latin word for “forest”.
39…Performer in 62-Across..MATADOR
(62A…Fighting venues suggested by this puzzle’s circles..BULLRINGS)
“Matador” is a Spanish word used in English for a bullfighter, although the term isn’t used in the same way in Spanish. The equivalent in Spanish is “torero”. “Matador” translates aptly enough as “killer”.
41…Thurman of “Henry & June”..UMA
The 1990 movie “Henry & June” is loosely adapted from the book of the same name by Anaïs Nin. The book is based on diaries written by Nin telling of her part in a love triangle with American author Henry Miller and his wife June. June Miller was played by Uma Thurman in the movie.
The Russian Mir Space Station was a remarkably successful project, with the station still holding the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at just under ten years. Towards the end of the space station’s life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in 2001.
The Soviet Union’s Salyut program launched the world’s first crewed space station, Salyut 1, in 1971. There were several space stations launched as part of the program, the last being Salyut 7, which was taken out of orbit in 1991. “Salyut” is Russian for “salute” and also “fireworks”.
45…Snead has won three of them, briefly..PGAS
The four major golf competitions in men’s golf are:
- the Masters Tournament
- the US Open
- the Open Championship (aka “the British Open”)
- the PGA Championship
Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. Snead did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate. Snead’s best-remembered nickname was “Slammin’ Sammy”.
46…Existing: Lat…IN ESSE
The Latin term “in esse” is used to mean “actually existing”, and translates as “in being”.
Umber is an earthy, brown shade, and originally described a pigment made from earth found in Umbria, the region in central Italy. In its natural form, the pigment is referred to as “raw umber”. The heated form of the pigment has a more intense color and is called “burnt umber”.
54…Brown address ending..EDU
The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified.
Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. gave a substantial gift to the school.
Bausch & Lomb is an American company headquartered in Rochester, New York. It is a major supplier of contact lenses and associated eye-care products. As one might guess, the company was founded (in 1853) by two German immigrants, John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb. Bausch was an optician, and Lomb was the “money man”. The company was originally set up to manufacture monocles.
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.
64…Levels, in Leeds..RASES
To “raze” (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. How odd is it that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means to build up?
I went to school for a while not far from Leeds in West Yorkshire in the north of England. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Leeds was a major center for the production and trading of wool, and then with the onset of mechanization it became a natural hub for manufacture of textiles. These days Leeds is noted as a shopping destination and so has been dubbed “the Knightsbridge of the North”.
65…Comic strip canine..ODIE
Odie is Garfield’s best friend and is a slobbery beagle, and a character in the Jim Davis comic strip named “Garfield”.
67…College near Albany..SIENA
Siena College is a Roman Catholic school, a Franciscan liberal arts college founded in 1937 in Loudonville, New York near Albany. The college is named for Saint Bernardino of Siena, a Franciscan friar who lives in the 15th century.
LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs were the large vessels used mainly in WWII that had doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles could roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.
Josef Haydn was an Austrian composer, often called the “Father of the Symphony” due to his prolific output of symphonies that helped define the form. This is one of the reasons that he was known, even in his own lifetime, as “Papa Haydn”. Haydn was also the father figure among “the big three” composers of the Classical Period: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Hayden was a good friend to Mozart, and a teacher of Beethoven.
A sobriquet is an affectionate nickname. “Sobriquet” is French for “nickname”.
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.
3…Visual media soundtrack Grammy Award..BEST SCORE
The first Grammy Awards Ceremony was held in 1959 and focused on recognizing outstanding achievement in the recording industry. The idea of a Grammy Award came up when recording executives were working on the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the fifties. These executives concluded that there were many people in the recording industry deserving of accolades but who would probably never make it to the Walk of Fame. As a result, they founded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Academy considered naming the award the “Eddies” after Thomas Edison, but then opted for “Grammy” after Edison’s invention: the gramophone.
Lebanon lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. The nation has a rich cultural history, and was home to the ancient civilization of Phoenicia. The name “Lebanon” derives from the Semitic word “lbn” meaning “white”, and is probably a reference to the snow that caps the mountain range known as Mount Lebanon, which parallels the Mediterranean coast.
We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, a stage magician active in the 1880s who was also known as the Georgia Wonder.
An “apercu” is a first view, a glance. By extension, the term “apercu” can also be used for a detached view, an overview or a short synopsis. “Aperçu” is French for “perceived”.
10…Phot. lab request..ENL
11…They may be taken on “Jeopardy!”..STABS
The word is that Alex Trebek will step down as host of the game show “Jeopardy!” in 2016, when his current contract expires. The list of names mentioned to replace Trebek includes Brian Williams, Dan Patrick, Matt Lauer and Anderson Cooper. I vote for Cooper, but I can’t see him taking the job …
12…British coin additive?..-PENCE
The idea here is that “-pence” is a suffix used for some British coins, e.g. tuppence, threepence, sixpence.
The Andes form the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world, running right down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles. The highest peak in the range is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet, further away than Mount Everest. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.
The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944.
27…Letters with Arizona or Missouri..USS
The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor sits across the sunken hull of the battleship, the resting place of 1,102 out of 1,117 sailors of the Arizona who were killed during the 1941 attack. After the attack, the superstructure of the Arizona protruded above the surface of the water. This was removed during and after WWII, leaving just a submerged hull. The memorial itself was approved by President Eisenhower in 1958, and the building was opened in 1962. In 1999, the battleship USS Missouri was permanently moored in Pearl Harbor, docked nearby and perpendicular to the Arizona. It was on the Missouri that the Japanese surrendered, marking the end of WWII.
28…Short for short?..ABBR
“Abbr.” is short for “abbreviated”, which means “short”.
“To slue” (also “slew) is to turn sharply, or to rotate on an axis.
31…”Wee” pours of Scotch..DRAMS
The dram is a confusing unit of measurement, to me anyway. The dram has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!
33…Mariners’ home, familiarly..SAFECO
Safeco Field is the home of the Seattle Mariners. Safeco Insurance was the highest bidder when it came to christening the new stadium opened in 1999, paying $40m for a 20-year contract.
35…Pea variety..SUGAR SNAP
Snap peas are also known as sugar peas. Snap peas are eaten before the seeds mature, and the whole pod is consumed.
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such strawberry, blueberry and lime.
39…Oscar-winning song immortalized by Nat King Cole..MONA LISA
“Mona LIsa” is a marvelous 1950 song that topped the charts for Nat King Cole for eight weeks. The song was written for the film “Captain Carey, U.S.A.” that was released that same year, starring Alan Ladd. “Mona Lisa” won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Nat King Cole’s real name was Nathaniel Adams Coles. Cole made television history in 1956 when his own show debuted on NBC, a first for an African-American. Cole couldn’t pick up a national sponsor, so in order to save money and possibly save the show, many guest artists worked for no fee at all – the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte and Peggy Lee. The show survived for a year, but eventually Nat King Cole had to pull the plug on it himself.
“Mon Dieu!” is French for “my God!”.
43…About .62 mi…KIL
“Kilometer” is a word that for some reason always gets an overly emotional reaction from me. Firstly, I am a big fan of the metric system and would happily forego the eccentricities of the miles, yards and feet that I grew up with. Secondly, I have to remember to change the spelling from “kilometre” that I learned at school, to “kilometer” that is used in the US. Thirdly, I get some funny looks for pronouncing the word as “KIL-ometer”, the pronunciation most common in English-speaking countries that use the metric system. Here in the US the most common pronunciation is “kil-OM-eter”. Maybe I should learn not to sweat the small stuff …
45…Discourse on verses..POETICS
“Poetics” is a treatise on literary theory by the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle. It is the oldest known such work.
47…$, for one..SYMBOL
The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.
48…Many a trucker..CBER
A CBer is someone who operates a Citizens’ Band radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens’ Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren’t many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.
50…Dwight’s two-time opponent..ADLAI
Adlai Stevenson (AES) ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were “Don’t wait for the translation, answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” followed by “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!”
51…First two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Rainer..LUISE
Luise Rainer was a Hollywood actress from Dusseldorf in Germany. Rainer won the Academy Award for Best Actress for playing Anna Heid in 1936’s “The Great Ziegfeld”, and again for playing O-Lan in 1937’s “The Good Earth”. In doing so, she became the actor to win more than one Oscar.
53…Lille lasses: Abbr…MLLES
Señorita (Srta.) is Spanish and mademoiselle (Mlle.) is French for “Miss”.
Lille is a large city in the very north of France sitting right on the border with Belgium. The name “Lille” comes from the term “l’isle” meaning “the island”.
59…Wee part of a min…NSEC
“Nanosecond” is more correctly abbreviated to “ns”, and really is a tiny amount of time: one billionth of a second.
Big Ben is the name commonly used for the large bell in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster (aka the Houses of Parliament). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who oversaw the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day Benjamin Caunt.