Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers has the hidden letter sequence ENIN, which is NINE written BACKWARDS:
- 59A. Take on holes 10 through 18 … and a hint to a letter sequence hidden in 17-, 27- and 45-Across : PLAY THE BACK NINE
- 17A. Stock in company producing solar panels, e.g. : GREEN INVESTMENT
- 27A. Exonerated by the evidence : PROVEN INNOCENT
- 45A. Standing hospitable offer : OPEN INVITATION
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Company that developed the first aluminum teakettle : ALCOA
The Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA) is the largest producer of aluminum in the United States. The company was founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where its headquarters are to this day.
10. Pre-coll. catchall : ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.
20. California rolls and such : SUSHI
A California roll is a kind of sushi roll that is made inside-out, with the seaweed inside and the rice on the outside. A California roll often includes rice, seaweed, cucumber and avocado. The dish originated in Los Angeles where a chef at the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant substituted avocado for fatty tuna (“toro”) in a traditional sushi recipe. The chef also put the seaweed on the inside, as his American customers preferred not to look directly at seaweed while they were eating it!
21. Bud holder? : KEG
The American beer called Budweiser (often shortened to “Bud”) is named for the Czech town of Budweis (“České Budějovice” in Czech). The name is the subject of a dispute as here is an original Czech beer with a similar name, Budweiser Budvar. American Budweiser is sold in most European countries as “Bud”.
25. Cato, for one : ROMAN
Cato the Elder was a Roman statesman, known historically as “the elder” in order to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger. Cato the Elder’s ultimate position within Roman society was that of Censor, making him responsible for maintaining the census, and for supervising public morality.
37. In-flight fig. : ALT
38. Jack’s value, sometimes : TEN
The playing card known as a jack is also known as a knave. “Knave” was the original term, the same term used for a male servant of a king and queen. The term “jack” came into usage in games played by “common folk”, and started to become entrenched in the mid-1980s.
43. Fish that can swim backwards : EEL
Eels swim by creating waves of motion that travel the length of their bodies. They can also swim backwards, just by reversing the direction of the body waves.
44. A.L. West pro, informally : ‘STRO
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.
48. Five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ledecky : KATIE
Katie Ledecky is a swimmer who won her first Olympic gold medal at just 15 years of age, in the 800-meter freestyle. In 2016, Ledecky also became the youngest person to make “Time” magazine’s “Time 100” annual list of most influential people in the American world. Katie’s uncle is John Ledecky, owner of the New York Islanders hockey team.
49. Church-owned Dallas sch. : SMU
Southern Methodist University (SMU) is located in University Park, Texas (part of Dallas), and was founded in 1911. SMU is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
50. Moth-__ : EATEN
The larvae of several types of moth are noted for eating fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Many people store woolens in cedar chests believing that the scent of the wood prevents a moth infestation. In fact, the only known effective repellent is the naphthalene found in mothballs, which might be a health concern for humans. One way to kill moth larvae in fabric is to freeze the garment for several days at a temperature below 8 degrees centigrade.
53. “Inside Politics” airer : CNN
“Inside Politics” is a CNN news program that had an original run of over 20 years, hosted by Judy Woodruff from 1993 to 2005. The show was resurrected in 2014 with John King as host.
59. Take on holes 10 through 18 … and a hint to a letter sequence hidden in 17-, 27- and 45-Across : PLAY THE BACK NINE
There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.
63. Nemesis : ENEMY
Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.
64. Canal past Rochester : ERIE
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”.
The city in upstate New York called Rochester started off as a tract of land on the Genesee River purchased in 1803 by three army officers from Maryland, including Col. Nathaniel Rochester. Within a few years the land had been developed into the village of Rochesterville, and in 1823 the name was simplified to Rochester.
3. Former Iowa Straw Poll city : AMES
The city of Ames, Iowa is famous for holding the now-defunct Ames Straw Poll (also “Iowa Straw Poll) in advance of presidential elections. The poll in question was used to gauge the level of support for two or more Republican candidates, although non-Republicans were allowed to cast a vote. To vote one had to be an Iowa resident and had buy a ticket to the fundraising dinner at which the vote is taken. The event got a lot of coverage, so it boosted the local economy as journalists hit the town. It was a very successful fundraiser for the Republican Party in Iowa as well, but the usefulness of the straw poll in predicting the eventual winner of the nomination was less clear. There were six straw polls from its inception in 1979, and just 2 out of the 6 times the poll winner went on to capture the party’s nomination. The Republican Party decided to pull the plug on the event in 2015.
4. Dwelling fit for a queen : BEEHIVE
A queen bee has a stinger, just like worker bees. When a worker bee stings, it leaves it stinger in its victim. The worker bee dies after losing its stinger as the loss rips out part of its insides. However, a queen bee can sting with impunity as the stinger’s anatomy is different.
5. Boxer Laila : ALI
Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.
6. Website offering : LINK
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 …
7. Stalactite sites : CAVERNS
A stalactite is a mineral deposit that hangs from the roof of a cave, formed by continuous dripping of mineral-rich water. “Stalactite” comes from the Greek word “stalasso” meaning “to drip”.
8. Home of college football’s Ducks : OREGON
The sports teams of the University of Oregon are known as the Oregon Ducks. The big rivals to the Ducks are the Oregon State Beavers, a rivalry that has been dubbed “the Civil War”. The two schools’ football teams play a game every year for the Platypus Trophy.
10. White-coated weasels : ERMINES
The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.
26. Early assembly-line autos : MODEL TS
The industrialist Henry Ford was born in Michigan, and was the son of an Irish immigrant from County Cork. Ford’s most famous vehicle was the one that revolutionized the industry: the Model T. Ford’s goal with the Model T was to build a car that was simple to drive and and easy and cheap to purchase and repair. The Model T cost $825 in 1908, which isn’t much over $20,000 in today’s money.
28. Logger’s contest : ROLEO
The log-rolling competition traditionally engaged in by lumberjacks is referred to as “Roleo”.
31. Capone cohort : NITTI
Frank Nitti was one of the top henchmen working for Al Capone. Unlike American-born Capone, Nitti was actually from Italy and was born near the city of Salerno. When Capone was eventually put away for 11 years for tax evasion, Nitti was convicted of the same crime. Nitti was only imprisoned for 18 months, and when released he was labelled as the new head of Capone’s Chicago Outfit. However the truth seems to be that he was just a frontman, with others making the decisions.
32. Cape Cod community : TRURO
Truro is a town in the Outer Cape, close to the northern tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The area was settled in the late 1600s by English colonists who named it for the city of Truro in Cornwall, England. Truro is home to the Highland Light (also called “the Cape Cod Light”), which was the first lighthouse to be built on Cape Cod. The first Highland Lighthouse was built in 1797, and the current structure was erected in 1857. The whole structure had to be moved a tenth of a mile inland in 1996, as it had become endangered by coastal erosion.
36. Black, in verse : EBON
Ebony is another word for the color black (often shortened to “ebon” in poetry). Ebony is a dark black wood that is very dense, one of the few types of wood that sinks in water. Ebony has been in high demand so the species of trees yielding the wood are now considered threatened. It is in such short supply that unscrupulous vendors have been known to darken lighter woods with shoe polish to look like ebony, so be warned …
39. Sweet-smelling garland : LEI
“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.
46. __ Creed : NICENE
What is known today in the Christian tradition as the Nicene Creed, was originally adopted by the first ecumenical council when it met in 325 AD. The meeting took place in the city of Nicaea, which gave its name to this particular profession of faith. Nicaea is the Greek name of the city that is now called Iznik, and it lies in the northwest of Turkey.
47. Wild way to run : AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …
56. Apple Watch assistant : SIRI
Siri is software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. You’ve probably seen the ads on television, with folks talking to their iPhones asking for information and responding with a voice. I hear that Google is a little scared by Siri, as Siri is non-visual. There’s no need to touch a screen or a keyboard to work with Siri, no opportunity to click on one of Google’s ads! By the way, voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri not that long ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.
The Apple Watch was announced in 2014 and started shipping in 2015. The device works as an extension to a user’s smartphone, although it also has capabilities of its own. I’m not a big fan of smartwatches; I don’t really see the point …
57. Oklahoma city : ENID
Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.
61. Dancer Charisse : CYD
Actress Cyd Charisse was famous for her dancing ability and the many roles she played opposite Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Charisse carved out a career based on dance despite the fact that she suffered from polio as a child. In fact, she took up ballet at the age of twelve to help build up her strength as she recovered from the disease.