Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers comprises two words, the first being a synonym of “hush-hush”.
- 17A…Old-time bandits..MASKED MARAUDERS
- 26A…Narc’s quarry..HIDDEN STASH
- 38A…Special forces mission..COVERT OPERATION
- 46A…Anonymous holiday gift giver..SECRET SANTA
- 60A…Air marshal’s possession..CONCEALED WEAPON
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
The calf muscle actually consists of two muscles, both of which connect to the foot through the Achilles tendon.
10…World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie..WEBB
Karrie Webb is a professional golfer, the most successful female golfer from Australia. Webb has more wins on the LPGA tour than any other golfer still playing.
14…First host of “The Tonight Show”..ALLEN
Steve Allen was a television personality who always seemed to be on air in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Famously, Allen was the original host of “The Tonight Show”. He also played a little piano and composed over 10,000 songs, perhaps more than anyone in history. His best known song is probably “This Could Be the Start of Something Big”.
“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:
- Steve Allen (1954-57)
- Jack Paar (1957-62)
- Johnny Carson (1962–92)
- Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
- Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
- Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)
20…”The Time Machine” race..ELOI
In the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounter in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a race of cannibals living underground who use the Eloi as food.
22…First extra inning..TENTH
If there are a lot of extra innings in a baseball game, there can be a fourteenth-inning stretch to supplement the seventh-inning stretch. There might even be a twenty-first-inning stretch …
23…Dallas Mavericks org…NBA
The Mavericks are the NBA franchise in Dallas, Texas. The team was founded in 1980, and the Mavericks name was chosen by fan votes. The choice of “Mavericks” was prompted by the fact that the actor James Garner was a part-owner of the team, and Garner of course played the title role in the “Maverick” television series.
25…Old Mideast alliance: Abbr…UAR
The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a union between Egypt and Syria made in 1958 and dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.
26…Narc’s quarry..HIDDEN STASH
“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”.
32…Nova Scotia hrs…AST
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. The list of locations that use AST includes Puerto Rico, Bermuda and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia (NS) lies on the east coast of the country and is a peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The area was settled by Scots starting in 1621, and Nova Scotia is Latin for “New Scotland”.
35…City SW of St. Augustine..OCALA
The city of Ocala, Florida was founded near a historic village with the same name. In the local Timucua language “Ocala” means “Big Hammock”. Back in the 1890s, Ocala was famous for its oranges, with over one third of that fruit shipped from Florida coming from the city. Also, thoroughbred horse farming in Florida started in Ocala, back in 1943. Some folks today call Ocala the “Horse Capital of the World”, but I bet that’s disputed by others …
The city of St. Augustine in northeast Florida was founded as San Agustín in 1565 by the Spanish. That makes St. Augustine the oldest continuously-occupied, European-established settlement in the whole of the US. The Spanish maritime expedition first sighted land in the area on August 28, 1565. As August 28 was the feast day of Augustine of Hippo, San Agustín was chosen as the name for the new territory.
Back in the 1800s “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this extended into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.
The Cambodian riel was first introduced in 1953, and was taken out of circulation by the Khmer Rouge in 1975 when they completely abolished money on taking control of the country. After the Vietnamese invasion of 1978, money was reintroduced and the Cambodian people are still using the “second” riel. The original riel was divided into 100 centimes, but this was changed to 100 “sen” in 1959.
The famous American explorer Robert Peary, was supposedly the first man to reach the geographic North Pole, although that claim has been disputed even back in 1909 right after Peary returned from his trek across the polar ice. At issue is the accuracy of his navigation.
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.
50…Delta rival, as it was once known..USAIR
From 1953, what today is US Airways was called Allegheny Airlines. In the seventies, customers became very dissatisfied with the company’s service levels as it struggled to manage a rapid expansion in its number of flights. These problems earned the airline the nickname “Agony Air”. Allegheny tried to leave the “agony” behind in 1979 and changed its name to USAir. In 1997 the name was changed again, to US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the “US Airways” brand name was gradually replaced with “American Airlines”.
Delta was the world’s largest airline for a while (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008) and is also the oldest airline still operating in the US. Delta’s roots go back to 1924 before it started carrying passengers and was called Huff Daland Dusters, a crop dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name Delta Air Service was introduced in 1928.
53…Tosca’s “Vissi d’arte,” e.g…ARIA
“Vissi d’arte” is an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca” that is sung by the title character Floria Tosca. The title translates from Italian as “I lived for art”.
Unlike so many operas, “Tosca” was a big hit right from day one, when it was first performed in 1900 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. “Tosca” is currently the eighth-most performed opera in America, although I’ve only seen it once myself …
The word “mojo”, meaning magical charm or magnetism, is probably of Creole origin.
60…Air marshal’s possession..CONCEALED WEAPON
The US air marshal program was created by President Kennedy in 1963, with the initial force of only six marshals assigned to flights that were considered at high risk for a hijacking. Just before 9/11, the number of marshals had increased to 33. The exact number of marshals employed today is classified information, but it is thought to be thousands.
63…”The Mod Squad” role..LINC
The 1999 movie “The Mod Squad” was an adaptation of the seventies television show of the same name. The part of Lincoln “Linc” Hayes was played by Omar Epps, Claire Danes played Julie Barnes and Giovanni Ribisi played Peter Cochran.
Superman is often referred to as “the Man of Steel”.
Area codes were introduced in the 1940s. Back then the “clicks” one heard when dialling a number led to mechanical wear on various pieces of equipment. In order to minimize overall mechanical wear, areas with high call volumes were given the most efficient area codes (lowest number of clicks). That led to New York getting the area code 212, Los Angeles 213 and Chicago 313.
“Mess” first came into English about 1300 and described the list of food needed for a meal, from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything from the concept of “mixed food”. At the same time, the original usage in the sense of a food for a meal surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.
68…Brits’ boob tube..TELLY
“Telly” is a term commonly used in the UK that is short for “television”.
2…Airline to Jerusalem..EL AL
El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, with the oldest part of Jerusalem having been settles in the 4th millennium BCE. The city is considered holy in all three of the big Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and as a result is one of the crucial issues to be resolved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Salem is the state capital of Oregon. It is thought that the city takes its name from the older city of Salem, Massachusetts.
Portland is the largest city in Oregon. The city was founded by two claimholders from back East, one from Boston, Massachusetts and one from Portland, Maine. Both of the founders wanted to name the new city after their hometowns, and settled the dilemma with a coin toss. Portland won …
7…Many a Syrian..ARAB
The modern state that we know as Syria was established after WWI as a French mandate. Syria was granted independence from France in 1946.
8…Metallica drummer Ulrich..LARS
Lars Ulrich is a drummer from Denmark, and one of the founding members of the American heavy metal band called Metallica. Lars is the son of former professional tennis player Torben Ulrich, the oldest Davis Cup player in history.
Metallica is a heavy metal band from Los Angeles, formed in 1981. Not my thing …
9…St. with a panhandle..FLA
The Florida Panhandle is in the Central Time Zone, whereas the rest of the state is of course in the Eastern Time Zone.
10…Three-lane, vis-à-vis two-lane..WIDER
We can use the French phrase “vis-à-vis” as a preposition meaning “compared with”. When used as an adverb or adjective, it means “face to face”, which is a more literal translation from French.
11…”I Dream of Jeannie” star..EDEN
Back in 1964, the second most watched show on American television was ABC’s “Bewitched”. Sidney Sheldon was tasked with the job of creating a rival sitcom and he came up with “I Dream of Jeannie”, which first aired in 1965. The censors had a big say in how the story developed. For starters, Jeannie’s skimpy costume was permitted provided Barbara Eden didn’t show off her navel on the screen. Also, Jeannie was only allowed to live with an unmarried man as long as the story made it clear that she slept in a bottle.
12…Buddy of Kermit..BERT
For many years, I believed that the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie were named after two roles played in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In the movie, the policeman’s name is Bert and his taxi-driving buddy is named Ernie. However, the “Sesame Street” folks have stated that the use of the same names is just a coincidence.
Kermit has to be the most readily recognized puppet character created by the late great Jim Henson. Henson came up with Kermit way back in 1955 when he appeared on a puppet show called “Sam and Friends” that aired in Washington, D.C. Kermit is loved so much that he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
18…Leader with a .edu address..DEAN
The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified.
When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag.
24…Animal symbolizing the 25-Down..BEAR
The use of a bear as a symbol for Russia originated in the West. The symbolism was not necessarily flattering, implying that Russia was big and clumsy. However, the Russians themselves embraced the image, and indeed used the bear cub “Misha” as the mascot for the 1980 Olympic Games held in Moscow.
25…World power inits. until ’91..USSR
The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and was comprised of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).
There appears to be a lot of speculation about the origin of the magician’s phrase “hocus pocus”, but nothing stands out to me as being very definitive.
28…”Miles Smiles” trumpeter..DAVIS
The jazz musician Miles Davis was born into a relatively affluent family, so he had plenty of music lessons as a child. After high school, Davis studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York but he dropped out before finishing his studies. He stated later that the Juilliard classes focused too much on European and “white” music, but he acknowledged that the school gave him a foundation in music theory that helped him in later life.
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.
31…Fred’s dancing sister..ADELE
Fred Astaire’s real name was Frederick Austerlitz. Fred was from Omaha, Nebraska and before he made it big in movies, he was one half of a celebrated music hall act with his sister Adele. The pair were particularly successful in the UK, and Adele ended up marrying into nobility in England, taking the name Lady Charles Cavendish.
33…Hurling or curling..SPORT
Hurling is the national sport of my homeland of Ireland. It’s played with a stick called a hurley and a ball called a “sliotar”. It’s thought to be the fastest team sport in the world, and certainly has to be the oldest as it predates Christianity and was brought to Ireland by the Celts.
I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone is it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.
34…Tucker of country..TANYA
Country singer Tanya Tucker’s first hit was “Delta Dawn” in 1972, which she recorded at only 13 years of age.
40…Semicircular church section..APSE
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.
48…Modern witch’s religion..WICCA
Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon, a Neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.
50…Home of the NCAA’s Bruins..UCLA
The UCLA Bruins mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.
51…Evening in Quebec..SOIR
The name “Québec” comes from an Algonquin word “kebec” meaning “where the river narrows”. This refers to the area around Quebec City where the St. Lawrence River narrows as it flows through a gap lined by steep cliffs.
52…Klein of fashion..ANNE
Anne Klein was a fashion designer from Brooklyn, New York.
Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.
58…”Piano Man” man..JOEL
Billy Joel is the third-best selling solo artist in the US, after Elvis Presley and Garth Brooks. Joel’s name has been associated with two supermodels in his life. He dated Elle Macpherson, and wrote two songs about their relationship: “This Night” and “And So It Goes”. Joel’s second wife was Christie Brinkley, to whom he was married from 1985 to 1994. Brinkley appeared in the title role in the music video for “Uptown Girl”.
“Piano Man” is a great 1973 song released by Billy Joel, his first ever single. The song reflects Joel’s own experiences working a piano-lounge singer in a Los Angeles bar called the Executive Room. The lyrics mention a “waitress practicing politics”, which is a reference to Elizabeth Weber who worked at the Executive Room and was Joel’s first wife.
62…Approx. repair cost..EST