Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each comprise two words, with the initials LP:
- 55D…Collectors’ albums … and a hint to six puzzle answers..LPS
- 16A…Crustacean catcher..LOBSTER POT
- 25A…Weapon in Clue..LEAD PIPE
- 42A…Slip for a tardy student..LATE PASS
- 55A…Decorator’s wall prettifier..LATEX PAINT
- 10D…Backyard bash..LAWN PARTY
- 32D…Keats or Byron, e.g…LYRIC POET
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
4…Creator of Finn and Sawyer..TWAIN
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain was first published in 1884, not here in the US but rather in England. The original launch planned for the US had to be delayed until the following year because some rascal had defaced the plate for one of the illustrations, making an obscene joke. Once the problem was spotted a new plate had to be made, and 30,000 copies already printed had to be reworked to cover up the obscenity.
Tom Sawyer is a favorite character created by Mark Twain. He turns up in four of Twain’s books:
- “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
- “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
- “Tom Sawyer Abroad”
- “Tom Sawyer, Detective”
But that’s not all, as he appears in at least three works that Twain left unfinished:
- “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians” (a sequel to “Huckleberry Finn”)
- “Schoolhouse Hill”
- “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy” (a sequel to “Tom Sawyer, Detective”)
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.
15…Ring over an angel..HALO
The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo”, used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.
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.
25…Weapon in Clue..LEAD PIPE
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …
30…”Defending our rights” org…ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.
34…Scans for injured athletes, briefly..MRIS
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.
35…__ Mawr College..BRYN
I used to live not far from Bryn-mawr (also “Brynmwar”) in Wales, the town with the highest elevation in the country. Appropriately enough, “bryn mawr” is Welsh for “big hill”. There is also a Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania (note the different capitalization) that is named after its Welsh counterpart. At the Pennsylvania location there’s a Bryn Mawr college, a private women’s school that was the first American university to offer graduate degrees to women.
40…Since, in a holiday song..SYNE
The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.
A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.
45…Like the Arctic, compared to most of the planet..COLDER
Our word “Arctic” ultimately derives from the Greek “arktikos” meaning “of the bear”, a reference to the northerly constellation Ursa Major (the Bear).
53…Illness characterized by a red rash..MEASLES
Measles is a viral infection of the respiratory system. Apparently there is no really effective treatment of measles, although there is some evidence that high doses of vitamin A can reduce the chances of mortality in the very young. Measles is also known as “rubeola”, not to be confused with “rubella”, an alternative name for German measles.
54…Soon, to a bard..ANON
“Anon” originally meant “at once” and evolved into today’s meaning of “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.
55…Decorator’s wall prettifier..LATEX PAINT
Water-based acrylic paints are also known as “latex paints”.
A group of lions is known as a “pride” of lions. It’s possible that the term “pride” in this context derives from the Latin “”praeda” meaning “prey”.
60…Former AT&T rival..GTE
GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 to form the company that we know today as Verizon. Verizon made some high-profile acquisitions over the years, including MCI in 2005 and AOL in 2015.
61…Former fast planes..SSTS
The most famous Supersonic Transport (SST) was the Concorde, a plane that’s no longer flying. Concorde had that famous “droop nose”. The nose was moved to the horizontal position during flight to create the optimum aerodynamic shape thereby reducing drag. It was lowered during taxi, takeoff and landing, so that the pilot had better visibility. The need for the droop nose was driven largely by the delta-shaped wings. The delta wing necessitates a higher angle of attack at takeoff and landing than conventional wing designs, so the pilot needed the nose lowered so that he or she could see the ground.
Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). And yes, we get our adjective “stoic” from the same root.
3…Buffalo hockey player..SABRE
The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” following a fan contest.
4…Title venue for Hemingway’s old man..THE SEA
If you’ve read Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man And The Sea” (maybe first at school, like me!) you’ll likely remember it as a quick read as it is a novella, although it might be better described as a “long short story”. It was first published in 1952, the last major work that Hemingway had published in his lifetime. That first publication was as a story in “Life Magazine”, and it was such a hit that the magazine sold 5 million copies in the first two days. “The Old Man and the Sea” won a Pulitzer in 1952 and two years later the title was cited when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD not that long ago. I’ve started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device. I love it …
7…Wall St. debut..IPO
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).
Shamu was the name of the third orca, or killer whale, ever to be featured in a public exhibition. Shamu starred in a popular SeaWorld show in San Diego in the sixties. After she died in 1971, her name lived on as the name “Shamu” is still used by SeaWorld for its killer whale shows. That original Shamu was retired after she grabbed and refused to let go of the leg of one of her trainers.
Even though jai alai is often said to be the fastest sport in the world because of the speed of the ball, in fact golf balls usually get going at a greater clip. Although, as a blog reader once pointed out to me, you don’t have to catch a golf ball …
The first yo-yos date back to at least 500 BC. There is even an ancient Greek vase painting that shows a young man playing with a yo-yo. Centuries later Filipinos were using yo-yos as hunting tools in the 1500s. “Yo-yo” is a Tagalog (Filipino) word meaning “come-come” or simply “return”.
Spelunking is an American term for caving, although the word has Latin roots (“spelunca” is the Latin for “cave”). The term originated in the 1940s in New England when it was adopted by a group of men who explored caves in the area.
23…Costner/Russo golf film..TIN CUP
“Tin Cup” is a fun romantic comedy starring Kevin Costner. Costner plays a former golf prodigy who has hit bottom, but who drags himself up by the bootstraps thanks to the influence of the female lead played by the lovely Rene Russo. Costner plays the title character Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy.
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.
In its modern usage, the term “basilica” applies to a Roman Catholic church that has been given special ceremonial rights by the Pope.
A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.
29…Salinger’s “With Love and Squalor” girl..ESME
J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor”, originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.
30…Palindromic pop group..ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA’s music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid. Early in their careers, the four fell in love and formed two married couples: Agnetha and Bjorn, and Benny and Anni-Frid. However, at the height of their success, the relationships became strained and both couples divorced.
32…Keats or Byron, e.g…LYRIC POET
The poet John Keats is famous for writing a whole series of beautiful odes. The most renowned are the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.
George Gordon Byron, known simply as “Lord Byron”, was an English poet active in the early 1800s. Byron was equally as famous for his poetry as he was for the wild excesses in his personal life. Byron lived much of that life outside of England, and fought for revolutionaries in both Italy and Greece. He died from a fever contracted while fighting for the Greeks against the Ottomans.
34…Pageant title with 51 contestants (the 50 states plus D.C.)..MISS USA
The Miss USA beauty pageant was founded in 1952 in order to select the American candidate for the Miss Universe competition.
The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the female shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.
42…Partners’ legal entity: Abbr…LLC
A limited liability company (LLC) is a company structure that limits the liability of the owner or owners.
43…Madison Ave. bigwig..AD EXEC
Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.
44…Most TV “operas”..SOAPS
The original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at women working in the home as housewives. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that’s how the “soap” opera got its name …
48…”Mutiny on the Bounty” captain..BLIGH
William Bligh was a senior officer in the Royal Navy who was famously captain of the HMS Bounty when her crew mutinied. As I found out in my last trip back to Ireland, late in his life Bligh charted and mapped Dublin Bay and designed the important North Bull Wall that sits at the mouth of the River Liffey and entrance to Dublin Port.
Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall wrote “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, based on a true story. They followed up their successful novel with two more works, creating what is now called the “Bounty Trilogy”. The three books are:
- “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, the tale of the mutiny against Captain Bligh.
- “Men Against the Sea”, the story of Captain Bligh and the eighteen men set adrift in an open boat by the mutineers.
- “Pitcairn’s Island”, a narrative about the lives of the mutineers on South Sea islands after the mutiny.
A lento passage is a piece of music that has a slow tempo.
Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …
51…Four-note lights-out tune..TAPS
“Taps” is played nightly by the US military, indicating “lights out”. It’s also known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby” as it is a variation of an older bugle call named the “Scott Tattoo”, arranged during the Civil War by the Union Army’s Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. The tune is called “taps”, from the notion of drum taps, as it was originally played on a drum, and only later on a bugle. The whole tune comprises just 24 notes, with there only being four different notes within the 24, i.e. “low G”, C, E and “high G”. Minimalism at its best …
53…Prefix with care..MEDI-
Medicare is a the national medical insurance program administered by the US government. The term “Medicare” originally applied to a government program introduced in 1956 that provided coverage for families of those serving in the military. The current Medicare program was introduced by the Johnson administration in 1966, to provide health insurance to anyone aged 65 years or older.
55…Collectors’ albums … and a hint to six puzzle answers..LPS
The first vinyl records designed to play at 33 1/3 rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first Long Play (LP) 33 1/3 rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.
Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname “El Estado Grande”. The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. The Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.