Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are all phrases meaning “take it easy”.
- 20A…”Rest those weary feet”..TAKE A LOAD OFF
- 36A…”Why not try the recliner?”..SIT BACK AND RELAX
- 53A…”Don’t just stand there”..PULL UP A CHAIR
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5…Unwelcome stocking stuffer..COAL
Apparently, the tradition of putting coal in the Christmas stocking of a poorly-behaved child comes simply from the proximity of the stocking (hanging on the fireplace) to a source of coal!
A letter (ltr.) in a monogram is an initial (init.).
16…Pocahontas’ husband John..ROLFE
John Rolfe was one of the early English settlers in America, perhaps most famous for marrying the Native American Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. For a few months before her death, Pocahontas lived with Rolfe in England. The couple had actually boarded a ship to return them to Virginia when Pocahontas became ill and had to be brought ashore on the south coast of England, where she soon passed away.
18…”Lovely” meter maid in a Beatles song..RITA
“Lovely Rita” is a Beatles song on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. When the album was released in 1967, the term “meter maid” wasn’t used in the UK, although it was a slang term used in the US. The song helped spread the usage of “meter maid” all around the English-speaking world. Apparently the inspiration for the song was McCartney getting a parking ticket one day outside the Abbey Road Studios. He accepted the ticket with good grace, from a warden named Meta Davis. McCartney felt that Meta “looked like a Rita”, so that was the name she was given in the song.
23…Tarzan actor Ron..ELY
Ron Ely is most famous for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series in the sixties. Years later, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 “Miss America” pageants right after longtime host Bert Parks retired, before the job was taken over by Gary Collins. And, Ely is a successful mystery novelist. He wrote “Night Shadows” and “East Beach” in the mid-nineties, both of which featured his private eye Jake Sands.
29…Div. the Phillies play in..NL EAST
Philadelphia’s baseball team was founded in 1883 as the Quakers, with the name changing to the Philadelphias and Phillies not long into the team’s history. The Phillies have been based in the same city using the same team name longer than any other team in US professional sports.
31…Most of a mortgage payment, usually..INTEREST
Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.
34…Sheriff Taylor’s TV son..OPIE
Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.
35…__ Fáil: Irish coronation stone..LIA
The “Lia Fáil” is the coronation stone that is found on the Hill of Tara, the traditional seat of the High Kings of Ireland. “Lia Fáil” translates from Irish as “stone of destiny”.
36…”Why not try the recliner?”..SIT BACK AND RELAX
The first reclining chairs were introduced around 1850 in France. Supposedly, the first reclining chair was owned by Napoleon III.
41…She raised Cain..EVE
In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
42…”The Scarlet Letter” letter..RED A
The main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” is Hester Prynne. When Prynne is convicted by her puritanical neighbors of the crime of adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” (for “adultery”) on her clothing for the rest of her life, hence the novel’s title, “The Scarlet Letter”.
43…Colorful Mattel card game..UNO
“One, two, three” in Italian is “uno, due, tre”.
Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.
52…Boston skyscraper, with “the”..PRU
“The Pru” is the familiar name given to the Prudential Tower in Boston. It is currently the second highest building in the city, after the John Hancock Tower. However, if one includes the height of the radio tower on its roof, then it is the highest building in Boston. When it was completed in 1964, the Pru was the tallest building in the country, outside of New York City.
57…Johnny with the catchphrase “Come on down!”..OLSON
Johnny Olson was the announcer on “The Price is Right” from day one in 1972, until he passed away in 1985.
60…”Out of Africa” author Dinesen..ISAK
Isak Dinesen was the (male) pen name of the Danish author Baroness Karen Blixen. Blixen’s most famous title by far is “Out of Africa”, her account of the time she spent living in Kenya.
61…Toaster waffle choice..EGGO
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced the original name chosen, which was “Froffles”, created by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.
62…Air rifle..BB GUN
A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.
64…1969-’74 Israeli prime minister..MEIR
Golda Meir was known as the “Iron Lady” when she was Prime Minister of Israel, long before that sobriquet came to be associated with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir was born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev (in modern-day Ukraine), and when she was a young girl she moved with her family to the United States and settled in Milwaukee. As a teenager she relocated to Denver where she met and married Morris Meyerson, at the age of 19. She and her husband joined a kibbutz in Palestine in 1921, when she was in her twenties. Meir had been active in politics in the US, and continued her political work in Palestine. She was very influential during WWII, and played a leading role in negotiations after the war leading to the setting up of the state of Israel. By the time she was called on to lead the country, Meir had already retired, citing exhaustion and ill health. But serve she did, and led Israel during turbulent times (e.g. the massacre at the Munich Olympics, and the Yom Kippur War). She eventually resigned in 1974, saying that was what the people wanted.
Jotto is a word guessing game for two players. I used to play a game with colored pegs as a kid that works on the same principle that was sold under the name Mastermind.
Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.
The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an “identity number” to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.
1…”__, my children, and you shall hear … “: Longfellow..LISTEN
“Paul Revere’s Ride” is an 1860 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Here are the opening lines:
Listen my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
11…Late, great boxer..ALI
Muhammad Ali won 56 professional fights, 37 of which were knockouts. He lost 5 fights, 4 being decisions and one being a technical knockout (TKO). The TKO-loss was Ali’s second-last fight, against Larry Holmes. By the time Ali took on Holmes, he was already showing signs of Parkinson’s Syndrome, although the diagnosis would not come until four years later. Ali turned out for his last two fights largely because he needed the money.
12…Org. with Jaguars and Panthers..NFL
The Jacksonville Jaguars (JAX) have been in the NFL since 1995.
The Carolina Panthers are the NFL team based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
13…Kenan’s Nickelodeon pal..KEL
“Kenan & Kel” is a sitcom that originally aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000. It stars Kenan Thompson (later of “Saturday Night Live”), and Kel Mitchell.
21…On the briny..AT SEA
The “briny” is the sea, from “brine” meaning “salty water”. The term “briny” was originally used for “tears”.
26…Book for finding local businesses..YELLOW PAGES
A “yellow pages” phone directory is a listing of business and telephone numbers. The first yellow pages was introduced here in the US, back in 1886. The phrase “yellow pages” has become almost ubiquitous, although some countries (like my native Ireland) use “golden pages” instead. The term lives in the modern era as well, as the name of the business review website Yelp.com is a contraction of “YEL-low P-ages”.
27…Where billions live..ASIA
Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.
28…Lay’s chips-in-a-can brand..STAX
Stax is a brand name of potato snack made by Lay’s. Stax are similar to its famous competitor, Pringles.
30…Police dept. alert..APB
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.
The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.
A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.
37…Lendl of tennis..IVAN
Ivan Lendl is a former professional tennis player from Czechoslovakia. Lendl appeared in eight consecutive US Open finals in the eighties, a record that stands to this day.
A creel is a basket used for catching sea creatures (lobsters, for example). Creel is also the name given to the small wicker basket used to hold fish that have been caught by an angler. “Creel” is originally a Scottish word.
39…Hard to decipher, as some ancient inscriptions..RUNIC
A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.
“Khaki” is an Urdu word, translating literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted for its current use as the name of a fabric by the British cavalry in India in the mid-1800s.
54…Slimming surgery, for short..LIPO
Liposuction dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.
57…Transitive vb. follower..OBJ
Transitive verbs are those that can take direct objects, and intransitive verbs are those that do not. Examples of transitive verbs are “throw (the ball)” and “injure (a leg)”. Examples of intransitive verbs are “fall” and “sit”.
58…Wall St. takeover..LBO
A leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which an investor acquires a controlling volume of stock in a company, but buys that stock with borrowed funds (hence “leveraged”). Often the assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed money. There is a special form of LBO known as a management buyout (MBO) in which the company’s own management team purchases the controlling interest.