Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase that TAKES A SPIN, has the word SPIN inserted:
- 59A. Enjoying the new car … or what four puzzle answers are literally doing : TAKING A SPIN
- 17A. Vito Corleone talking bobblehead? : RASPING DOLL (from “rag doll”)
- 22A. Goal of a holistic chiropractor? : SPINE HARMONY (from “eHarmony”)
- 38A. As a group, emulate Popeye? : BE SPINACH-LOVERS (from “beach lovers”)
- 50A. Maiden aunt mascot? : TEAM SPINSTER (from “teamster”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Start of something : ESS
There’s a letter S (ess) at the start of the word “something”.
13. Title car in a Ronny & the Daytonas hit : GTO
The 1964 song “G.T.O” was the debut recording for the surf rock group from the sixties known as Ronny & the Daytonas.
14. Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment,” e.g. : FRESCO
“The Last Judgment” is fresco by Michelangelo that he painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo took four years to complete the work, and began painting it twenty-five years after finishing the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.
15. Australian export : OPAL
97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, about 80%.
16. Like Gen. Powell : RET
Colin Powell was the first African American to serve as US Secretary of State. Earlier in his career, Powell had been a four-star general in the US Army, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. Even though Colin Powell has retired from public service, he is one of the most noted moderate Republicans, often advocating support for centrist and liberal causes.
17. Vito Corleone talking bobblehead? : RASPING DOLL (from “rag doll”)
Mario Puzo created the Corleone Mafia family in his 1969 novel “The Godfather”. The head of the family is Vito Corleone (whose birth name was Vito Andolini), a native of Corleone in Sicily. He was given the name Corleone by immigration officers at Ellis Island. Don Corleone was played so very memorably, with a distinctive rasping voice, by Marlon Brando in the 1972 movie adaptation.
Bobblehead dolls are those little toys with big heads that bobble around if tapped, while the body remains still. They’re often given to ticket buyers at sports events as a promotion.
19. N.T. book before Phil. : EPH
It seems that the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (EPH) is now regarded by scholars as written “in the style of Paul” by someone who was influenced by Paul’s thought.
21. Oppressive atmosphere : MIASMA
The word miasma was first used for the poisonous atmosphere thought to arise from swamps and rotting matter, and which could cause disease. Nowadays, a miasma is just a thick cloud of gas or smoke.
22. Goal of a holistic chiropractor? : SPINE HARMONY (from “eHarmony”)
eHarmony is a high-profile online dating service based in Pasadena, California.
26. Renewal notice feature, briefly : SASE
An SAE is a “stamped, addressed envelope”. An SASE is a “self-addressed, stamped envelope”.
28. Hammer user’s cry : SOLD
The small hammer that one raps on a table or desk to call a meeting to order, or perhaps to signify a sale at an auction, that’s called a gavel. The term “gavel” is actually American English, a word that emerged in the early 19th century.
32. Payment in Isfahan : RIALS
“Rial” is the name of the currency of Iran (as well as Yemen, Oman, Cambodia and Tunisia).
Isfahan is the name of both a province and a city in Iran, located in the center of the country.
35. Chem. and bio. : SCIS
Chemistry (chem.) and biology (bio.) are sciences (scis.).
38. As a group, emulate Popeye? : BE SPINACH-LOVERS (from “beach lovers”)
The cartoon character Popeye the Sailorman is very fond of spinach, eating cans of the vegetable through his pipe and garnering great strength from it.
41. Singer DiFranco : ANI
Ani DiFranco is a folk-rock singer and songwriter. DiFranco has also been labeled a “feminist icon”, and in 2006 won the “Woman of Courage Award” from National Organization of Women.
43. TV oil name : EWING
The TV soap “Dallas” revolved around the Ewing family. The show that ran for 13 years was originally intended as a five-part mini-series, with the main characters being newlyweds Bobby and Pam Ewing. But, the devious character in the piece, Bobby’s brother J. R. Ewing, became so popular with audiences that the series was extended with J. R. at the center of the story.
44. “The Good Wife” figs. : ATTS
“The Good Wife” is a legal drama showing on CBS starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a litigator who returns to practicing the law after spending 13 years as a stay-at-home mom. I binge-watched the show some time back and found it to be well-written, with a great cast and great acting …
46. Fabric rib : WALE
Wales are parallel ribs in a fabric, such as corduroy.
48. Its home version debuted at Sears in 1975 : PONG
Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was Pong. The arcade version of Pong was introduced in 1972, with Atari selling a home version through Sears for the Christmas market in 1975.
50. Maiden aunt mascot? : TEAM SPINSTER (from “teamster”)
Back in the mid-1300s, a “spinster” was a female spinner of thread. By the 1600s, the term had been adopted as the legal designation for any unmarried who was not of noble rank, the idea being that such women occupied themselves with spinning! By the early 1700s, the term was used generally to refer to a woman beyond the usual marrying age, but still single.
A teamster was originally a person who drove a team of animals that pulled a wagon. “Teamster” became a synonym for “truck driver”, as the trade union called the International Brotherhood of Teamsters grew in importance during the Depression.
54. Israeli prime minister after Barak : SHARON
Ariel Sharon was a former Prime Minister of Israel. While still in office in 2005, Sharon suffered two debilitating strokes that left him in a permanent vegetative state from early 2006, until he finally passed away in early 2014.
Ehud Barak served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001, taking over from Benjamin Netanyahu. Barak left office after he called a special election for Prime Minister and lost the vote to Ariel Sharon. Barak resigned from the Knesset and took an advisory job with the US company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and did some security-related work with a private equity company. In 2007, Barak took over leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.
57. “__ Gotta Be Me” : I’VE
“I’ve Gotta Be Me” is a song that was written for the 1968 Broadway musical “Golden Rainbow” starring Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. The song was released as a single by Lawrence, and more famously by Sammy Davis, Jr. around the same time.
58. Way to go: Abbr. : RTE
62. Great Basin native : UTE
The Ute are a group of Native American tribes that now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified people as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups. The word “Ute” means “Land of the Sun”, and “Ute” also gave us the state name “Utah”.
The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.
63. Saharan : ARID
The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic and it is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.
64. Hydrocarbon gas : ETHENE
Ethylene (also called “ethene”) has a gazillion uses, including as an anesthetic and an aid to hastening the ripening of fruit. Ethylene’s most common use is as a major raw material in the manufacture of plastics (like polyethylene).
65. Rx item : MED
There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.
66. Inheritance factor : GENE
A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.
68. Humanities maj. : PSY
The academic studies of human culture are collectively called the humanities. Subjects included in the humanities are languages, literature, philosophy, religion and music.
2. Mike or Carol on “The Brady Bunch” : STEPPARENT
In TV show “The Brady Bunch”, the mom is Carol Brady, formerly Carol Martin, played by Florence Henderson. The dad is Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed.
6. Nile slitherer : ASP
The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.
8. Anchored for life, as barnacles : NONMOTILE
The barnacle is a marine arthropod related to the crab and the lobster. Barnacles are classified as “encrusters”, meaning that they attach themselves permanently to some solid substrate. It is thought that the name “barnacle” was applied to the marine create from the name of the barnacle goose. According to folklore, the barnacle goose “hatched” underwater, emerging from what we know today as “barnacles”.
10. Mil. mail drops : APOS
Army post office (APO)
12. Big name in jazz : ELLA
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.
14. Like IHOP syrup : FREE
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!
18. Alabama Slammer liquor : GIN
An Alabama Slammer is cocktail that is served over ice in a Collins glass. A common recipe is:
- ¾ oz. Amaretto
- ¾ oz. Southern Comfort
- ¾ oz. Sloe Gin
- top up with orange juice
23. Type of tide : NEAP
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.
29. Bridge bid : ONE NO-TRUMP
That would be in the card game called bridge.
30. Glasses with handles : LORGNETTES
A lorgnette is a pair of spectacles attached to a handle on one side. They were worn more for show than they were for improving the eyesight, and were often used as a fashion accessory at the opera. They were a precursor to the more contemporary opera glasses.
31. One working on a bridge: Abbr. : DDS
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
33. Fleur-de-__ : LIS
“Lys” (also “lis”) is the French word for “lily”, as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.
39. Early exile : ADAM
In the Christian tradition, the “fall of man” took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This went against the bidding of God, and was at the urging of the serpent. As a result, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden to prevent them becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. The first humans had transitioned from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.
47. Hand-held allergy treatment : EPIPEN
EpiPen is a brand name of epinephrine auto-injector. An EpiPen delivers a measured dose of epinephrine, usually for the treatment of an allergic reaction.
52. Political columnist Molly : IVINS
Molly Ivins was a newspaper columnist, journalist and political commentator. One of Ivins’ books is a “Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch’s Assault on America’s Fundamental Rights”.
53. Island bird named for its call : NENE
The bird called a nene is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful.
54. Doe beau : STAG
A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and females cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …
55. Long-eared critter : HARE
Hares belong to the genus Lepus, and young hares, that are under one-year-old, are called leverets.
61. __ Na Na : SHA
Do you remember the band “Johnny Casino & The Gamblers” in the movie “Grease”? That was actually the real-world group named Sha Na Na. Johnny Casino & the Gamblers sang “Those Magic Changes” at the high school dance, in between “Rock’N Roll Is Here to Stay” and “Hound Dog”. Sha Na Na got together in the sixties and are still performing today.