Edited by: Rich Norris
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Our themed answers today each CLOSE with a hidden NUMBER:
- 37A…Concert finale … and what 17-, 25-, 50- and 60-Across have in common..CLOSING NUMBER
- 17A…Does well at the casino?..BREAKS EVEN (closing with 7)
- 25A…Cereal box factoid..NET WEIGHT (closing with 8)
- 50A…Opera house level..MEZZANINE (closing with 9)
- 60A…Bullied..BROWBEATEN (closing with 10)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10…Bar regulars, and then some..SOTS
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.
14…Bible book before Romans..ACTS
The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the Christian New Testament. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts”.
15…One-named singer with 10 Grammys..ADELE
Adele is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. More recently, her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.
16…William of “Broadcast News”..HURT
Hollywood actor William Hurt was born in Washington, D.C., where his father worked for the State Department. As a result of his father’s job assignments, William lived in Pakistan, Somalia and the Sudan growing up. Later he studied at Juilliard, and there was a classmate of Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams.
“Broadcast News” is a 1987 movie starring Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and William Hurt playing three characters working in television news. It’s described as a romantic comedy-drama. Joan Cusack, John Cusack and Jack Nicholson also make appearances.
17…Does well at the casino?..BREAKS EVEN (closing with 7)
The “casino” originated in the 1700s, first describing a public room for music or dancing. The name “casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.
Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).
“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.
Legend has it that actor Emilio Fernández was the model for the Oscar statuette. Cedric Gibbons, art director at MGM, created the design and supposedly convinced a reluctant Fernández to pose nude for “Oscar”.
33…Etiquette expert Baldrige who was Jackie Kennedy’s social secretary..LETITIA
Letitia Baldridge was a public relations executive known as an expert on etiquette, and as the “Doyenne of Decorum”. Famously, Baldridge worked for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as her Social Secretary.
42…Hardly scads..A DAB
The origin of the word “scads”, meaning “lots and lots”, is unclear, although back in the mid-1800s “scads” was used to mean “dollars”.
44…Beer choice, briefly..IPA
India Pale Ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.
47…Part of un mes..DIA
In Spanish, there are quite a few “dias” (days) in a “mes” (month).
50…Opera house level..MEZZANINE (closing with 9)
A mezzanine in a building is a low story between two taller ones. The term came to be used for the lowest balcony in a theater in the 1920s.
56…Some Neruda poems..ODES
Jan Neruda was a Czech journalist and poet.
Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.
59…Snack since 1912..OREO
The Oreo cookie was introduced in 1912. The Oreo was intended to be a competitor to the very similar Hydrox cookie which had debuted four years earlier. The Oreo won the resulting battle on the grocery store shelves …
63…Musée Marc Chagall city..NICE
Marc Chagall was a Russian-French artist, one of the most successful of the 20th century. Unlike so many painters, Chagall was able to achieve wealth and notoriety for his work during his own lifetime. It did help that Chagall lived to a ripe old age though. He passed away in 1985, when he was 97 years young. One of Chagall’s most famous works is the ceiling of the Paris Opera. The new ceiling for the beautiful 19th-century building was commissioned in 1963, and took Chagall a year to complete. Chagall was 77 years old when he worked on the Paris Opera project.
64…Ancient Greek region..IONIA
The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of Ancient Greece although it wasn’t a unified state, but rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.
68…Archer of myth..EROS
Eros, the Greek god of love, was also known as Amor. The Roman counterpart to Eros was Cupid.
2…Puzzle with a quote..ACROSTIC
An acrostic is a word puzzle. One part of the puzzle is a quote, which has been rendered unreadable by replacing each letter with a number. The second part of the puzzle gives clues (like a crossword) that reveal the numbers needed to unmask the quote.
3…Recent medical research subject..STEM CELL
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become specialized cells. Stem cells are found in embryos (embryonic stem cells), and are especially prevalent about 4-5 days of growth after fertilization. Stem cells are also found throughout the bodies of adults (somatic stem cells). Somatic stem cells are associated with a particular organ and have the potential to regenerate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate.
4…Org. operating full-body scanners..TSA
The TSA is the Transportation Security Administration, the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.
5…Prepare, as avocados for guacamole..MASH
Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes, and is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.
In Ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.
The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye, a milkman living in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.
9…”You eediot!” speaker of cartoons..REN
“The Ren and Stimpy Show” is an animated television show that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …
Shari Lewis was the original puppeteer behind the PBS children’s show “Lamb Chop”. After Shari Lewis died in 1998, her daughter Mallory took over the role of puppeteer on the show.
A power outage would be a “delighted” state, when the “lights have gone out”.
13…Fla. city..ST PETE
St. Petersburg, Florida is often referred to as St. Pete by locals and visitors alike. The neighboring city of St. Petersburg Beach also had its name shortened routinely, so in 1994 the residents voted to change the name officially to St. Pete Beach.
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.
24…Financier aboard the Titanic..ASTOR
John Jacob Astor IV was a member of the famous and wealthy Astor family of New York. Astor and his second wife Madeleine were passengers on the RMS Titanic when it made its fateful journey in 1912. John did not survive the tragedy, and was the wealthiest person to go down with the ship. Madeleine was picked up in a lifeboat, along with her nurse and maid.
Our word “twine”, meaning a light string, has the same root as our word “twin”. The original Old English “twin” was a double thread.
The Watusi was almost as popular as the twist in the early sixties. The dance took its name from the Batutsi tribe in Rwanda.
34…China’s Zhou __..ENLAI
Zhou Enlai (also Chou En-Lai) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.
35…”In Here, It’s Always Friday” letters..TGI
T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain, founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.
The American “sedan” car is the equivalent of the British “saloon” car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car was established in 1957 by Jack. C. Taylor in St. Louis, Missouri, where the company is still headquartered today. The company was originally called Executive Leasing Company. The name was changed in 1962 in honor of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on which Taylor served during WWII.
40…Southwestern farm owner..RANCHERO
A “ranchero” is someone who owns, operates or is employed on a ranch, and is a word with Spanish roots.
Peoria is the oldest European settlement in the state of Illinois, having been settled by the French in 1680. The city is famous for being cited as “the average American city”. The phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” is used to mean, “Will it appeal to the mainstream?” It is believed the expression originated as a corruption of, “We shall play in Peoria”, a line used by some actors in the 1890 novel “Five Hundred Dollars” by Horatio Alger, Jr.
Tenochtitlán was a city-state that was the capital of the Aztec Empire in the 15th century. It was located in on an island in Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. After Tenochtitlán was captured by the Spanish in 1521, they leveled the city and their own settlement, which grew into today’s Mexico City.
49…Where to see IBM and JNJ..NYSE
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) can give some quite descriptive ticker symbols to companies, for example:
- Anheuser-Busch (BUD, for “Budweiser”)
- Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP, as in “beer tap”)
- Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB, for “Ludwig van Beethoven”)
- Sotheby’s (BID, for the auction house)
On the NYSE, the ticker symbol for “IBM” is the ticker symbol for IBM (duh!) and “JNJ” is used for Johnson & Johnson.
51…Deschanel of the musical duo She & Him..ZOOEY
Zooey Deschanel is an actress and singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Zooey is the younger sister of Emily Deschanel who plays the title role on the TV show “Bones”. Now Zooey is playing Jess Day, the lead character on the sitcom “New Girl”. In the world of music, Zooey teams up with “M” Ward in the duo that goes by the name “She & Him”.
52…Whom to trust, in “The X-Files”..NO ONE
“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history. An “X-Files” reboot started airing in 2016 with Duchovny and Anderson reprising their starring roles.
The famous Hubble Space Telescope was installed in orbit by the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. The telescope was named for the astronomer Edwin Hubble, the man who changed our view of the universe by postulating that the universe is expanding.
57…PayPal’s former parent..EBAY
PayPal is an e-commerce business that has been around since the year 2000, born out of a merger of two older companies: Confinity and X.com. PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors. The company was so successful that it was the first of the beleaguered dot.com companies to successfully complete an IPO after the attacks of 9/11. Then in 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion. eBay spun off PayPal into a separate public company in 2014.