Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each include a series of four circled letters. Those letters are WEED, and have TUMBLED into different orders:
- 58A. Desert plant suggested by this puzzle’s circles : TUMBLEWEED
- 16A. Source of post-toilet training anxiety : BED-WETTING
- 22A. Surfer’s destination : WORLD WIDE WEB
- 36A. Great Depression recovery program : NEW DEAL
- 48A. Youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II : PRINCE EDWARD
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Wobbly dessert : JELL-O
If you like Jell-O, then you want to stop by LeRoy, New York where you can visit the only Jell-O museum in the world. While at the museum, you can walk along the Jell-O Brick Road …
12. Birdlike : AVIAN
“Avis” is the Latin word for a bird, giving rise to our adjective “avian” meaning “relating to birds”.
13. Drachma replacer : EURO
The Greek drachma was in use until it was replaced by the euro in 2002. As well as being Greece’s currency in modern times, the drachma was also used in ancient Greece.
18. Use too much of, briefly : OD ON
19. Many SAT takers : SRS
Today the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation SAT.
20. Dashboard feature : DIAL
Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …
22. Surfer’s destination : WORLD WIDE WEB
In essence, the World Wide Web is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is the collection of documents, and the Internet is global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I for one am very grateful …
25. Treat, as table salt : IODIZE
Back in 1924, a professor of pediatrics in Michigan led a campaign in the US to have producers of salt add a small amount of sodium iodide to table salt, so that the population would have a readily available source of the iodine micronutrient. His goal was to reduce the incidence of goiter in the population.
28. Major blood vessel : AORTA
The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.
29. Male in the hive : DRONE
Drone bees and ants are fertile males of the species, whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.
32. Trailer park parkers : RVS
One using a “recreational vehicle” (RV) might be called an “RVer”.
35. Actor Cariou of “Blue Bloods” : LEN
Len Cariou is a Canadian actor, famous for his Broadway portrayal of “Sweeney Todd”. I most recognize him from supporting roles in “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Thirteen Days”, two great movies.
“Blue Bloods” is a police drama series about a family of police officers led by Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, played by Tom Selleck. The show has been on the air since 2010.
36. Great Depression recovery program : NEW DEAL
The New Deal was the series of economic programs championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The New Deal was focused on three objectives, the “3 Rs”:
- Relief for the unemployed and poor
- Recovery of the economy to normal levels
- Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression
40. Letters on a law office door : ESQ
The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.
42. “The Hot Zone” virus : EBOLA
The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name of the virus comes from the site of the first known outbreak, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The disease is transmitted from human to human by exposure to bodily fluids. In nature, the main carrier of Ebola is the fruit bat.
“The Hot Zone” is a 1994 book written by Richard Preston, a non-fiction work describing the history of hemorrhagic fevers (and Ebola in particular).
44. Quick-as-lightning Bolt : USAIN
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.
48. Youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II : PRINCE EDWARD
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex is British Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest child. When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, Buckingham Palace announced the intention that the prince will one day inherit his father’s title as Duke of Edinburgh.
52. Illumination units : LUXES
The “lux” is the SI unit of illuminance, and is equal to one lumen per square meter.
54. “The Night Of” channel : HBO
“The Night Of” is an HBO crime miniseries that is based on a British show called “Criminal Justice”. The intention was that James Gandolfini would play the leading role, but after the actor’s passing in 2013, a replacement had to be found. The role eventually went to John Turturro, but Gandolfini is given a posthumous executive producer credit.
58. Desert plant suggested by this puzzle’s circles : TUMBLEWEED
A tumbleweed is the upper part of a plant that has dried out, broken away from the roots, and is blown along by the wind. The tumbleweed spreads seeds or spores as it tumbles.
61. Dingbat : DITZ
The word “dingbat” has been used to mean a “fool” since the early 1900s. It became very popular after it was used repeatedly by Archie Bunker in the seventies TV show “All in the Family”.
62. Flat-package furniture chain : IKEA
The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym that stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.
63. River through western Germany : RHINE
The river running through Europe that we know in English as the Rhine, is called “Rhein” in German, “Rhin” in French and “Rijn” in Dutch.
64. Florida island : KEY
A “key” (also “cay”) is a low island offshore, as in the Florida Keys. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.
65. Video game initials : NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era. Nintendo replaced the NES with Wii, which is also the biggest-selling game console in the world.
4. Murphy’s __ : LAW
Murphy’s Law can be stated as, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. The concept behind the “law” has been around for eons, but the first association with the name “Murphy” appeared in print in 1952.
5. Standard eggs purchase : ONE DOZEN
Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.
6. Play with Lincoln Logs, say : BUILD
The toy known as Lincoln Logs was invented by John Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The toy was named after President Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin.
8. Peat source : BOG
When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because this decaying matter can form peat, and we have lots and lots of peat bogs.
10. Artist nicknamed the “Pope of Pop” : ANDY WARHOL
Andy Warhol went through a period of painting iconic American products, including Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell’s tomato soup cans. In 1964 he participated in a gallery show called “The American Supermarket”. Along with other pop artists he contributed works including a painting of a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. He priced the painting at $1,500, and sold autographed cans of soup for $6 a piece.
11. Govt. bill : T-NOTE
A Treasury note (T-Note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-Note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-Bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-Bond matures in 20-30 years.
15. Stuck-up sort : SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.
17. Goodyear product : TIRE
The Goodyear tire company was founded in 1898. The company was named for Charles Goodyear, the man who invented vulcanized rubber in 1839. Despite the Goodyear name, Charles Goodyear himself had no connection with the company.
21. Pres. who developed the 36-Across : FDR
(36A. Great Depression recovery program : NEW DEAL)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the only child of Sara Delano and James Roosevelt Sr. The Delano family history in America goes back to the pilgrim Philippe de Lannoy, an immigrant of Flemish descent who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The family name “de Lannoy” was anglicized here in the US, to “Delano”. Franklin was to marry Eleanor Roosevelt, and apparently the relationship between Sara and her daughter-in-law was very “strained”.
24. Itty bit : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.
27. Man of La Mancha : DON QUIXOTE
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.
30. Packing rope : TWINE
Our word “twine”, meaning a light string, has the same root as our word “twin”. The original Old English “twin” was a double thread.
33. Chevy’s plug-in hybrid : VOLT
Despite being late entering the eco-friendly car market, Chevrolet today produces the most fuel-efficient compact car with a gasoline engine that is sold in the US. The Chevrolet Volt went on sale at the end of 2010, a plug-in hybrid car that runs on batteries. The Volt has a gasoline engine that can be used run an electric generator if needed. The Volt also uses a regenerative braking system similar to that on my Honda Civic Hybrid, a car that I really love.
37. Great Lake bordering four states : ERIE
Lake Erie borders four US states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan) and one Canadian province (Ontario).
45. Companion of Bashful : SNEEZY
In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale called “Snow White”, the seven dwarfs were not given any names. The names were added for the 1937 classic Disney film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The seven dwarfs are:
- Doc (the leader of the group)
- Grumpy (that would be me, according to my wife …)
46. Bldg. coolers : ACS
Room coolers are air conditioning units (ACs).
49. Big name in puzzle cubes : RUBIK
What was originally called the “Magic Cube” became better known as Rubik’s Cube, named for its inventor Ernő Rubik. Rubik’s Cube is the world’s biggest selling puzzle game, with over 350 million sold in just over 30 years.
51. Where to see the Sun, the Sky and the Stars: Abbr. : WNBA
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) includes the Connecticut Sun, San Antonio Stars and the Chicago Sky.
58. Altoids container : TIN
Altoids breath mints have been around since 1780, when they were introduced in Britain. The famous tin in which Altoids are sold is often reused for other purposes. The most famous use is as a container to hold a mini-survival kit.
59. Island strings : UKE
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.