Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s grid features the word PIN, dropping from the top to the bottom, as we move from left to right. Even if we listen carefully, we can’t HEAR A PIN DROP:
- 7D. With 36-Down, what you can’t do regarding this puzzle’s circled letters : HEAR A …
- 36D. See 7-Down … or, with “a,” what you can see in this puzzle’s circled letters : … PIN DROP
- 2D. Flooring wood : PINE
- 5D. Custody : KEEPING
- 49D. One of a gripping tool pair : PINCER
- 59D. Go around : SPIN
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. Electrical unit : OHM
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every schoolkid knows as Ohm’s Law.
9. What wind ensembles usually tune to : B-FLAT
When the members of a full orchestra tune their instruments, they almost always tune to an “A” played by an oboe. A wind ensemble usually tunes to a B-flat, as this is an “open” note on many instrument, one in which all valves are open on trumpet for example, or the slider on a trombone is in home position.
14. Actress Anouk whose last name means “beloved” : AIMEE
Anouk Aimée is a French film actress. Aimée’s most famous film outside of France is probably the internationally successful 1966 French hit “A Man and a Woman”, in which she played the female lead.
16. Appreciative cry : BRAVO!
To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer by using “bravi!”
17. Travelocity ad figure : GNOME
In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable so we now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.
18. “Hotel du __”: Anita Brookner novel : LAC
Anita Brookner is a British novelist and art historian. Brookner’s fourth book was “Hotel du Lac” published in 1984, which won the Booker Prize.
20. Fabulous writer? : AESOP
Aesop is remembered today for his famous fables. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.
21. Roth __ : IRA
Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs) were introduced in 1997 under a bill sponsored by Senator William Roth of Delaware, hence the name.
29. Very deep places : ABYSMS
“Abysm” is an alternative word for “abyss”.
33. Shore soarer : ERN
The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also called the white-tailed eagle, or the sea-eagle.
41. “__ Romance”: Jerome Kern song : A FINE
“A Fine Romance” is a song by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields that was written for the 1936 movie “Swing Time”. The song was performed in the film by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, although a version recorded by Billie Holiday later that year is perhaps the most famous. On the other side of the Atlantic, there’s a famous rendition by actress Judi Dench as the title song of a 1980s sitcom also called “A Fine Romance”.
42. TV princess : XENA
The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.
43. Radamès’ love : AIDA
“Aida” is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi, actually based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then of course complications arise!
44. Cover letter letters : ENC
46. Pentax competitor : LEICA
Leica is a German optics company, famous for production of lenses and cameras. The 1913 Leica was the first practical camera that could use 35mm film, a size chosen because it was already the standard for film used in motion pictures.
48. Cholesterol initials : LDL
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is one of the compounds responsible for transporting fats around the body. When LDL is combined with cholesterol it can be referred to as “bad cholesterol”. This is because LDL actually transports cholesterol into the inner walls of blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis.
49. Hides : PELTS
The “pelt” is the skin of a furry animal.
50. “U slay me!” : LOL
Laugh out loud (LOL, in text-speak)
52. Travelers’ bus. : INS
The very familiar red umbrella used by the Travelers insurance company first made an appearance way back in 1870, but was dropped. The umbrella was revived in the 1960s, was given a bright red color, and has been around ever since. Even when the Travelers name was dropped when the company merged with Citicorp, the red umbrella was included in the resulting Citigroup logo.
53. Teddy’s Mount Rushmore neighbor : ABE
The four presidents whose faces are carved in the granite face of Mount Rushmore are (from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the presidents is about 60 feet in height, although they might have been larger. The original intent was for the presidents to be depicted from head to waist, but the project lost funding.
58. Inflation fig. : PSI
Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) is a measure of pressure.
64. Like battleships : ARMORED
In the days of sail, a naval fleet of ships often formed a “line of battle” in the vessels formed up end to end. The advantage of such a formation was that all vessels could fire a battery of cannon along the full length of the ship. Vessels deemed powerful enough to join the line of battle became known as “ships of the line”, or “line of battle ships”. The term “line of battle ship” shortened over time to become our modern word “battleship”. The main feature of a contemporary battleship is a battery of large caliber guns.
66. Looked inside, in a way : X-RAYED
X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901 Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded, recognition for his work on X-rays.
67. Show the ropes : ORIENT
As one might expect perhaps, the phrase “learning the ropes” is nautical in origin. A new recruit on a sailing vessel would have to learn how to tie the appropriate knots and learn which rope controlled which sail or spar.
3. “The Cookie Never Crumbles” co-author Wally : AMOS
Wally Amos was a talent agent, one who was in the habit of taking home-baked cookies with him as an enticement to get celebrities to see him. He was urged by friends to open a cookie store (the cookies were that delicious, I guess) and this he did in Los Angeles in 1975 using the name “Famous Amos”. The store was a smash hit and he was able build on the success by introducing his cookies into supermarkets. The brand was eventually bought up making Wally a rich man, and Famous Amos cookies are still flying off the shelf.
6. Kukla cohort : OLLIE
“Kukla, Fran and Ollie” is an early television show that aired from 1947-1957. Kukla and Ollie (Oliver J. Dragon) were puppets and Fran was Fran Allison, usually the only human on the show.
8. Portuguese territory until 1999 : MACAU
Macau (also “Macao”) was a Portuguese colony, the first European colony in China, which was established in the 16th century. Macau was handed back to the Chinese in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was returned by the British. That made Macau the last European colony in China. Today Macau’s economy is driven by tourism and gambling.
11. “… this skull has __ in the earth … “: Hamlet : LAIN
“This skull has lain in the earth three-and-twenty years.” is a line from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. The skull in questions is Yorick’s.
In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, there is a scene when Prince Hamlet holds in his hand the skull of the deceased court jester Yorick. Hamlet starts into a famous monologue at this point:
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is …
The opening line is often misquoted as “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.”
24. “The Thin Man” role : NORA
“The Thin Man” is a detective novel written by Dashiell Hammett that was first published in the magazine “Redbook” in 1934. Hammett never wrote a sequel to his story, but it spawned a wonderful, wonderful series of “The Thin Man” films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. “The Thin Man” was the last novel that Hammett wrote.
26. “The Goldbergs” actor George : SEGAL
The actor George Segal was one of my favorite Hollywood stars when I was growing up. I most remember him from the dramatic role he played in 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” alongside Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and the comedic role he played in 1973’s “A Touch of Class” opposite Glenda Jackson. Segal has made a successful transition to television in recent years, playing lead roles on the sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs”.
27. Links legend, familiarly : ARNIE
Arnold Palmer was one of the greats of the world of golf. He was very popular with many fans of the game, and his followers were usually referred to as “Arnie’s Army”. Off the course, Palmer was an avid pilot, until his latter years. He resided in Latrobe, Pennsylvania for much of the year and the local airport is named in his honor: Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.
31. “Haystacks” series painter : MONET
Claude Monet painted a series of twenty-five impressionist paintings titled “Haystacks” in 1890 and 1891.
32. Overcharges : SOAKS
We’ve been using the slang term “soak” to mean “overcharge” for quite a while, since the late 1800s.
40. City south of Fort Worth : WACO
The Texas city of Waco is named for the Wichita people known as the “Waco”, who occupied the area for thousands of years.
Fort Worth, Texas was established as a US Army outpost in 1849, in the wake of the Mexican-American War (1846 – 1848). Fort Worth was the most northerly of ten fortified outposts built by the US government to protect the American Frontier. To this day, the city of Fort Worth is sometimes referred to as “where the West begins”.
42. Magneto’s enemies : X-MEN
X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains that X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellan.
47. Sharer of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize : AL GORE
Former Vice President Al Gore was a joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 in recognition for his work in climate change activism. He also won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for his book on climate change called “An Inconvenient Truth”. The documentary of the same name that was spawned by the book won an Academy Award. In addition, Gore won an Emmy as co-owner of Current TV, an independent news network.
53. Trojan War hero : AJAX
Ajax was a figure in Greek mythology, and was the cousin of Achilles. Ajaz is an important figure in Homer’s “Iliad”. According to Homer, Ajax was chosen by lot to meet Hector in an epic duel that lasted a whole day. The duel ended in a draw.
The ancient city of Troy was located on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. The Trojan War of Greek mythology was precipitated by the elopement of Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, with Paris of Troy. The war itself largely consisted of a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greeks. We know most about the final year of that siege, as it is described extensively in Homer’s “Iliad”. The city eventually fell when the Greeks hid soldiers inside the Trojan Horse, which the Trojans brought inside the city’s walls. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts …
54. “Hamilton” role : BURR
Aaron Burr was the third vice-president of the US, serving under Thomas Jefferson. In the final year of his term in office, Burr fought an illegal duel and killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton. Burr wasn’t brought to justice, but he did pay the price politically. Thomas Jefferson dropped him from his ticket in the election held the following year.
“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life or US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The representations of the main characters is decidedly ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.
57. Puzzlemaker Rubik : ERNO
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.
60. Hall & Oates’ “Say It __ So” : ISN’T
Daryl Hall & John Oates are a pop music duo, most successful in the late seventies and early eighties. They had six number one hits, including the 1982 release “Maneater”.
63. My __, Vietnam : LAI
The My Lai Massacre took place in the Vietnamese village of that name in March, 1968. After an investigation it was determined that at least 347 unarmed civilians, mostly women, children and elderly people, were murdered by a unit of US soldiers. It was also revealed that gang rapes and torture took place during the massacre. At least three servicemen tried to halt the killing, but they were vastly outnumbered by those participating. About two years after the massacre, 26 men were charged with crimes, but only one man was convicted. William Calley was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment and hard labor. President Nixon stepped in the day after Calley was sentenced and ordered him transferred from Leavenworth prison and placed under house arrest pending appeal. On appeal the life sentence was reduced to 20 years, and this was further cut to 10 years as an act of clemency by the Secretary of the Army. Calley was released after serving three years in total.