Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is written in the down-direction, and each contains the hidden word CLAM written in the UP-direction:
- 24D. Figuratively, stops talking … or, literally, what are hidden in this puzzle’s four longest answers : CLAMS UP
- 3D. Bell-shaped graphic : NORMAL CURVE
- 8D. Treat in a box with a circus wagon design : ANIMAL CRACKER
- 17D. District attorney’s filing : FORMAL CHARGES
- 26D. Dissatisfied sorts : MALCONTENTS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Boeing product : JET
The Boeing Company was founded in Seattle in 1916 by aviation pioneer William Boeing, with the enterprise’s first name being “Pacific Aero Products Co.” Boeing had worked in the timber industry and set up his aircraft company in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of the local supply of spruce wood.
8. Blue hue : AZURE
The word “azure” came into English from Persian via Old French. The French word “l’azur” was taken from the Persian name for a place in northeastern Afghanistan called “Lazhward” which was the main source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. The stone has a vivid blue color, and “azure” has been describing this color since the 14th century.
18. Apple products : IPODS
The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.
22. Extinct emu-like bird : MOA
Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand that are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which had the knock-on effect of killing off the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man. Moas were huge creatures, measuring up to 12 feet tall with their necks stretched upwards.
23. Campus military org. : ROTC
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.
25. Member of the flock : LAYMAN
Anything described is laic (or “laical, lay”) is related to the laity, those members of the church who are not clergy. The term “laic” ultimately comes from the Greek “laikos” meaning “of the people”.
36. Baldwin of “Beetlejuice” : ALEC
Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey.
“Beetlejuice” is a 1988 comedy-horror film directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton in the title role. Beetlejuice is an underworld character who tries to scare away the new inhabitants of a house that is haunted by the ghosts of a deceased couple (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis).
39. Tussaud’s title: Abbr. : MME
Marie Tussaud was a wax sculptor from France. Some of her early work was very gruesome as she lived through the French Revolution. She would take the decapitated heads of executed citizens and use them to make death masks which were then paraded through the streets. She eventually moved to London, taking with her a vast collection of wax models made by her and her father. She opened a museum to display the works, and the Madame Tussaud’s wax museum is a major attraction in the city to this day.
43. NFL sportscaster Collinsworth : CRIS
Cris Collinsworth is a sportscaster for several broadcasting organizations. Collinsworth played as a wide receiver in the NFL for eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
45. Sticks for drum majors : BATONS
A drum major is a the leader of a marching band, and is a position that originated in the British Army Corp of Drums in 1650. The drum major’s job is to lead the group and ensure that the whole ensemble keeps time. To help him do so, a drum major often uses a large baton. Over time, it became customary for the baton to be twirled and tossed in an elaborate display. The drum major tradition was embraced by high school marching bands in America. Drum-majorettes became popular in the 1930s, with groups of females taking up baton-twirling and marching with bands. According to an article in “Life” magazine published on October 10th, 1938, “the perfect majorette is a pert, shapely, smiling extrovert, who loves big, noisy crowds and knows how to make those crowds love her.” It was a different time …
46. Mo. or Miss. : RIV
The Missouri is North America’s longest river, flowing 2,341 miles. It rises in Montana, in the Rocky Mountains, and empties into the lower Mississippi just north of St. Louis. The river is named for the Missouria Native American tribe, whose historical lands were found near the confluence of the Grand River and the Missouri, and the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi. The name “Missouria” came from the Illinois name for the tribe, which translates as “One who has dugout canoes”. In their own language, the Missouria call themselves “Niúachi”, meaning “People of the River Mouth”.
47. Rwanda native : HUTU
The Hutu are the largest population in Rwanda, with the Tutsi being the second largest. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.
49. “Word Freak” author Fatsis : STEFAN
“Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players” is a 2001 book by “Wall Street Journal” sports reporter Stefan Fatsis. The book recounts Fatsis’ own education in the game as he progresses from being a decent player at home to being ranked “expert” by the National Scrabble Association.
51. President between Tyler and Taylor : POLK
James Knox Polk was the 11th US President. Polk is known as a president who delivered on promises that he made during his election campaign. He left office after serving only one term, as he had promised the voters, and then contracted cholera on a goodwill tour of the South. Polk died at only 53 years of age, the youngest age for any president to die in retirement. He also enjoyed the shortest retirement of any president, at only 103 days. I guess that’s why no one keeps their campaign promises these days …
John Tyler was the tenth President of the US, and the first to take the office on the death of the incumbent. Tyler’s predecessor was President William Henry Harrison, who was in office only 32 days before he died of natural causes. For a while there was a little confusion about the wording in the constitution that covered such an eventuality. There was an argument made that Tyler would continue as Vice-President but would assume the responsibilities of the office of President, in effect as “Acting President”. However, Tyler proceeded as though he was taking over as President and took the oath of office in his hotel room in Washington. Soon afterwards, Congress declared that Tyler was indeed President, although many continued to dispute the fact. Many of President Tyler’s opponents referred to him as “His Accidency”. His term in office ended in 1845. When the Civil War began in 1861, Tyler sided with the Confederacy and was even elected to the Confederate House of Representatives for the 3rd District of Virginia. President Tyler passed away only a few days after taking his seat in the House. His death was the only one in presidential history that was not recognized in the nation’s capital, as he sided with the Confederate States.
Zachary Taylor won the 1848 election to become the 12th US president, and the first president to hold office without a political resume. Taylor was a career military man, known as “Old Rough and Ready” Taylor. He died only 16 months into his term, apparently of gastroenteritis. Given that rumors of poisoning persisted over the decades, his body was exhumed in 1991 and tissue samples were checked for signs of foul play. Nothing out of order was discovered, although rumours still persist.
53. To boot : TOO
The noun “boot” was used once to describe something of advantage in trying to accomplish a goal. This obsolete term really only exists in the adverb “to boot” meaning “in addition, over and above”, literally “to advantage”.
58. Name of 14 popes : CLEMENT
There have been fourteen popes named Clement, as well as three antipopes. An antipope was someone who had significant support within the Roman Catholic Church and who made a competing claim in opposition to the legitimately elected pope.
65. Actress Zellweger : RENEE
Renée Zellweger’s big break came in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”. A few years later, Zellweger followed that up with a string of successes in “Bridget Jones Diary” (2001), “Chicago” (2002) and “Cold Mountain” (2003). My wife and I love watching her play Bridget Jones, and as someone coming from the British Isles, I have to say that Zellweger does a remarkable job with the accent. She worked hard to perfect that accent, and of course she had a voice coach. She also went “undercover” and worked as a temp in an office for three weeks fine-tuning her skills.
68. Finishing nails : BRADS
A “brad” is a slender wire nail with a relatively small head that is typically used to “tack” pieces of wood together, to fasten either temporarily or with minimal damage to the wood. Nowadays, brads are commonly applied using a nail gun.
69. Poll fig. : PCT
70. “Around the Horn” channel : ESPN
“Around the Horn” is a 30-minute sports roundup aired every day on ESPN. I’m told that the show takes the format of a debating panel game.
1. Jazz pianist Art : TATUM
Art Tatum was a jazz pianist who overcame the disability of being nearly blind from birth. Many laud Tatum as the greatest jazz pianist of all time.
2. Prefix with musicology : ETHNO-
Ethnomusicology is the comparative study of music from different cultures.
4. Charlie’s Angels, e.g. : TRIO
When the TV show “Charlie’s Angels” started airing in the mid-seventies, it was a little unusual in that it featured three women playing private detectives, a role usually reserved for men. The name first chosen for the show was “The Alley Cats”, then “Harry’s Angels”, before finally settling on “Charlie’s Angels”.
5. Support beam : JOIST
In a building, a joist is a supporting member running horizontally to support a ceiling or floor.
6. L.A.-to-Tucson dir. : ESE
Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona (after Phoenix). The founding father of the city was Hugh O’Conor, yet another Irishman, but one who was raised in Spain. O’Conor was a mercenary working for Spain when he authorized the construction of a military fort called Presidio San Augustín del Tucsón in 1775, which eventually grew into the city that we know today. The Spanish name “Tucsón” comes from the local name “Cuk Ṣon”, which translates as “(at the) base of the black (hill)”.
7. Legal wrong : TORT
The word “tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. Tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another but that action falls outside of the scope of criminal law.
8. Treat in a box with a circus wagon design : ANIMAL CRACKER
Animal crackers have been around in the US since the late 1800s, with the recipe/design being imported from England. The first really successful commercially-produced animal crackers were produced by Nabisco and marketed as “Barnum’s Animals”. Nabisco’s animal cracker cookies were first sold in the famous “circus wagon” box in 1902, as a christmas promotion. Over 40 million packages are now sold every year.
9. Speedy : ZAPPY
Something “zappy” is zippy, energetic or fast-moving.
10. “Force Behind the Forces” tour gp. : USO
The USO launched its “Force Behind the Forces” campaign in 2016.
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.
12. Raised railroads : ELS
Elevated railroad (El)
14. Barbershop bands? : STROPS
A strop is a strip of leather used to sharpen a razor.
21. Couture magazine : ELLE
“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.
“Haute couture”, literally “high dressmaking” in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.
35. Start of a fitness motto : USE IT …
Use it or lose it.
39. Cambridge univ. : MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.
41. Words on Volume One, maybe : A TO …
Maybe A to B, or A to M perhaps.
44. Mystic character : RUNE
A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.
55. “All or Nothing” boy band : O-TOWN
O-Town is a boy band that formed in 2000 as a product of the reality show “Making the Band” that aired on MTV. The band uses the nickname for Orlando in Florida, despite the fact that the original lineup had no connection with the city.
59. __-en-scène: stage setting : MISE
“Mise-en-scène” is a French phrase, literally meaning “putting on stage”. We use it to describe the setting of props and actors on a stage, or film set, before the action begins.
60. Wall St. trader : ARB
“Arb” is short for an arbitrageur, one who profits from the purchase of securities in one market and the subsequent sale in another, hence taking advantage of price discrepancies across markets.
64. Home of LGA and JFK : NYC
The three big airports serving New York City (NYC) are John F. Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).