Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Today’s themed answers are actually two answers that share a common word, but are mashed together. The end result is a very special circus employee:
- 20A…Circus barker turned hurler known for brushbacks?..INSIDE PITCHMAN (“inside pitch” + “pitchman”)
- 40A…Circus emcee turned fry cook?..ONION RINGMASTER (“onion ring” + “ringmaster”)
- 55A…Circus performer turned gardener?..DANDELION TAMER (“dandelion” + “lion tamer”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…”__ Secretary”: CBS drama..MADAM
“Madam Secretary” is TV show that first aired in 2014. It is about an ex-CIA analyst who is appointed as US Secretary of State. Téa Leoni plays the title role, ably supported by a favorite actress of mine, Bebe Neuwirth. I like this show …
14…Anaheim’s Honda Center, e.g…ARENA
The Honda Center is home to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Formerly known as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, it was renamed to the Honda Arena in 2006, with Honda paying $60 million for the naming rights for fifteen years.
15…West Coast sch…UCLA
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.
A harbinger is a person or a thing that indicates what is to come. The word comes from the Middle English “herbenger”, a person sent ahead to arrange lodgings.
17…Woody Woodpecker’s creator..LANTZ
The much-loved cartoon character called Woody Woodpecker came out of the Walter Lantz animation studio. Woody initially appeared in a cartoon called “Knock Knock” released in 1940. Woody was first voiced by the famous Mel Blanc.
Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …
20…Circus barker turned hurler known for brushbacks?..INSIDE PITCHMAN (“inside pitch” + “pitchman”)
A brushback is a baseball pitch designed to intimidate, to push the batter back and away from the plate.
31…Olympics volleyball great Kerri __ Jennings..WALSH
Kerri Walsh Jennings was partner with Misty May-Treanor when they won three gold medals in beach volleyball in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
39…29-Down’s rock gp…ELO
(29…Jeff of 39-Across..LYNNE)
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a symphonic rock group from the north of England.
The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars in the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.
48…French cathedral city..METZ
The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944. The cathedral in Metz is home to the largest expanse of stained glass in the world, almost 70,000 square feet in all.
55…Circus performer turned gardener?..DANDELION TAMER (“dandelion” + “lion tamer”)
The name “dandelion” comes from the French “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth”. The name is a reference to the coarse, tooth-like edges of a dandelion’s leaves.
64…Family name in a 1936 classic..O’HARA
Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation, in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland.
65…Dramatic accusation..ET TU
It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?), in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life just before he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.
66…Send a quick message to..PING
In the world of computer science, the original “ping” was (and still is) a test message sent over a network between computers to check for a response and to measure the time of that response. We now use the verb “to ping” more generally, meaning to send someone a message, usually a reminder.
67…Contribute, as to a kitty..PAY IN
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.
69…Merit badge holder..SASH
That would be in the world of scouting.
1…West African country..MALI
The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa, south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.
2…Ireland’s __ Islands..ARAN
The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay in the west of Ireland. They are beautiful and desolate places, and one of the few places in Ireland where the main language spoken is Irish, as opposed to English. If you’ve seen the television comedy “Father Ted”, you’ll be familiar with the landscape, as many of the external shots are from Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands.
4…Film noir protagonist..ANTIHERO
An “antihero”, perhaps in a movie or novel, is the “hero” of the piece, but someone who doesn’t exhibit the qualities associated traditionally with a hero, such as bravery or moral fortitude.
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.
6…Prince’s “__ Rain”..PURPLE
“Purple Rain” is a 1984 song by Prince that is the title track from an album of the same name. The album in turn was a soundtrack, of the film “Purple Rain”. The song reached #2 in the charts in 1984, but then made it to #1 soon after Prince’s death in 2016.
7…Berry at health food stores..ACAI
Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.
Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.
10…Disc-shaped robotic vacuum..ROOMBA
The Roomba vacuum cleaner is a cool-looking device that navigates its way around a room by itself, picking up dirt as it goes. Like I said, it’s cool-looking but I am not sure how effective it is …
Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel!
Nürnberg (anglicized as “Nuremberg”) is a Bavarian city located north of Munich. Historically it is remembered for the huge Nazi Nuremberg rallies, and the Nuremberg trials that took place at the end of WWII. Nürnberg is sometimes confused with the city of Nürburg in the west of Germany, famous for the Nürburgring race track.
“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.
25…Sitcom with a 1974 wedding episode..RHODA
The seventies sitcom “Rhoda” was a spinoff of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” that starred Valerie Harper. The eighth episode of the show was an hour-long special in which Rhoda married her fiance Joe (played by David Groh). At the time of airing it was the second-most watched television episode in history, second only to the 1953 birth of Little Ricky on “I Love Lucy”.
26…Greek column style..IONIC
The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.
29…Jeff of 39-Across..LYNNE
Jeff Lynne is a singer-songwriter best known as the leader of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Lynne went on to form the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.
33…”To __: perchance to dream”: Hamlet..SLEEP
The phrase “To sleep — perchance to dream” comes from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy:
To die — to sleep.
To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
A “rub” is a difficulty or obstruction. The usage predates Shakespeare, and comes from the game of lawn bowls in which a rub is a fault in the bowling surface.
34…Epsom Downs racer..HORSE
The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across Epsom salt from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.
Amazon Prime is a membership service that Amazon introduced in 2005. From my perspective, the main features coming with Amazon Prime are free two-day shipping and a large collection of free movies and TV shows that are available for streaming.
Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Microsoft’s first spreadsheet program was introduced back in 1982 and called Multiplan. Multiplan’s popularity waned due to the success of the competing product Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft then introduced Excel, initially just for the Macintosh. When Excel was extended to Windows, Lotus was slow to respond and Microsoft took over the market.
57…General Organa in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”..LEIA
“Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” is the seventh episode in the “Star Wars” series of films. Several favorite characters return in “Star Wars VII”, including Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and General Leia Organa (or “Princess Leia” in earlier films, played by Carrie Fisher).
58…Days and Holiday..INNS
The Days Inn hotel chain was founded in 1970 by a real estate developer called Cecil B. Day. One of the features of a Days Inn hotel in those early days was an on-site gas pump, which dispensed gasoline at discount prices.
The first Holiday Inn hotel was opened in 1952. The name for the hotel chain was inspired by the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
60…”The Very Hungry Caterpillar” writer Carle..ERIC
Eric Carle is a very successful children’s author and book illustrator, with over 100 million of his books sold around the world. Carle’s most famous title is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, and it alone has sold 30 million copies.
The term “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew for “to dedicate”. Hanukkah is a holiday lasting eight days that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after successful Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the 2nd-century BCE. The story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days.