Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Each of today’s themed answers has the same clue, namely “Peanuts”. The answers themselves are familiar phrases meaning “something of little value, peanuts”.
- 18A…Peanuts..CHICKEN FEED
- 38A…Peanuts..SMALL POTATOES
- 58A…Peanuts..CHUMP CHANGE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
“To gad about” is to move around with little purpose. The word “gad” comes from the Middle English “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.
The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family.
14…Second person in Eden..EVE
According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.
15…Kitchen sponge brand..O-CEL-O
“o-cel-o” is a brand of kitchen sponge was introduced in 1947, and is made today by 3M. The “o-cel-o” name comes from chemical components used in the product’s manufacture, i.e. oxygen-cellulose-oxygen.
16…Full of moxie..NERVY
Back as far as 1876, Moxie was a brand name of a “medicine” peddled with the claim that it “built up your nerve”. In 1924, Moxie was registered as a trademark for a bitter, non-alcoholic beverage (no more claims of nerve-building). And we’ve used the term “moxie” to mean “nerve” ever since …
Coal tar is one of the by-products of the production of coke and/or coal gas from coal. It is a dark liquid comprising several organic compounds. Industrially, coal tar can be used as a sealcoat for pavements, and as a fuel for fire boilers. Medicinally, coal tar is used in shampoos to treat dandruff and kill lice.
24…Most populous continent..ASIA
Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.
25…Date night destination..CINEMA
We usually use the term “movie theater” in the US to describe a location that shows films. In many English-speaking countries outside of the US, the term “cinema” is used instead, with the word “theater” (usually spelled “theatre”) reserved for venues that show live performances.
28…One of a gallon’s 16..CUP
The name of our fluid measure called a “gallon” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin term “galleta” meaning “bucket, pail”.
34…Northern California city..EUREKA
Eureka, California is the largest city on West Coast between San Francisco and Portland. It is a port city lying on Humboldt Bay that was settled by Europeans in 1850. Gold was discovered nearby, and this led to the settlement taking the name “Eureka”, which means “I’ve found it!” in Greek.
37…Birch family tree..ALDER
Alder trees are deciduous (i.e. not evergreen), and the fruit of the tree is called a “catkin”. The tree carries both male and female catkins that look very similar to each other, but the male catkin is longer than the female. Alders are pollinated by wind usually, although bees can play a role.
43…Southern California team..LAKERS
The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team started out in 1947 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The team chose the Lakers name in honor of the nickname of Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960.
The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.
New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany.
Buffalo is the second most-populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.
54…Former Air France jet..SST
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Famously, the Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.
Air France is my favorite airline (okay … after Aer Lingus, the Irish airline). I used to fly Air France a lot (I lived in France for a while), but haven’t done so since the company merged with KLM in 2004. Back in 2008, Air France-KLM was the world’s largest airline in terms of revenue.
Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:
- eon (also “aeon”)
Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable pot-luck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.
65…Maiden name preceder..NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).
A “gewgaw” is a trinket, a trivial piece of jewelry. It’s also a term I’ve never seen outside of crosswords …
4…Scot’s swimming spot..LOCH
“Loch” is the Scottish Gaelic word for “lake”. The Irish Gaelic word is “lough”.
“Ich” is the German for “I”, as in “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner), the famous words of support uttered by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in a speech in West Berlin. The supposed translation of “Ich bin ein Berliner” as “I am a jelly doughnut” … that’s just an urban myth. President Kennedy’s use of German was perfectly correct.
“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a “lei” is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.
7…Highway through the Yukon..ALCAN
The Alaska Highway is also known as the Alaska-Canadian Highway or ALCAN Highway. A highway connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska was proposed in the twenties, but the Canadian authorities didn’t believe the project had much merit as the road would be used by very few of its citizens. The perceived importance of the route increased during WWII and President Roosevelt deemed the road a strategic necessity so he made a deal with Canada. The cost of construction would be born by the US, but the road and related facilities were to be handed over to Canada at the end of the war. The project was accelerated when the Japanese invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu Islands in the Aleutians. The road of course has been improved and is still in use today. The ALCAN Highway forms part of what is popularly known as the Pan-American Highway, which runs from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the south of Argentina or Chile depending on how the route is defined.
Canada’s federal territory known as Yukon takes its name from the Yukon River. “Yukon” means “Big Stream” in the local Gwich’in language.
Cokie Roberts is a great journalist and author, best known for her work with National Public Radio.
9…”Erin Burnett OutFront” channel..CNN
Erin Burnett is a television journalist, the host of her own show on CNN called “Erin Burnett OutFront”. Apparently Burnett also shows up occasionally as advisor to Donald Trump on “The Celebrity Apprentice”.
11…Geographically based trio..AREA CODE
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.
13…Hoff who wrote the “Henrietta” children’s books..SYD
Syd Hoff wrote the children’s readers “Danny and the Dinosaur” and “Sammy the Seal”. Hoff also drew two syndicated comic strips, “Tuffy” (1939-1949) and “Laugh It Off” (1958-1978).
19…Red “Sesame Street” puppet..ELMO
The “Sesame Street” character has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.
21…Light beer?..PALE ALE
Pale ale is a beer made using mainly pale malt, which results in a relatively light color for a malted beer.
The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.
26…Not at all handy..INEPT
If one is capable, one might jokingly be described as “ept”, the ostensible opposite of “inept”.
27…”Trainwreck” director Judd..APATOW
Judd Apatow is known for producing the TV series “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared”. Those shows aren’t my cup of tea, but he also collaborated with Lena Dunham to create the show “Girls”. I could drink that tea all day long. “Girls” is a very entertaining series …
“Trainwreck” is a romantic comedy released in 2015 that brings together the talents of Judd Apatow as director and Amy Schumer as writer. Schumer also stars.
35…”MASH” setting: Abbr…KOR
“M*A*S*H” has only three stars (three asterisks, that is!). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.
The first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) was deployed in August 1945. MASH units really came into the public consciousness after publication of the 1969 Richard Hooker novel “MASH”, which spawned the hit film and TV series that were both called “M*A*S*H”.
Army post office (APO)
44…What a freelancer may work on..SPEC
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.
What we call a wiener in this country is known as a Vienna sausage in Germany. It was first produced by a butcher from Frankfurt who was living in Vienna, hence the name “Wiener”, which is German for “of Vienna”. Paradoxically, the same sausage is called a Frankfurter in Vienna, as it was created by someone from Frankfurt. It’s all very confusing …
Nestea is a brand of iced tea made by Nestlé. The name is a portmanteau of “Nestlé” and “tea”.
51…Lindsay of “Mean Girls”..LOHAN
I think that actress Lindsay Lohan’s big break was in the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap” in 1998. I’ve really only enjoyed one of Lohan’s films though, “Freaky Friday” from 2003 in which she stars alongside the fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis.
“Mean Girls” is a teen comedy movie released in 2004 starring Lindsay Lohan. Tina Fey also puts in an appearance, which isn’t really surprising as Fey wrote the screenplay.
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury (T is for Treasury).
The responsibility for investigating the use of counterfeit US currency lies with the Secret Service, which was part of the Department of Treasury until 2003. As a result of the USA Patriot Act that became law in 2001, the Secret Service was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.
The euro is divided in 100 cents, sometimes referred to as “euro cents”. Some countries within the European Union (Ireland, for example) are taking steps to withdraw the 1-cent and 2-cent coins from circulation by allowing cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest five cents. I found it a little odd when shipping in Ireland recently, buying something priced at 99 cents, and getting no change after handing over a euro coin …
59…West Coast hrs…PDT
Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)