Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each end with a WORD that often precedes PASS:
- 64A…Log-on needs … and, literally, what the ends of 16-, 23-, 37- and 56-Across can be..PASSWORDS
- 16A…Without a care in the world..FANCY-FREE (giving “free pass”)
- 23A…Clove crusher..GARLIC PRESS (giving “press pass”)
- 37A…Big band venue..DANCE HALL (giving “hall pass”)
- 56A…Deceptive measure..SMOKE SCREEN (giving “screen pass”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
The style of men’s evening dress called a “tuxedo” was apparently first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.
13…Old Voice of America overseer: Abbr…USIA
The United States Information Agency (USIA) was established under President Eisenhower in 1953, and continued operating until 1999. It’s mission was “public diplomacy”, another term for propaganda broadcast over radio airwaves. The intent from day one was to avoid having the broadcasts identified as propaganda, and speaking as a former listener to the USIA’s Voice of America (VOA) over in Europe, there were a lot of fun programs that had one coming back to hear more, but we all knew it was propaganda quite frankly …
The Frito Corporation was started in 1932 by Elmer Doolin, basically in his mother’s kitchen. Doolin paid $100 for a corn chip recipe from a local restaurant and started producing Fritos at the rate of 10 pounds per day.
20…Vatican City is one..ENCLAVE
An enclave is a portion of a country, or sometimes a whole country, that is completed surrounded by another.
Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.
27…She, in São Paulo..ELA
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. São Paulo is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.
28…”I think,” in chats..IMO
In my opinion (IMO)
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
33…Fictional visitors from space..ETS
One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).
41…U.S.-Canada defense system..NORAD
The North American Defense Command (NORAD) isn’t just a US operation but is a cooperative arrangement between Canada and the United States. The two countries entered into an agreement to establish NORAD in 1958, mainly due to the concern that there would be little or no warning of a missile attack from the Soviet Union that came over the North Pole. NORAD also tracks Santa Claus coming from the North Pole every Christmas, and these days publishes Santa’s location on Christmas Eve on its website. The tracking of Santa started into 1955 when a local Sears store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper with a phone number that could be used to call Santa Claus. The newspaper accidentally printed the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (a precursor to NORAD). The officer on duty instructed his staff to give all children who called a “current location” for Santa. Today, NORAD gets about 120,000 phone queries about Santa’s location every year, and website gets about 20 million visitors.
45…Buckwheat noodle of Japan..SOBA
Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word soba tends to be used to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodles that are called udon.
49…Tuna at a sushi bar..AHI
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.
Sushi is a Japanese dish that has as its primary ingredient cooked, vinegared rice. The rice is usually topped with something, most often fish, and can be served in seaweed rolls. If you want raw fish by itself, then you have to order “sashimi”.
“Hai” is the Japanese word for “yes”.
Okinawa is a large city located on the island of Okinawa in the very south of Japan. Okinawa is home to several US military facilities including Kadena Air Base and the Marine Corps’ Camp Foster.
53…Fr. holy woman..STE
“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a female.
56…Deceptive measure..SMOKE SCREEN (giving “screen pass”)
A screen pass is a football play.
District Attorney (DA)
60…Frozen convenience store offering..SLURPEE
Icee and Slurpee are brand names of slushy drinks. Ugh …
Cheri Oteri was the SNL cast member who regularly appeared with Will Farrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.
67…Gung-ho, as a fan..RABID
“Kung ho” is a Chinese expression meaning “work together, cooperate”. The anglicized version “gung ho” was adopted by a Major Evans Carlson as an expression of combined spirit for his 2nd Marine Raider Battalion during WWII. From there the term spread throughout the Marine Corps and back to America where it persists to this day.
68…Cuatro y cuatro..OCHO
In Spanish, “cuatro y cuatro” (four plus four) is “ocho” (eight).
During the Vietnam War, the political organization opposing the US and South Vietnamese governments was called the National Liberation Front (NLF). The NLF was referred to as the Viet Cong by the Western media, which is a contraction of “Viet Nam Cong-san” meaning “Vietnamese communist”.
The US two-dollar bill features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. The bill was introduced in 1862, and withdrawn in 1966. It was reintroduced in 1976, and is still legal tender. That said, there are relatively few two-dollar bills in circulation. Some people even hold that possession of a two-dollar bill is bad luck.
5…TV channels 2 to 13..VHF
TV frequencies here in North America are divided into two bands. The VHF band covers channels 2 through 13; the UHF band covers channels 14 through 83.
Steel is an alloy that is composed mainly of iron, with a small percentage of carbon.
8…Like the bikini in a 1960 #1 hit..TEENIE
“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” was first released in 1960, and was a number one hit that year for Brian Hyland. At the time, bikini bathing suits were considered very risque in society, but their popularity grew dramatically, with the song getting a lot of the credit for the new-found acceptance.
9…Burton of “Roots”..LEVAR
The actor LeVar Burton is very much associated with two iconic roles on television: young Kunta Kinte in “Roots”, and Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Burton also hosted the children’s PBS show “Reading Rainbow” for many years. His portrayal of Kunta Kinte in 1977 was Burton’s first acting job. Indeed, Burton’s audition for the part was the first in his professional career!
We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!
12…Extension on an unformatted document file..TXT
A “text file” is one that includes only plain text, with little or no formatting, not even bold or italic type. Text files in the Windows operating system use the file extension “.txt”.
17…It’s said that he said, “I never said most of the things I said”..YOGI
Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:
- It ain’t over till it’s over.
- 90% of the game is half mental.
- Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
- When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
- It’s déjà vu all over again.
- Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.
- A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
- I never said most of the things I said.
21…25% of M..CCL
In Roman numerals, CCL (250) is 25% of M (1,000).
25…Campus mil. group..ROTC
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.
American Dental Association (ADA)
40…Feed the kitty..ANTE
The “pot” in a card game has been referred to as the kitty since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it came from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …
42…Eponymous electrical current principle..OHM’S LAW
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every schoolkid knows as Ohm’s Law.
43…1970 John Wayne film..RIO LOBO
“Rio Lobo” is a Western movie that was released in 1970, starring John Wayne. “Rio Lobo” is the third film in a trilogy that was directed by Howard Hawks, the other two films being “Rio Bravo” (1959) and “El Dorado” (1966). “Rio Lobo” was the last film that Hawks directed.
47…Like Dumbledore and Santa Claus..BEARDED
Professor Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster of the school for wizards called Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter universe. Dumbledore’s specialties are nonverbal spells and alchemy. Author J. K. Rowling chose the name Dumbledore as it is an Early English word for a bumblebee. Apparently she pictured him wandering around, humming to himself.
The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.
52…Summer treat..ICE POP
The term “ice pop” has been supplanted in the US by “popsicle”, as the Popsicle brand of ice pop became so popular. We still use “ice pop” in Ireland, and in the UK the same thing is called an “ice lolly”, and in Australia it’s an “ice block”.
54…It used to be plenty..ENOW
“Enow” is an archaic form of the word “enough”.
Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress, who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years.
62…”Slithy” thing in “Jabberwocky”..TOVE
Here are the first two verses of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, probably the one poem that we all just loved learning to recite at school:
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!