Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are well-known phrases that end with a number, but we use that number PLUS FOUR:
- 57A. Traditional golf pants, and a hint to why certain puzzle answers are wrong : PLUS FOURS
- 17A. Dutch vodka brand : KETEL FIVE (from “Ketel One”)
- 24A. End of an Ernie Banks catchphrase about doubleheaders : LET’S PLAY SIX! (from “Let’s play two!”)
- 36A. Powerful Detroit group : THE BIG SEVEN (from “the Big Three”)
- 47A. NCAA hockey semifinal group : FROZEN EIGHT (from “Frozen Four”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Photoshop maker : ADOBE
Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software used for editing graphics. When I first bought a copy of Photoshop, it was really expensive (about $300, ten years ago), but now there are cost-effective, stripped-down versions available. Also, the full version of Photoshop is now only available as a monthly subscription service.
16. Troy story : ILIAD
“The Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the ten-year siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “The Iliad”.
17. Dutch vodka brand : KETEL FIVE (from “Ketel One”)
Ketel One is a brand of vodka from the Netherlands. The vodka is distilled from wheat in copper pot stills, and “ketel” is Dutch for “pot still”.
23. Piano part : LEG
What was remarkable about the piano when it was invented, compared to other keyboard instruments, was that notes could be played with varying degrees of loudness. This is accomplished by pressing the keys lightly or firmly. Because of this quality, the new instrument was called a “pianoforte”, with “piano” and “forte” meaning “soft” and “loud” in Italian. We tend to shorten the name these days to just “piano”.
24. End of an Ernie Banks catchphrase about doubleheaders : LET’S PLAY SIX! (from “Let’s play two!”)
First baseman Ernie Banks was known as “Mr. Cub”, and played his entire 19-year professional career with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs retired Banks’ uniform number 14 in 1982, making him the first Cubs player to be so honored. Banks was known for his catchphrase, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame … Let’s play two!”, a reference to his love of the game, always wanting to play a doubleheader.
27. State bordering six others and the Canadian mainland : IDAHO
Idaho borders six states, and one Canadian province:
- British Columbia, Canada
30. Beats Electronics co-founder : DRE
Beats Electronics is a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, which is the largest acquisition by far in Apple’s history.
31. Rebuke : UPBRAID
“To upbraid” is to reproach, find fault with, and is a term of Swedish origin.
35. Checks out : VETS
The verb “to vet” comes from the term “veterinarian”. The idea is that to “vet” something is to subject it to careful examination, like a veterinarian checking out an animal.
36. Powerful Detroit group : THE BIG SEVEN (from “the Big Three”)
In the US, the Big Three automotive manufacturers are General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The equivalent Big Three in Germany are Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and in Japan are Toyota, Nissan and Honda.
38. Powerful pair : ACES
That would be in the card game poker.
40. Parliament of Israel : KNESSET
The Knesset is the legislative branch of the Israeli government, and does its business in the Givat Ram neighborhood of central Jerusalem.
41. Former Texas Rangers manager Washington : RON
Ron Washington played shortstop for several MLB teams, most notably the Minnesota Twins. After he stopped playing the game, Washington managed the Texas Rangers from 2007 until 2014.
42. Grafton’s “__ for Alibi” : A IS
Sue Grafton writes detective novels, and her “alphabet series” features the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with “A Is for Alibi” in 1982 and is working her way through the alphabet, most recently publishing “’W’ is for Wasted” in 2009. Apparently Ms. Grafton is working on her “X is for …” novel, and has already decided that “Z is for Zero” will be the final title in the series. What a clever naming system!
43. 2014 Olympics city : SOCHI
Sochi is a city in the west of Russian on the Black Sea coast. It is the largest resort city in the whole country. Sochi is going through a busy phase in its life. It hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014, and is scheduled to host some games for the 2018 World Cup in soccer.
47. NCAA hockey semifinal group : FROZEN EIGHT (from “Frozen Four”)
The semi-finals and finals of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship tournaments are collectively referred to as the “Frozen Four”. This term is a play on “Final Four”, which is the name given to the final of rounds of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship tournament.
52. Chuckle online : LOL
Laugh out loud (“LOL” in text-speak)
53. Borneo swinger : ORANG
Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, in fact the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, living in the rain forests. Like most species in rain forests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.
Borneo is the third largest island on the planet (after Greenland and New Guinea), and is located north of Australia in Maritime Southeast Asia. Most of the island is part of Indonesia (taking up 73% of the island) with almost all of the remainder being part of Malaysia (26%). The final 1% is home to the sovereign state of Brunei.
54. Jessica Rabbit feature : GAM
The American slang term “gams” is used for a woman’s legs. The term goes back to the 18th century “gamb” meaning the leg of an animal on a coat of arms.
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was released in 1988, a clever film featuring cartoon characters that interact directly with human beings. The most memorable cartoon characters have to be the goofy Roger Rabbit, and the vampish Jessica Rabbit. The film is based on a novel written by Gary K. Wolf called “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” There is a prequel floating around that has never been produced, and it’s called “Who Discovered Roger Rabbit”.
55. Composer __ Maria von Weber : CARL
Carl Maria von Weber was a composer from Germany who was active in the early Romantic period. Related to Mozart, through Wolfgang’s marriage to Constanze Weber, Carl was an accomplished pianist and wrote many works for the instrument. However, he had very large hands and wrote pieces that suited his anatomy, and not performers with the average size of hands. As a result, Weber’s piano music is not performed very often.
56. Mascot once awarded a Doctor of Bovinity degree : ELSIE
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor fo Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.
57. Traditional golf pants, and a hint to why certain puzzle answers are wrong : PLUS FOURS
Plus fours are so called because the traditional design extends four inches in the leg longer than knickerbockers. You can also get hold of plus twos, plus sixes and plus eights should you be interested.
59. Santa __ : CLARA
The Santa Clara Valley, just a few miles from me at the south of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.
61. Bhopal locale : INDIA
Bhopal is a city in India that garnered international attention in 1984 as the site of the perhaps the worst industrial disaster the world has ever witnessed. A Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked deadly methyl isocyanate gas into the air resulting in the deaths of thousands of local residents.
1. Caustic potash, e.g. : ALKALI
The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are the alkalis, the hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.
Potash is the common name for potassium carbonate, and is also applied to other minerals containing the element potassium. The term arises from the old process for producing the chemical which involved soaking wood ashes in water and evaporating the mixture in an iron pot. The resulting material were called “pot ashes”.
3. Company with a Taco Club : ORTEGA
The Ortega food manufacturing company has been around for about 150 years. It was founded by Maria Concepcion Jacinta Dominguez Ortega, known affectionately as Mama Ortega within the company.
4. Contests whose competitors stand in place : BEES
Those would be competitors in a spelling bee.
Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a “bee”. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a “quilting bee”, or even a “spelling bee”.
5. Course for some U.S. arrivals : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
7. Gutter sites : EAVES
The eaves are the overhanging edges of a roof that project beyond the supporting wall. The term “eaves” evolved from the Old English “efes” meaning “edge.
12. Swallow one’s pride : EAT DIRT
“To eat dirt” is a slang term meaning to accept insults without complaint.
13. Campus org. revived in 2006 : SDS
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.
32. Blues singer in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1987 : BB KING
B.B. King was the stage name of Riley B. King, the celebrated blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. Referred to as the King of the Blues, King truly was a dedicated performer. He was doing gigs for over 50 years, and made over 15,000 appearances on stage. King’s first hit was “3 O’Clock Blues”, recorded in 1952. He passed away in May of 2015.
35. Reject : VETO
“Veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The word was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.
36. Clinton’s instrument : TENOR SAX
President Bill Clinton learned to play the saxophone when he was a boy. He was good enough to play first chair in the saxophone section of the Arkansas state band. My guess is that the former president’s most famous performance on the sax during his political career was on “The Arsenio Hall Show” in 1992. Clinton was a candidate for president at that time, and make quite a splash in the news media when he played “Heartbreak Hotel” on the show.
37. A tie may be partly under one : VEST
Here’s another word that often catches me out. What we call a vest here in the US is a waistcoat back in Ireland. And the Irish use the word “vest” for an undershirt.
39. Toyota model : COROLLA
Toyota management likes the idea of naming their cars after the word “crown”, as they did with the Toyota Crown, followed by the Toyota Corona (Latin for crown), the Toyota Corolla (Latin for small crown), and the Toyota Camry (Japanese for crown).
42. Trojan who survived the sack of Troy : AENEAS
Aeneas was a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of all Romans. Aeneas’s story is told in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid”.
44. First name in impressionism : CLAUDE
Claude Monet painted the harbor of Le Havre in the north of France in 1872, giving it the title “Impression, Sunrise”. The painting is not a “realistic” representation of the scene in front of him, hence the name “impression”. It was this very painting that gave rise to the name of the Impressionist movement.
48. Rumble in the Jungle setting : ZAIRE
The Rumble in the Jungle was the celebrated 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The fight was set in Zaire because of financial arrangements between promoter Don King and Zaire’s President Mobutu Seko. Ali coined the term “Rope-a-dope” to describe his incredibly successful strategy in the contest. From the second round onwards, Ali adopted a protected stance on the ropes letting Foreman pound him with blows to the body and head, with Ali using his arms to dissipate the power of the punches. He kept this up until the eighth round and then opened up and downed the exhausted Foreman with a left-right combination. I hate boxing but I have to say, that was a fascinating fight.
49. Inuit home : IGLOO
The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.
51. Bounty title : HMS
Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall wrote “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, based on a true story. They followed up their successful novel with two more works, creating what is now called the “Bounty Trilogy”. The three books are:
- “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, the tale of the mutiny against Captain Bligh.
- “Men Against the Sea”, the story of Captain Bligh and the eighteen men set adrift in an open boat by the mutineers.
- “Pitcairn’s Island”, a narrative about the lives of the mutineers on South Sea islands after the mutiny.
57. Casino area : PIT
The pit is part of a casino that usually holds the tables for craps, blackjack and roulette, and perhaps some other games. The tables are arranged around the pit, with players on the outside and dealers on the inside. The area is supervised by a pit manager (often “pit boss”).
58. Shark feature : FIN
Shark finning is a cruel fishing practice driven by the demand for Chinese shark fin soup. Millions of sharks every year are captured, have their fins sliced off at sea and are then thrown back into the ocean still alive. The mutilated sharks don’t last very long and are usually eaten because they cannot maneuver very easily without their dorsal fins.