Edited by: Rich Norris
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Our themed answers today each contain a string of letters that are circled in the grid. Those letters are FATE, but have been TWISTED about, jumbled up:
- 56A…Ironic change in destiny … and, literally, what happens in this puzzle’s circles..TWIST OF FATE
- 17A…Noir film temptress..FEMME FATALE
- 28A…Football-like sport played with a disc..ULTIMATE FRISBEE
- 43A…Close kin..IMMEDIATE FAMILY
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
11…Triple __: liqueur..SEC
Triple sec is liqueur made from the dried peels of bitter and sweet oranges. I tend to use it in cocktails calling for Grand Marnier or Cointreau, as it is a cheaper alternative and tastes very similar …
Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers. Aoki’s best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.
16…Thurman of “Kill Bill”..UMA
Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.
“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (so I haven’t seen it!). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.
17…Noir film temptress..FEMME FATALE
A “femme fatale” is a dangerously seductive woman. “Femme fatale” is French for “deadly woman”.
The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.
Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. Tesla’s work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.
25…”__F!”: pre-weekend cry..TGI
“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.
27…Homer Simpson’s wife..MARGE
Marge Simpson is the matriarch of the family in “The Simpsons” animated sitcom. Marge is voiced by actress Julie Kavner, who is also well known for playing Brenda Morgenstern in the TV show “Rhoda” in the seventies.
28…Football-like sport played with a disc..ULTIMATE FRISBEE
Ultimate is a team sport, similar to football or rugby in that the goal is to get a flying disc into an endzone or goal area. The sport used to be called “Ultimate Frisbee”, but the “Frisbee” was dropped as it is a registered trademark.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was founded by Spanish Franciscans led by Friar Junipero Serra in 1771. The mission, that continues running to this day, is located about 10 miles from today’s downtown LA. Forty-four settlers left Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in 1781 to found the pueblo named “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula” (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River”). It was this pueblo that grew into the city of Los Angeles.
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.
34…Kareem’s former name..LEW
Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s name at birth was Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor. Alcindor changed his name when he converted to Islam.
Riptides are stretches of turbulent water caused by the meeting of different currents in the ocean.
Saint Valentine’s Day was introduced by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor various martyrs with the name Valentine. However, the saint’s’ day was dropped by the Roman Catholic church in 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Try telling that to Hallmark though …
“Norma Rae” is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called “Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance”.
51…Execs, or outfits hanging in their closets..SUITS
In the world of business, “suit” is a slang term describing an executive or manager, often one who is a faceless decision maker.
“Ditto” was originally used in Italian (from Tuscan dialect) to avoid repetition of the names of months in a series of dates. So, “ditto” is just another wonderful import from that lovely land …
1…Animated Internet file suffix..GIF
A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.
2…Suffix with Siam..-ESE
Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and from 1945 to 1949).
3…Meaty dish that would make Mary sad?..LAMB STEW
“Mary Had a Little Lamb” is a nursery rhyme that originated in the US, first published in Boston in 1830. The rhyme was written by Sarah Josepha Hale, and was based on a real-life Mary who had a pet lamb that followed her around. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” has the distinction of being the first words recorded by Thomas Edison on his phonograph invention in 1877.
Mogadishu is a major port city on the west coast of Africa, and is the capital of Somalia. The city is known locally as Xamar.
7…Hrs. that begin when we “spring forward”..DST
On the other side of the Atlantic, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is known as “summer time”. The idea behind summer/daylight-savings is to move clocks forward an hour in spring (i.e. “spring forward”) and backwards in the fall (i.e. “fall back”) so that afternoons have more daylight.
8…”Doctor Zhivago” actor Omar..SHARIF
Omar Sharif was a great Hollywood actor from Egypt, someone who played major roles in memorable movies such as “Doctor Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia”. But to me, he was my bridge hero (the card game). In his heyday, Sharif was one of the best bridge players in the world.
Doctor Zhivago is an epic novel by Boris Pasternak, first published in 1957. I haven’t tried to read it the book, but the 1965 film version is a must-see, directed by David Lean and starring Omar Sharif in the title role. The story centers on Yuri Zhivago, a doctor and poet, and how he is affected by the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War.
18…Jack of old Westerns..ELAM
Jack Elam was a movie actor noted for playing the bad guy in Westerns. When Elam was a boy scout, he was accidentally stabbed in the eye with a pencil. The incident left him blind in that eye, and the iris remained skewed to the outside of his face. This gave him a crazed, wide-eyed look that helped add a sense of menace to the characters Elam played.
23…Rock’s Jethro __..TULL
Jethro Tull is a rock band from the UK, formed in 1967 and still going strong today. The band uses the name of a 18th-century, English agriculturist.
Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.
26…Develop in the womb..GESTATE
The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, just over a year.
Our word “redact”, meaning to revise or edit, comes from the past participle of the Latin “redigere” meaning “to reduce”.
36…”Mockingbird” singer Foxx..INEZ
Inez and Charlie Foxx were a sister-and-brother R&B duo from Greensboro, North Carolina. The act broke up in the seventies, and Charlie passed away in 1998. The duo’s most famous recording is the song “Mockingbird”, released in 1963.
37…Asian mushroom with an odd spelling..SHIITAKE
Shiitake mushrooms are native to Japan, China and Korea. They are very popular as a food, and shiitake now make up about 25% of the total world’s production of mushrooms. The name is Japanese in origin, and basically means “mushroom that grows on the shii (Castanopsis) tree”.
Dreyers’ ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyers in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.
Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.
40…Storm relief org…FEMA
Federal emergency management has been structured for over 200 years, but what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 in an Executive Order issued by President Jimmy Carter.
45…”The Wind in the Willows” croaker..MR TOAD
The Wind in the Willows is a classic children’s novel first published in 1908. Featured in the story are characters such as Mole, Ratty, Mr. Toad and Mr. Badger. The story’s author was Kenneth Grahame, a man who held the exalted position of Secretary of the Bank of England.
53…”The Bridge on the River __”..KWAI
The river referred to in the movie (and novel) “The Bridge on the River Kwai” is actually called the Khwae Yai River, and is in western Thailand. The original novel by Pierre Boulle was published in French in 1952, and the wonderful movie released in 1957. Both tell the story of construction of part of the Burma Railway and a bridge over the river, using prisoners of war as laborers. The film stars William Holden, Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins.
In Spanish, a “tio” (uncle) is the “hermano del padre o de la madre” (brother of the father or the mother).