Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Today’s themed answers start with a word that often follows “COMMON”, giving phrases with COMMON at the FRONT:
- 63A…United stand … and what the first part of the answers to starred clues literally can have..COMMON FRONT
- 17A…*Cost of shares on the exchange..MARKET PRICE (giving “Common Market”)
- 41A…*U.S./USSR conflict..COLD WAR (giving “common cold”)
- 11D…*Element in an executive compensation package..STOCK OPTION (giving “common stock”)
- 25D…*Drive to do the responsible thing..SENSE OF DUTY (giving “common sense”)
- 27D…*”So long”..GOOD DAY (giving “common good”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.
11…Place for a massage..SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.
15…French Revolution radical..MARAT
Jean-Paul Marat was a prominent figure in the French Revolution. Marat was famously murdered in his bath by a young woman named Charlotte Corday who was a Royalist. The gruesome event was immortalized in a celebrated painting by Jacques-Louis David called “The Death of Marat”.
17…*Cost of shares on the exchange..MARKET PRICE (giving “Common Market”)
The European Economic Community (EEC) was also called “the Common Market”. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union (EU).
“To miff” is “to put out, to tee off”, a word that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That would get him a slap, I’d say …
The word “gizmo” (also “gismo”) was originally slang used by both the US Navy and the Marine Corps, but the exact origin seems unknown.
23…__ buco: veal dish..OSSO
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone as in the name of the dish Osso Buco: braised veal shanks.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.
36…Nobel Peace Prize city..OSLO
The Peace Prize is the most famous of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel. The others are for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. There is also a Nobel Prize in Economics that is awarded along with the original five, but it is funded separately and is awarded “in memory of Alfred Nobel”. Four of the prizes are awarded by Swedish organizations (Alfred Nobel was a Swede) and so the award ceremonies take place in Stockholm. The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and that award is presented in Oslo.
A Jack-in-the-box is child’s toy. It’s a box with a crank handle at the side. Turning the crank causes a tune to play (usually “Pop Goes the Weasel”), and at the right moment the lid pops open and a spring loaded clown character jumps up out of the box.
40…Drips in the ICU..IVS
One might see intravenous drips (IVs) in an intensive care unit (ICU).
41…*U.S./USSR conflict..COLD WAR (giving “common cold”)
The term “Cold War” was first used by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch.
45…Yankee slugger, to fans..A-ROD
Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, has broken a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million.
46…Area of expertise..METIER
“Métier” is the French for “trade, profession”.
53…World Cup soccer org…FIFA
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA, standing for “Fédération Internationale de Football Association”) is the governing body of the game of soccer.
56…1946 N.L. RBI leader Slaughter..ENOS
Enos Slaughter has a remarkable playing record in Major League Baseball over a 19-year career. Slaughter’s record is particularly remarkable given that he left baseball for three years to serve in the military during WWII.
60…”__ the mornin’!”..TOP O’
“Top o’ the mornin’” is a greeting usually associated with the Irish, although I’ve never heard it used except in jest …
62…Sch. run by Mormons..BYU
Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah has about 34.000 students on campus making it the largest religious university in the country. The school was founded in 1875 by Brigham Young, then President of the Mormon Church.
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …
Cedar is used for the manufacture of some wardrobes and chests as it has long been believed that the fragrant oil in the wood is a moth-repellent. However, whether or not cedar oil is actually effective at keeping moths away seems to be in doubt.
1…Leo is its logo..MGM
There has been a lion in the logo of the MGM studio since 1924. The original was an Irishman (!), a lion named Slats who was born in Dublin Zoo in 1919. However, it wasn’t until Jackie took over from Slats in 1928 that the roar was heard, as the era of silent movies was coming to an end. The current lion is called Leo, and he has been around since 1957.
2…California’s Santa __ River..ANA
The Santa Ana River rises in the San Bernardino Mountains and empties into the Pacific Ocean 96 miles downstream. The Santa Ana is the largest river in Southern California.
The fish known as a gar is very unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What is interesting about gar is that their swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …
5…Egyptian queen, familiarly..CLEO
Cleopatra was the last pharaoh to rule Egypt. After Cleopatra died, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire.
7…St. Patrick’s mo…MAR
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as St. Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.
9…Sprayed in defense..MACED
“Mace” is actually a brand name, originally introduced by Lake Erie Chemical when they started to manufacture “Chemical Mace”, with the name being a play on the club-like weapon from days of old. Mace was originally a form of tear gas, but Mace today uses a formula that is actually a pepper spray, a different formulation.
A stevedore, or longshoreman, is someone employed in the loading and unloading of ships at a port. The word “stevedore” comes from the Spanish “estibador”, meaning “one who loads cargo”. The word “longshoreman”, is simply from “a man who works alongshore”.
11…*Element in an executive compensation package..STOCK OPTION (giving “common stock”)
In the world of commerce, an option is an exclusive right to purchase something within a specified time at a specified price. One often hears about stock options, that employees can have. Such employees have the right to purchase company stock at a certain pre-determined price, within a certain time frame.
There are two main types of stock that one can own in company: common and preferred. Holders of preferred stock have the advantage of being paid dividends first, with holders of common stock only receiving dividends after preferred stockholders have been paid in full. Preferred stockholders are also paid off first in the event of a bankruptcy, with holders of common stock often receiving nothing or very little when assets are sold off. Trust me, I know …
A “lumberjack” is a logger, one harvesting and transporting trees to mills. As one might perhaps imagine, “lumberjack” was originally a Canadian term.
22…Prefix with metric and bar..ISO-
The word “isometric” comes from Greek, and means “having equal measurement”. Isometric exercise is a resistance exercise in which the muscle does not change in length (and the joint angle stays the same). The alternative would be dynamic exercises, ones using the joint’s full range of motion.
An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.
An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis. As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake.
Norelco is a brand of shavers and personal care products made by Philips. The brand name was introduced as the company was barred from using “Philips” in the US in the early 1940s. The name Norelco was chosen as an acronym for “NOR-th American Philips EL-ectrical CO-mpany.
33…Rita with an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy..MORENO
The Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress Rita Moreno is one of the few performers to have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony. Moreno got her big break, and won her Oscar, for playing Anita in the 1961 screen adaption of “West Side Story”.
35…Like Al Capone..SCAR-FACED
When Al Capone was a young man, he worked as a bouncer in nightclubs and saloons. He was working the door of a Brooklyn night spot one evening when he apparently insulted a woman, sparking off a fight with her brother. In the tussle, Capone’s face was slashed three times. Capone wasn’t too proud of the incident, nor the “Scarface” moniker that he was given as a result. He always hid the scars as best he could when being photographed, and was also fond of telling people that the scars were from old war wounds.
A “lampoon” is a parody, a spoof or send-up.
In the world of mathematics, a “theorem” is a statement that can be proven by using other theorems and/or axioms, generally accepted statements. The term “theorem” ultimately comes from the Greek “theorema” meaning “that which is looked at”.
49…Bailed-out insurance co…AIG
AIG is the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …
Our term “helicopter” was absorbed from the French word “hélicoptère” that was coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. d’Amécourt envisioned aircraft that could fly vertically using rotating wings that “screwed” into the air. He combined the Greek terms “helix” meaning “spiral, whirl” and “pteron” meaning “wing” to give us “helicopter”.
54…Whac-__: arcade game..A-MOLE
The Whac-A-Mole arcade game was invented in 1976. Players use a mallet to force five plastic moles back into their holes. Whacking the moles can be so frustrating that we sometimes use the term “Whac-a-mole” to describe a repetitive and futile task.
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.
59…Actress Stone of “Birdman”..EMMA
The actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …
Private First Class (PFC)
65…Prefix with meter..ODO-
An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.
66…__ King Cole..NAT
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.
“One, two, three” in Italian is “uno, due, tre”.