Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers end with a word that can JOIN “FORCES”, is often seen preceding FORCES:
- 55A…Team up … or, literally, what the last words of the answers to starred clues can do..JOIN FORCES
- 17A…*Project with many obstacles..UPHILL TASK (giving “task forces”)
- 22A…*E! talk show focused on celebrity outfits..FASHION POLICE (giving “police forces”)
- 47A…*Britannica, e.g…REFERENCE WORK (giving “work forces”)
- 21D…*1997 movie partly set on a plane called the Jailbird..CON AIR (giving “air forces”)
- 30D…*High-speed skiing event, familiarly..SUPER G (giving “g forces”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…One of seven in “Jabberwocky”..STANZA
“Stanza” is an Italian word meaning “verse of a poem”.
Here are the first two verses of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, probably the one poem that we all just loved learning to recite at school:
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!
Shabbat is the day of rest in the Jewish tradition, and is observed weekly from Friday evening through Saturday evening. Shabbat is welcomed a few minutes before Friday’s sunset, according to Jewish law, and bid farewell on Sunday night after the appearance of three stars in the sky.
10…”Baby __”: 2008 Fey/Poehler comedy..MAMA
“Baby Mama” is a 2008 film starring Tina Fey as successful single businesswoman who hires a surrogate mother (played by Amy Poehler). “Baby mama” is a term used these days as an alternative to “single mother”.
15…Angst-filled rock genre..EMO
The musical genre of “emo” originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …
19…Wheels for a star..LIMO
The word “limousine” actually derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes anyway …
20…__ Grey tea..EARL
The Earl Grey blend of tea is supposedly named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1830 to 1834. Earl Grey tea has a distinctive flavor that is largely due to the addition of oil from the rind of the bergamot orange.
22…*E! talk show focused on celebrity outfits..FASHION POLICE (giving “police forces”)
“Fashion Police” is a reality TV show in which a panel of “experts” comment on celebrity fashion. The original host of the show was Joan Rivers. She was partly replaced by her daughter in 2015, when Melissa Rivers took over as co-host after Joan passed away.
26…Longest reigning Brit. monarch..ELIZ
Princess Elizabeth became queen Elizabeth II in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her, that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is longest in the history of the UK.
28…Neighbor of Venezuela..GUYANA
Guyana’s official name today is the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana. Guyana is located on the northern coast of South America. The country used to be a British colony, with the name British Guyana, but it achieve independence in 1966. It is now the only member of the British Commonwealth (now called the Commonwealth of Nations) that is on mainland South America.
The country name of “Venezuela” originated with the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci saw stilt houses around Lake Maracaibo that reminded him of the city of Venice, leading him to call the region “Veneziola” meaning “Little Venice”. Over time, “Veneziola” evolved into “Venezuela” as a result of Spanish influence.
32…Pet adoption org…SPCA
Unlike in most developed countries, there is no “umbrella” organization in the US with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.
33…Deg. for a suit..MBA
The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.
In the world of business, “suit” is a slang term describing an executive or manager, often one who is a faceless decision maker.
Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.
46…Gp. with mail trucks..USPS
The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.
47…*Britannica, e.g…REFERENCE WORK (giving “work forces”)
The “Encyclopædia Britannica” is the oldest English-language encyclopedia that is still being published. The final print edition was issued in 2010, a set of 32 volumes. The focus in recent years moved away from print and is on the online version of the encyclopedia.
The phrase “gird your loins” dates back to Ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting “one’s skirts” and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, “gird your loins” (or sometimes just “gird yourself”) is a metaphor for “prepare yourself for the worst”.
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”.
64…Academic leader in NBC’s “Community”..DEAN
“Community” is a sitcom that first aired in 2009. It is about a community college (hence the title) in the fictional town of Greendale, Colorado. I haven’t seen this one, but I hear good things …
Ken Kesey wrote the novels “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion”. Kesey was one of a group of friends who called themselves the “Merry Pranksters”, a bunch of guys who were associated with the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, all icons of the Beat Generation.
1…”Law & Order: __”..SVU
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly, since 2007 there has been a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.
Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.
4…Rapa __: Easter Island..NUI
Rapa Nui is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call Easter Island. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Easter Island is inhabited, and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, almost 1300 miles away.
5…Popular mall jewelry store..ZALES
The first Zales jewelry store was opened by Morris and William Zale and Ben Lipshy in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1924. Zales became successful largely by offering credit to their customers, a revolutionary concept at the time.
The name “Allah” comes from the Arabic “al-” and “ilah”, meaning “the” and “deity”. So “Allah” translates as “God”.
7…Like Cain, of Abel..JEALOUS
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Qabil and Habil.
8…Leading characters in “Mork & Mindy”?..EMS
The leading characters in the words “Mork” and “Mindy” are letters M (ems).
“Mork & Mindy” is a sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982. The title characters were played by Robin Williams and Pam Dawber.
“Wok” is a Cantonese word, the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.
10…__ Yousafzai, sharer of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize..MALALA
“I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” is a memoir co-written by Malala Yousafzai and British journalist Christina Lamb. The title tells the essence of her Malala’s story. She started a blog when she was 11 or 12, outlining her life in northwest Pakistan under occupation by the Taliban. As the Pakistani military regained control of the area, Malala’s story was told in a documentary and she was frequently giving interviews. One day a gunman came looking for her, and found her on her schoolbus. He shot Malala three times, with one bullet going into her forehead. She survived, and was taken to England to recuperate. She was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17, making her the youngest ever Nobel laureate.
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.
18…Course where tangents are relevant..TRIG
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine (sin), cosine (cos) and tangent (tan). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The reciprocal of these three functions are cosecant, secant, and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine (cosec = 1/sin), cosine (sec = 1/cos) and tangent (cot = 1/tan).
21…*1997 movie partly set on a plane called the Jailbird..CON AIR (giving “air forces”)
“Con Air” is an entertaining action movie that was released in 1997. The film tells the story of a bunch of convicts being transported by air who escape and take control of the plane. If you take a look at the movie’s closing credits you’ll see the words “In Memory of Phil Swartz”. Swartz, a welder with the special effects team, was killed in a tragic accident when a static model of the plane used in the movie fell on him.
23…”Master of None” star __ Ansari..AZIZ
Aziz Ansari is an actor and comedian from Columbia, South Carolina who is best known for playing Tom Haverford on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. Ansari also stars in the Netflix comedy-drama series “Master of None”.
24…”Law & Order” gp…NYPD
The New York Police Department (NYPD) is the largest municipal police force in the country. The department’s roots go back as far at 1625 when there was an eight-man night watch in the days when New York was still known as New Amsterdam. Several disparate forces with policing responsibility were amalgamated in 1844 to form the New York City Police Department, signalling the end of the night watch force that had existed for over 200 years.
“Law & Order” ran for many, many years on NBC, from 1990 to 2010. “Law & Order” is a police drama that spawned a huge franchise of shows both here in the US and overseas. I am probably a bit biased, but my favorite is the version shown in BBC America called “Law & Order: UK”.
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.
30…*High-speed skiing event, familiarly..SUPER G (giving “g forces”)
Super Giant Slalom (Super G) is an alpine skiing event introduced in 1982. The Super G isn’t as fast as its sister event the Downhill, but is faster than the more technical Giant Slalom.
The force of gravity (g force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is a actually an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero-G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.
33…Capital of Belarus..MINSK
Minsk is the capital of Belarus, formerly known as the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. One of Minsk’s more infamous residents was Lee Harvey Oswald, who lived there from 1960 to 1962.
“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.
Ireland is often referred to as the “Emerald Isle” (and described as “green”) because of all that green grass that grows due to the seemingly non-stop rain.
39…Bridge table quorum..FOUR
The four people playing a game of bridge are positioned around a table at seats called north, east, south and west.
Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle.
45…Lo __: noodle dish..MEIN
“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, “basic” chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as Hong Kong style chow mein.
“Terra firma” is Latin for “solid ground”.
50…Cellphone self-pic of a group, slangily..WEFIE
A “selfie” is a self-portrait, usually one taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A group “selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”.
55…N.Y. airport since 1963..JFK
The Idlewild Golf Course was taken over by the city of New York in 1943 and construction started on a new airport to serve the metropolis and relieve congestion at La Guardia. The Idlewild name still persists, even though the airport was named after Major General Alexander E. Anderson from the first days of the project. When the facility started operating in 1948 it was known as New York International Airport, Anderson Field. It was renamed to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 1963, one month after the President was assassinated.
57…Chinese zodiac animal..RAT
The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:
58…”The World Factbook” org…CIA
“The World Factbook” is a publication produced by the CIA. It is intended primarily for use by government employees but, as it is in the public domain, it is now used by just about anyone. The first edition of “Factbook” came out in 1962 and, as it was classified, it had limited distribution. It was decided to make “Factbook” public in 1975, and it has been freely available on the World Wide Web since 1994.