Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are well-known phrases, but with the opening letters PO swapped with the letters LO:
- 17A. “Don’t waste your money on that pendant”? : LOCKET VETO (from “pocket veto”)
- 23A. Spinner in a numbers game? : LOTTERY WHEEL (from “pottery wheel”)
- 51A. Hammock? : LOLLING PLACE (from “polling place”)
- 64A. Pruning ideology? : LOP CULTURE (from “pop culture”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Bird that’s a national symbol : KIWI
The kiwi is an unusual bird in that it has a highly developed sense of smell and is the only one of our feathered friends with nostrils located at the tip of its long beak.
5. “Chasing Pavements” singer : ADELE
“Chasing Pavements” is a 2008 song written and recorded by English singer Adele. Apparently, Adele wrote the song after discovering that a boyfriend had cheated on her. She met up with him in a bar, punched him in the face and then stormed out. As she walked down the road she asked herself, “What is it you’re chasing? You’re chasing an empty pavement”. I should explain that “pavement” is not the road surface in Britain, but rather the footpath.
10. Party time, casually : B-DAY
14. Eddie __, detective involved in the actual “French Connection” : EGAN
New York cop Eddie Egan was responsible for breaking up an organized crime ring in the city in 1961, and the seizing of a record amount of heroin (112 pounds). His exploits were chronicled in a book by Robin Moore, which in turn was the basis of the movie “The French Connection” released in 1971. Gene Hackman played Popeye Doyle in the movie, the character based on Egan. Paradoxically, when Egan retired from the police force he started acting and played small roles in 22 movies and television shows.
15. Spring bloomer : TULIP
We usually associate the cultivation of tulips with the Netherlands, but they were first grown commercially in the Ottoman Empire. The name “tulip” ultimately derives from the Ottoman Turkish word “tulbend” which means “muslin, gauze”.
16. Former constellation that included Vela (the sail) : ARGO
The constellation Argo Navis (“Argo the Ship” in Latin) is no longer officially recognized. Instead, it has been divided into its constituent parts: Puppis (“The Poop Deck”), Vela (“The Sails”) and Carina (“The Keel”).
17. “Don’t waste your money on that pendant”? : LOCKET VETO (from “pocket veto”)
In the US, “pocket veto” is the term used for the legal maneuver that kills a piece of legislation when the President takes no action at all. The Constitution requires that the President sign or veto (i.e. a “regular veto”) any legislation within ten days while Congress is in session. If Congress adjourns within the 10-day period, then the bill does not become law. It is this inaction by the President when Congress is out of session that is called a “pocket veto”.
22. Pants part : KNEE
The term “pants”, meaning trousers, is an abbreviated form of “pantaloons” that first appeared in the 1840s. Pantaloons were a kind of tights named for a silly old male character in Italian comedy called “Pantaloun” who always wore tight trousers over skinny legs.
26. Elaborate in design : ROCOCO
The Rococo style is also known as “Late Baroque”. Rococo is a very floral and playful style, very ornate.
31. Daring exploit : GEST
Our word “gest” meaning a great deed or an exploit has been around since about 1300, and comes from the Old French word “geste” meaning the same thing. These days “geste” can also mean “gesture”.
35. One eschewing leather, perhaps : VEGAN
A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.
“To eschew”, meaning “to avoid, shun” comes from the Old French word “eschiver” that means the same thing.
40. Pub pick : PALE ALE
Pale ale is a beer made using mainly pale malt, which results in a relatively light color for a malted beer.
42. Presidential nickname : ABE
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the US. There are several stories told about how he earned the nickname “Honest Abe”. One story dates back to early in his career as a lawyer. Lincoln accidentally overcharged a client and then walked miles in order to right the wrong as soon as possible.
43. Long bout : SIEGE
Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.
49. Hills of Rome, e.g. : SEPTET
Supposedly, there were seven separate settlements on the top of seven hills east of the River Tiber, prior to the founding of the city of Rome. Tradition dictates that Romulus founded Rome on one of these hills, Palatine Hill, and the city came to encompass all seven existing settlements. The most famous hill in modern-day Rome is probably Vatican Hill, but it lies outside of walled ancient city.
51. Hammock? : LOLLING PLACE (from “polling place”)
Our word “hammock” comes via Spanish from Haiti, evolving from a word used there to describe a fishing net.
66. Pulitzer-winning author James : AGEE
James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.
68. Composer Khachaturian : ARAM
Aram Khachaturian was a Soviet-Armenian composer who created many works that were influenced by Armenian culture. Khachaturian’s most famous piece of music is the frenetic “Saber Dance” from the ballet “Gayane”. My favorite composition though is the “Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia”. It was used as the theme for a BBC drama called “The Onedin Line” and will always evoke for me images of tall ships and vast oceans.
71. Sport that hints at this puzzle’s theme : POLO
The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.
1. Vegetation in underwater forests : KELP
Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.
2. Aviation pioneer Sikorsky : IGOR
Igor Sikorsky was a Russian pioneer in the world of aviation. He designed and indeed piloted the world’s first multi-engine, fixed-wing aircraft in 1913. He moved to the US in 1919 and set up his own aircraft manufacturing business. In the thirties he made the magnificent flying boats that were used by Pan Am in their Clipper era. Sikorsky also developed the world’s first mass-produced helicopter, in 1942.
3. Chisholm Trail city : WACO
The Chisholm Trail was used in the late 1800s by ranchers driving their cattle from Texas to the stockyards and railroad termini in Kansas. The trail was named for Jesse Chisholm who operated trading posts along much of the route.
The Texas city of Waco is named for the Wichita people known as the “Waco”, who occupied the area for thousands of years.
4. Test pattern : INKBLOT
The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which a subject is asked to interpret a series of inkblots. The test was created by Swiss Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in the 1920s.
5. U-verse provider : ATT
AT&T’s U-verse offering is combination of Internet, telephone and television service.
6. Comforter : DUVET
A “duvet” is a large flat bag that is filled with down, feathers or a synthetic substitute that is used as a top cover for a bed. Although a duvet is similar to what is called a “comforter” in the US, there is a difference. A duvet is often has an easily removed cover that is usually laundered at the same time as the bottom sheet and pillowcases. We use them a lot in Europe, and generally without a top sheet due to the ease of laundering.
7. Sorbonne student : ELEVE
The French word “élève” can be translated as “pupil, student”.
The Sorbonne is the name usually used for the old University of Paris, and some of the institutions that have succeeded it.
9. Henry Ford, e.g. : EPONYM
An eponym is a name for something derived from the name of a person, as in the “sandwich” named for the Earl of Sandwich.
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.
10. Excavating aid : BACKHOE
The excavating equipment known as a backhoe is named for the way the vehicle’s shovel works. A backhoe digs by pulling earth “backwards”, and not by lifting it forward like a person shovelling or how a bulldozer works. I always thought that the “back” referred to the location of the shovel on the vehicle, and I was wrong …
11. Hive member : DRONE
Drone bees and ants are fertile males of the species, whose sole role in life seems to be to mate with a queen.
18. Fair-hiring agcy. : EEOC
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.
24. Draped garment : TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.
28. Discounted buy : CASE
That could be a case of wine, perhaps.
41. When repeated, Cult Jam singer : LISA
Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam was a band that was active in the late eighties and early nineties. Lisa Lisa is the stage name of musician Lisa Velez.
48. “CSI” setting : DNA LAB
The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to have finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two season before being canceled in 2016.
51. Multiple Emmy-winning legal drama : LA LAW
“L.A. Law” ran on NBC from 1986 to 1994, and was one of the network’s most successful drama series. It took over from the equally successful “Hill Street Blues” in the Thursday night 10 p.m. slot until, after a six-year run, it was itself replaced by yet another respected drama, “E.R.” The opening credits showed that famous California licence plate. The plate was on a Jaguar XJ for most of the series, but moved onto a Bentley towards the end of the run. For each series the registration sticker was updated, so no laws were being broken.
52. Missouri river : OSAGE
Much of the Osage River in Missouri is now taken up by two large reservoirs created behind two dams that provide power for St. Louis and the surrounding area. The two reservoirs are the Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks.
54. Sales figure : GROSS
In a statement of accounts, gross profit is the difference between revenue from sales and the cost of making goods or providing a service. So-called fixed costs, of overhead, payroll, taxes and interest payments are not included in gross profits. When these fixed costs have been deducted, what is left is called the net profit, also known as “the bottom line”.
55. Side in a decades-long war : PEPSI
“Cola Wars” is the phrase used to describe the competing marketing campaigns of Coca Cola and PepsiCo. Coke is winning …
60. Peseta replacer : EURO
The peseta is the former currency of Spain, replaced by the euro in 2002.
61. With 33-Down, part of it is now a desert : ARAL
33. See 61-Down : SEA
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …