Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each end with a hidden word, a DISTANCE. Those distances get progress down the grid, from INCH to MILE:
- 57A…Finishes a task, and a hint to hidden words in this puzzle’s four other longest answers..GOES THE DISTANCE
- 17A…Strapped..FEELING THE PINCH (hiding “inch”)
- 23A…”Carefree Highway” singer..GORDON LIGHTFOOT (hiding “foot”)
- 37A…Island on which much of “Jaws” was filmed..MARTHA’S VINEYARD (hiding “yard”)
- 47A…Grin..BREAK INTO A SMILE (hiding “mile”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Read the riot act..BASTE
The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.
11…D-backs, on scoreboards..ARI
The Arizona Diamondbacks joined Major League Baseball’s National League in 1998. By winning the World Series in 2001, the Diamondbacks became the fastest expansion team to do so in Major League history.
14…Physics Nobelist Schrödinger..ERWIN
Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian theoretical physicist, one of the so-called “fathers of Quantum Mechanics”. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933 for developing the Schrödinger Equation, the “Newton’s Law” of Quantum Mechanics. Famously, Schrödinger devised a thought experiment that illustrates the concept of a paradox. The scenario, known as “Schrödinger’s cat”, presents us with a cat that can be both alive and dead at the same time. I used to be able to Schrödinger’s Cat, and then I got old …
“Moc” is short for “moccasin”, the type of shoe.
Baja California is both the most northern and the most western of the Mexican states. The name translates from Spanish as “Lower California”.
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) was introduced in the 1930s as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. FICA payments are made by both employees and employers in order to fund Social Security and Medicare.
23…”Carefree Highway” singer..GORDON LIGHTFOOT
Gordon Lightfoot is a singer-songwriter from Orillia, Ontario. Included in the list of songs written by Lightfoot are “If You Could Read My Mind” (1970), “Carefree Highway” (1974) and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976).
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.
Rory McIlroy is a very 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.
Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisine like tempura.
37…Island on which much of “Jaws” was filmed..MARTHA’S VINEYARD
Martha’s Vineyard is a relatively large island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. “Martha’s Vineyard” was originally the name of a smaller island to the south, named by English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602. The name was eventually transferred to the main island, and is now the eighth-oldest English place-name still used in the US. It is likely that the Gosnold named the island for his daughter Martha.
“Jaws” is a thrilling 1975 movie directed by Steven Spielberg that is based on a novel of the same name by Peter Benchley. The film has a powerful cast, led by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw. “Jaws” was perhaps the first “summer blockbuster” with the highest box office take in history, a record that stood until “Star Wars” was released two years later.
41…Many a prof..PHD
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”.
43…First name in jazz..ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
54…”Do or do not. There is no try” speaker..YODA
Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice was provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of “Muppets” fame.
Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Dallas, Texas and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico. The first Omni property opened in 1958, and Omni were the first large hotel chain to not offer in-room adult movies.
The Hyatt hotel chain takes its name from the first hotel in the group, that was purchased in 1957 i.e. Hyatt House at Los Angeles International Airport. Among other things, Hyatt is famous for designing the world’s first atrium hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta.
56…Informal British address..GUV
“Guv” is an informal word replacing “governor”, used in the UK. It is usually a friendly address to a man, sort of like our “Mac” or “Dad”.
SEAL is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counterguerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.
63…Baron Cohen’s Kazakh journalist..BORAT
The full name of the 2006 “mockumentary” is “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. Borat is played by a British comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen. Not my cup of tea …
64…”… bombs bursting __”..IN AIR
The words “bombs bursting in air” come from “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.
The original “censor” was an officer in ancient Rome who had responsibility for taking the “census”, as well as supervising public morality.
5…City SSW of Wichita, KS..ENID, OK
Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.
Wichita, Kansas started out as a trading post established by Jesse Chisholm in the 1860s, a stopover on the famous Chisholm Trail. Wichita became one of the railheads on the Chisholm Trail, the end point of many cattle drives from Texas. As such, Wichita earned the nickname “Cowtown”.
6…Source of opera financing..ANGEL
An angel investor is one who provides capital very early in a business’s life cycle. The term “angel” is borrowed from Broadway, where angels were wealthy people who provided funds to stage theatrical productions.
7…”The Teflon Don”..GOTTI
John Gotti was the boss of the Gambino crime family from 1985. Gotti was known as the “Teflon Don” and took over leadership of the family from Paul Castellano when he was gunned down, allegedly on Gotti’s orders. Gotti remained head of the New York family until he was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. Gotti died of throat cancer after ten years behind bars.
9…Casual wear biggie..LEE
The Lee company famous for making jeans was formed in 1889, by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.
Extrasensory perception (ESP)
11…Test that examines fetal DNA, briefly..AMNIO
Amniocentesis is the prenatal test which involves the removal of a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus using a hypodermic needle. The fluid naturally contains some fetal cells, the DNA of which can then be tested to determine the sex of the child and to check for the presence of genetic abnormalities.
“Fidelio” is Ludwig van Beethoven’s one and only opera, and a work that he really struggled with. “Fidelio” tells of a woman named Leonore who disguises herself as a prison guard in order get her condemned husband out of prison.
13…Phased-out Apple messaging software..ICHAT
iChat was introduced in 2002, and was Apple’s “instant messaging” application that integrated with the Mac Operating System. iChat was replaced by Messages.
The Holy Grail is theme found throughout Arthurian legend. The grail itself is some vessel, with the term “grail” coming from the Old French “graal” meaning “cup or bowl made of earth, wood or metal”. Over time, the legend of the Holy Grail became mingled with stories of the Holy Chalice of the Christian tradition, the cup used to serve wine at the Last Supper. Over time, the term “grail” came to be used for any desired or sought-after object.
30…One with a stay-at-home job?..UMP
Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came for Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.
Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.
32…Sean of “Rudy”..ASTIN
Sean Astin is best known for playing the title role in the 1993 film “Rudy” and the character Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. You might also have seen him playing Lynn McGill in the 5th season of “24”. Astin is the son of actress Patty Duke.
The state of West Virginia was formed during the civil war when the western counties in the old state of Virginia voted to secede from the Confederate state.
34…Device that debuted in Detective Comics in 1942..BAT-SIGNAL
Batman is an ally of Police Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City. Gordon orders the shining of a searchlight into the sky, known as the Bat-Signal, to summon Batman when he is needed.
36…Org. concerned with securing crowns..ADA
American Dental Association (ADA)
53…’50s-’60s civil rights activist..EVERS
Medgar Evers was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi who was assassinated by the Klu Klux Klan in 1963. A year after the murder, one Byron De La Beckwith was arrested and charged with the crime. Two trials failed to return a decision on Beckwith’s guilt as the juries, composed completely of white males, deadlocked both times. New evidence was unearthed some thirty years later so Beckwith could be retried and he was finally convicted of the murder in 1994. Back in 1963 Evers was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Evers had served in the US Army in France during WWII and left the military with the rank of sergeant.
58…”Angie Tribeca” airer..TBS
“Angie Tribeca” is a sitcom created by Steve Carell and his wife Nancy Walls Carell. The title role is an LAPD police detective played by actress Rashida Jones.
61…Santa __, California..ANA
Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.