Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a famous person with a family name starting with the letter S. For the purpose of the clue, that “S” has been used to make a possessive out of the first name, thus creating a fictional business name for the celebrity:
- 17A…”What’s My Line?” comedian’s craft brewery?..SOUPY’S ALES (from “Soupy Sales”)
- 23A…Pop diva’s fruit stand?..BRITNEY’S PEARS (from “Britney Spears”)
- 30A…American Idol winner’s amusement chain?..JORDIN’S PARKS (from “Jordin Sparks”)
- 39A…Rapper’s shopping center properties?..BIGGIE’S MALLS (from “Biggie Smalls”)
- 49A…Guitarist’s cash register company?..STEPHEN’S TILLS (from “Stephen Stills”
- 59A…”Whose Line Is It Anyway?” comedian’s flooring store?..RYAN’S TILES (from “Ryan Stiles”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Mahmoud Abbas took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2004 after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, a position equivalent to “head of state”.
6…City near Yorba Linda..BREA
The city of Brea, California takes its name from “brea”, the Spanish word for “tar”. Back in the 1800s, entrepreneurs were attracted to the area by the “black gold” (crude oil) that was bubbling up from the ground in some instances.
Yorba Linda is a city in Orange County, California. It is an affluent community, and is regularly listed as the richest city in the country based on median household income. Yorba Linda is also home to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
10…Brief responses to common concerns..FAQS
Most websites have a page listing answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Even this blog has one!
14…Composer of a seven-movement work that excludes Earth..HOLST
Despite the Scandinavian-sounding name, Gustav Holst was born in Britain and was the most English of classical composers. His most famous work is the orchestral suite known as ‘The Planets”. The suite has seven movements, one for each of the planets known at the time (1914-1916) except Earth. Pluto was discovered during Holst’s lifetime, but decades after he had completed his masterpiece. And Pluto was relegated from the league of planets anyway …
The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).
16…”… even now / __ myself to thy direction”: “Macbeth”..I PUT
The following lines are from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, spoken by Malcolm to MacDuff:
But God above
Deal between thee and me, for even now
I put myself to thy direction and
Unspeak mine own detraction, here abjure
The taints and blames I laid upon myself,
For strangers to my nature.
17…”What’s My Line?” comedian’s craft brewery?..SOUPY’S ALES (from “Soupy Sales”)
Soupy Sales was a comic actor. He was most famous for his children’s TV show “Lunch with Soupy Sales. On the New Years Day show in 1965, as a joke Soupy told his young viewers to go get some “funny green pieces of paper with pictures of US Presidents” from their parents wallets and to mail them to him. The joke backfired and money started turning up in Soupy’s mail. The incident caused enough of a fuss for the TV company to suspend Sales for two weeks.
I only discovered the wonderful old American TV show “What’s My Line?” a few years ago. I was familiar with the show’s British adaptation, but hadn’t spotted the US version until relatively recently in reruns. I fell in love with the beautiful Arlene Francis watching those reruns. She was a regular panelist on the show, and the embodiment of elegance. Host of the show was the erudite and genteel John Daly, a much-respected journalist and broadcaster. Daly became the son-in-law of Chief Justice Earl Warren when he married Warren’s daughter, Virginia.
20…R.E.M.’s “The __ Love”..ONE I
“The One I Love” is a song released in 1987 by the rock band R.E.M. The lyrics are somewhat cynical. The song starts out with “This one goes out to the one I love”, but then the second line is less wholesome, “A simple prop to occupy my time” …
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. Auer wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the “Rhapsodie Hongroise” written for violin and piano.
Jascha Heifetz was a violinist from Vilnius in Lithuania who emigrated with his family to the US when he was a child. Heifetz toured Israel in 1953 and included in his recitals the Violin Sonata by Richard Strauss. Strauss was known for his anti-Semitic views, so this piece was always received in silence at his recitals in Israel. Heifetz was attacked with a crowbar outside his hotel in Jerusalem, severely injuring his right arm. He struggled with the injured arm for several years, and eventually had surgery in 1972. Heifetz’s injured arm never really recovered, and he was forced to cease giving concerts.
23…Pop diva’s fruit stand?..BRITNEY’S PEARS (from “Britney Spears”)
Britney Spears was the best-selling female artist in the first decade of the 21st century. I didn’t buy one song of hers, and I couldn’t even name one …
27…City of northern Spain..OVIEDO
Oviedo is a cathedral city in northern Spain located just over ten miles from the Bay of Biscay coast.
29…David and Bird..LARRYS
Larry David was one of the creators of the sitcom “Seinfeld”, and was a co-writer of many of the episodes. David also stars in the HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, which has a very “Seinfeld” feel to it.
Larry Bird played basketball for the Boston Celtics from 1978 to 1992. Bird has a lot of very loyal fans, and some might even be described as fanatical. In 2005 an Oklahoma City man was convicted of a crime involving a shooting. On being sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, the guilty man requested that the sentence be changed to 33 years so that it matched the number on Larry Bird’s jersey. The judge obliged …
30…American Idol winner’s amusement chain?..JORDIN’S PARKS (from “Jordin Sparks”)
Singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks won the 2007 season of “American Idol”. Sparks was just 17 years old at the time, making her the youngest winner in the history of the show.
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.
Corvallis is a city in western Oregon that is home to Oregon State University (OSU). Corvallis was the capital of the Oregon Territory before Salem was selected as the seat of government.
39…Rapper’s shopping center properties?..BIGGIE’S MALLS (from “Biggie Smalls”)
The Notorious B.I.G. was the stage name of rap star Christopher Wallace, who also went by the names Biggie Smalls and Biggie. While at the height of his fame Wallace was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, a murder case that has never been solved. The 2009 movie “Notorious” is about Wallace’s life and stars fellow rap artist Jamal Woolard (aka Gravy) in the title role.
48…Forest bovine..WILD OX
The kouprey is a forest-dwelling bovine that mainly inhabits northern Cambodia. The familiar name for the species is “wild ox”. The kouprey is a very endangered animal, and by some reports may already be extinct.
49…Guitarist’s cash register company?..STEPHEN’S TILLS (from “Stephen Stills”
The musician Stephen Stills is best known as a member of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, although he also worked for many years with Buffalo Springfield.
A tot drinks wawa (water).
59…”Whose Line Is It Anyway?” comedian’s flooring store?..RYAN’S TILES (from “Ryan Stiles”)
Ryan Stiles is a Canadian-American actor and stand-up comedian who is perhaps best known for his work on the excellent improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Stiles also played Lewis Kiniski on “The Drew Carey Show”, and Herb Melnick on “Two and a Half Men”.
61…Número de Mandamientos..DIEZ
In Spanish, the “número de Mandamientos” (number of Commandments” is “diez” (ten).
62…Frank of 1950s Broadway..ANNE
Anne Frank’s famous book “The Diary of a Young Girl” was adapted into a 1955 stage play that premiered on Broadway. The following year, the play opened in several cities across Germany, as well as in Amsterdam. The play formed the basis of several movies, most famously in 1959.
Anne Frank has to be one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust. This is largely because the story of this young girl lives on in her widely published diary, and in adaptations of the diary for stage and screen. Anne Frank was a German until she lost her nationality in 1941 when the Nazis came to power. By this time she was living with her family in Amsterdam, as the Franks chose to flee Germany in 1933. When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, the family went into hiding in the attic of Otto Frank’s office building (Otto was Anne’s father). There the family hid for two whole years until they were betrayed. The family was split up, and Anne and her sister died from typhus in a concentration camp in 1945.
Istle is a fiber that is obtained from various tropical plants, including the agave and yucca tree.
Highway (hwy.) crossings are junctions (jcts.).
66…Jai alai basket..CESTA
The essential equipment in the game of jai alai is the pelota (ball) and the cesta (wicker scoop).
The slang term “ahso” is used in American English to mean “I see”. The term derives from the Japanese expression “Ah so desu ka” meaning “Oh, that’s how it is”.
A windfall is a piece of good fortune, like a piece of fruit that has fallen from the tree when the wind blows.
3…Symbol of happiness..BLUEBIRD
The “blue bird of happiness” is a phrase coined by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck in his 1908 play “The Blue Bird”. The bird in question happened to be just that, a bird that was blue. Since then, the phrase has become associated specifically with the bluebird species.
6…Big name in coffee makers..BRAUN
Braun is a manufacturer of consumer goods based in Kronberg, Germany.
7…Civil War signature..RE LEE
Robert E. Lee is renowned as a southern officer in the Civil War. Lee was a somewhat reluctant participant in the war in that he opposed the secession of his home state of Virginia from the Union. At the beginning of the war, President Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the whole Union Army but he declined, choosing instead to stay loyal to his home state. During the Civil War, Lee’s men referred to him affectionately as “Marse Robert”, with “marse” being slang for “master”.
Sancho Panza is Don Quixote’s squire, a character who spouts out humorous comments called “sanchismos”.
The full name of Cervantes’s novel is “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha”. In the story, Don Quixote is a retired country gentleman who heads out as a knight-errant and who renames himself Don Quixote of la Mancha. In his mind he designates a neighboring farm girl called Aldonza Lorenzo as his lady love, and renames her Dulcinea del Toboso.
24…Forest’s 2006 Oscar-winning role..IDI
“The Last King of Scotland” is a 2006 film adaptation of a 1998 novel of the same name by Giles Foden. The story tells of a Scottish doctor (played by James McAvoy) who was employed by Idi Amin (played by Forest Whitaker). The title of the piece comes from the fact that Idi Amin offered his services as King of Scotland, should he ever be needed.
25…35mm camera option..SLR
SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.
35mm was chosen at the beginning of the 20th century as a standard size for film used in still cameras. 35mm was selected as it already the standard film size for film used in motion pictures.
26…Where the Indus flows: Abbr…PAK
The Indus river rises in Tibet and flows through the length of Pakistan and empties into the Arabian Sea, the part of the Indian Ocean lying to the west of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus gives its name to the country of India as “India” used to be the name of the region along the eastern banks of the river, which paradoxically is now in modern-day Pakistan.
A customer might order an orange juice (OJ) while dining at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP).
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!
28…U.S. news source since 1942..VOA
The US began shortwave propaganda broadcasts in early 1942, just after America entered WWII. The first broadcast to Germany was introduced by the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and opened with the words:
Today, and every day from now on, we will be with you from America to talk about the war. The news may be good or bad for us — We will always tell you the truth.
That first broadcast was called “Stimmen aus Amerika” (“Voices from America”), and gave the fledgling broadcasting operation its name. VOA is still going strong today, and was a station that I used to listen to as a teenager back in Ireland in the early seventies …
32…Tire pressure meas…PSI
Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.
36…Veterans of the briny..OLD SALTS
The “briny” is the sea, from “brine” meaning “salty water”. The term “briny” was originally used for “tears”.
Slo-pitch, or slow-pitch, is a type of softball.
38…Steel giant, as it was known from 1986-2001..USX
US Steel was founded in 1901 with a merger of Carnegie Steel, Federal Steel and National Steel. The resulting company immediately became the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. US Steel reorganized in 1986 and changed its name to USX Corporation, but reverted to the US Steel name in 2001. I think I’m right in saying that the USX name was chosen because US Steel is traded under the symbol “X” on the New York Stock Exchange.
41…Co. merged into Verizon..GTE
GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 to form the company that we know today as Verizon. Verizon made some high-profile acquisitions over the years, including MCI in 2005 and AOL in 2015.
43….001 of an inch..MIL
The thickness unit known as a “mil” here in the US is usually referred to as a “thou” on the other side of the Atlantic. A “mil” is actually one thousandth of an inch. I vote for “thou” …
“Omniscience” is the quality of having complete knowledge and awareness. The term comes from the Latin “omnis” meaning “all” and “scientia” meaning “knowledge”.
45…Syrian ruling family..ASSADS
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.
A “stogie” (also “stogy”) is both a “rough, heavy shoe” and a “long, cheap cigar”. Both items were favored by the drivers of the covered wagons called “Conestogas” that wended their way across the Midwest in days gone by. The term “stogie” is derived from the name of the wagon, which itself is named after the area in which the wagons were built: Conestoga, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
47…”Cyrano de Bergerac” Best Actor (1950)..FERRER
The wonderful José Ferrer was a Hollywood actor from Puerto Rico. He won the Best Actor Oscar for his magnificent performance in the title role of 1950’s “Cyrano de Bergerac”. That made him the first Hispanic person to win an Academy Award. Ferrer had a couple of celebrity wives. His first wife was the German-American actress Uta Hagen. That marriage fell apart after ten years largely due to an affair that Hagen had with singer/actor Paul Robeson. Ferrer’s third wife was singer/actress Rosemary Clooney. Clooney and Ferrer actually married and divorced twice, eventually splitting up completely in 1967 over an affair that Ferre had with Stella Magee, who was was to become his wife in his fifth and final marriage.
Edmond Rostand wrote the famous play “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1897. There have been a few interesting film adaptations. Perhaps the most famous is 1950’s Hollywood “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring José Ferrer. 1987’s “Roxanne” is a modern-day resetting of the play starring Steve Martin, and 1990’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” (in French) starring Gérard Depardieu was nominated for several Oscars, winning for Best Costume Design.
50…”Bye Bye Bye” band..NSYNC
NSYNC was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded “in sync”. But, it’s also true that the letters of the name NSYNC are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:
- Justin Timberlake
- Chris Kirkpatrick
- Joey Fatone
- Lance “Lansten” Bass
- JC Chasez
The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.
The welt of a shoe is a strip, often made of leather, that runs along the perimeter of the outsole. It is used to attach the shoe’s upper to the outsole.
59…British rule in India..RAJ
The period of colonial rule by the British in South Asia from 1858 to 1947 is referred to as the British Raj. Prior to 1858, the area was ruled by a private enterprise, the British East India Company. “Raj” is the Hindi word for “reign”.
60…Hold ’em tell, maybe..TIC
The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas Hold ‘Em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas Hold ‘Em in the television lineup that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.