Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Today’s themed answers each end with a synonym of “is angry”.
- 20A…Tailpipe emission..EXHAUST FUMES
- 28A…Tug-of-war injuries..FRICTION BURNS
- 42A…Hair-smoothing hairs..BRUSH BRISTLES
- 47A…Shellfish cookouts..SEAFOOD BOILS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Hershey’s toffee bar..SKOR
Skor is a candy bar produced by Hershey’s. “Skor” is Swedish for “shoes”, and the candy bar’s wrapping features a crown that is identical to that found in the Swedish national emblem. Skor is sold in Canada as Rutnam. What “shoes” have to do with candy, I don’t know …
5…Res __ loquitur: the thing itself speaks..IPSA
The literal translation of “res ipsa loquitur” is “the thing speaks for itself”. The phrase is used in law and refers to situations when there is an injury, and the nature of the injury is such that one can assume that negligence had to have taken place.
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.
Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.
Surprisingly (to me), the term “hunky-dory” has been around a long time, and is documented back in the mid-1800s. Nobody’s really sure of its origin, but some say it is an Anglicization of Honcho dori, that back in the day was a street of ill repute in Yokohama, Japan.
19…Dry Italian wine..SOAVE
Soave is a dry white wine produced in the area around the city of Verona in northeast Italy.
24…Beatty/Hoffman box office flop..ISHTAR
I guess “Ishtar” did bomb and was a indeed a disaster, because I’ve never come across it outside of crosswords. The film stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as lounge singers working in Morocco! There’s a Cold War plot and, thank goodness, it’s a comedy. It’s so bad apparently, that it never even made it to DVD.
28…Tug-of-war injuries..FRICTION BURNS
Tug of war is a strength competition between two teams who pull on opposite ends of a rope, vying to pull the opponents over a marked line. The sport was an event in the Summer Olympic Games from 1900 until 1920. The USA teams won all three medals for the tug of war at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis.
There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:
- Foal: horse of either sex that is less that one year old
- Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
- Filly: female horse under the age of four
- Colt: male horse under the age of four
- Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
- Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
- Mare: female horse four years or older
35…Freelancer’s email attachment: Abbr…INV
An invoice is an itemized bill. The term comes from the Middle French “envois” meaning “dispatch (of goods)”. The root verb is “envoyer”, which translates as “to send”.
The term “free lance” was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his 1820 novel “Ivanhoe”, using it to describe a medieval mercenary warrior. Forty years later, a freelancer was a journalist who did work for more than one publication without a long-term commitment.
The British developed the first underwater detection system that used sound waves. Research was driven by defence demands during WWI, leading to production of working units in 1922. This new sound detection system was described as using “supersonics”, but for the purpose of secrecy the term was dropped in favor of an acronym. The work was done under the auspices of the Royal Navy’s Anti-Submarine Division, so ASD was combined with the IC from “superson-ic-s” to create the name ASDIC. The navy even went as far as renaming the quartz material at the heart of the technology “ASDivite”. By the time WWII came along, the Americans were producing their own systems and coined the term SONAR, playing off the related application, RADAR. And so the name ASDIC was deep-sixed …
39…Word in a bride’s bio..NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
“To court” someone is to woo them, to offer homage, as one might do at court, hence the use of the term.
41…Two-time US Open winner..SELES
Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents, in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.
46…”__ the Walrus”..I AM
“I Am the Walrus” is a Beatles song released in 1967. It was written by John Lennon, with the Walrus being a reference to the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass”.
54…Medicare prescription drug section..PART D
Medicare is divided into four parts:
- A: Hospital Insurance
- B: Medical Insurance
- C: Medicare Advantage Plans
- D: Prescription Drug Plans
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.
58…Brandy bottle letters..VSOP
Brandy is a spirit distilled from wine. The term “brandy” ultimately comes from the Dutch “gebrande wijn” meaning “burnt wine”. The length of this aging of the spirit defines the various grades of brandy:
- VS: Very Special … at least 2 years storage
- VSOP: Very Special (or Superior) Old Pale … at least 4 years storage
- XO: Extra Old … at least 6 years
- VSO: Very Superior Old … 12-17 years
Ariel is a spirit, a character who appears in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and who becomes a servant of the magician Prospero. Ariel was actually viewed as a male character when the play was first staged, and the text of the play supports this assumption. Many believe that the part was originally played by a boy actor, and over time the tendency has been to use female actors, but not exclusively.
60…Highest sudoku digit..NINE
Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …
The sacrum and the two ilia are three bones in the human pelvis.
62…Free, in France..LIBRE
“Libre” is the French word for “free”.
“Armoire” is the French word for “wardrobe”, and is used for a standing closet that stores clothes.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!
1…Cyber Monday event..SALE
“Cyber Monday” is the Monday after Thanksgiving, when retailers offer incentives to online shoppers in the hope of boosting sales. The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 in a press release issued by the website Shop.org. In recent years, consumers have been spending more money online on Cyber Monday than any other day in the year.
2…Fort with lots of bars..KNOX
Fort Knox is actually a US Army base, but it lends its name to the adjacent facility that is more correctly called the United States Bullion Depository. Most of the US gold reserves are in “Fort Knox”, although it isn’t the biggest gold repository in the US. That honor goes to the vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Most of the gold stored in the New York vault belongs to foreign nations and banks.
3…”Then again,” in tweets..OTOH
On the other hand (OTOH)
6…Pound, but not ounce..POET
Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.
Our term “ounce” comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a “libra”, the Roman “pound”.
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.
8…Six-time All-Star Moises..ALOU
Moises Alou played major league baseball, as did his father Felipe and his uncle Matty.
10…__ pork: Chinese dish served with pancakes..MOO SHU
Moo shu pork is a traditional dish from northern China, with the main ingredients being shredded pork and scrambled egg.
11…Letters often after a perp’s name..AKA
Also known as (aka)
Our word “lavatory” originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.
It has been suggested that the British term “loo” comes from Waterloo (water-closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo” in which the pot was called the loo!
What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …
“Exodus” is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris, first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.
Mint marks are inscribed on coins to indicate where the coin was minted. In the US, the current mint marks are:
- “P” for the Philadelphia Mint
- “D” for the Denver Mint
- “S” for the San Francisco Mint
- “W” for the West Point Mint
26…Musical set in an orphanage..ANNIE
The Broadway musical “Annie” is produced in more than one version. There is an “Annie Jr.” that has been edited down to a shortened version more suitable for young performers and audiences. An even shorter version that lasts only 30 minutes is called “Annie KIDS”, and is meant for performers still in elementary school.
27…Replies to an invite, for short..RSVPS
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “please, answer”.
30…Louvre Pyramid architect..IM PEI
I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) is an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, especially the Glass Pyramid in the courtyard.
31…Pages with views..OP-EDS
Op-Ed is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-Eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.
32…Rachel Maddow’s network..MSNBC
We used to be able to listen to “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Air America Radio before the radio station went bust. Now we can see Maddow on a TV show with the same name, every night on MSNBC. She is the first openly gay anchor to host a primetime news program in the US.
33…Final Olds made..ALERO
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.
Snake charmers don’t actually hypnotize their cobras, but they do train them. The snake is trained to “follow” the movement of end of the pungi, the instrument that the charmer uses in the act. The snake presents no danger to the charmer or the audience, as it is typically defanged or has it’s mouth partially stitched up so that only the tongue can be moved in and out. Not a very nice practice …
38…2007 animated film in which Sting voices himself..BEE MOVIE
“Bee Movie” is a 2007 animated feature starring Jerry Seinfeld and Renée Zellweger. Seinfeld voices a honeybee named Barry B. Benson, and Zellweger a human named Vanessa whom he befriends. Seinfeld also co-wrote and produced the film.
Sting is the stage name used by Gordon Sumner, who came to fame initially as the lead singer for The Police. Off stage, Sting is an avid chess player, and he once participated in an exhibition game with chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov.
“To wheedle” is to influence by flattery for one’s gain. Such a lovely verb, I think …
To coax is to cajole, to influence using gentle persuasion. Back in the 16th century, “coax” was a a noun meaning “fool”, and was used in the sense of “make a coax of, make a fool of”.
48…Shift (for oneself)..FEND
Yep, “to shift” can mean “to take care of oneself”.
“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.
“Hochepot” is an Old French word for stew or soup, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodgepodge” in the early 1400s.
53…Do a vet’s job..SPAY
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.
A “chum” is a friend. The term originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.
55…NPR journalist Shapiro..ARI
Ari Shapiro is the very able White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR)