Edited by: Rich Norris
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IN THIS CORNER are words that introduce a TITLE FIGHT in the world of boxing. We have four boxers in the four CORNERS of the grid spelled out by circled letters, each of whom won world CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Max Baer was an American Heavyweight Champion of the World in the thirties. Baer held the title for 364 days, and then went into the ring after hardly any training at all against the well-prepared James J. Braddock. Braddock was a huge underdog, and yet emerged victorious after 15 rounds (Braddock is the subject of the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man”). By the way, Baer’s son is Max Baer, Jr., the actor who played Jethro on “The Beverly Hillbillies”.
Muhammad Ali won 56 professional fights, 37 of which were knockouts. He lost 5 fights, 4 being decisions and one being a technical knockout (TKO). The TKO-loss was Ali’s second-last fight, against Larry Holmes. By the time Ali took on Holmes, he was already showing signs of Parkinson’s Syndrome, although the diagnosis would not come until four years later.
Sonny Liston won the heavyweight boxing championship in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round. Liston suffered a first round defeat himself in 1965, to Muhammad Ali. The picture of Ali standing over Liston was featured on the cover of a special “Sports Illustrated” edition featuring “The Century’s Greatest Sports Photos”.
Roberto Durán is a retired professional boxer from Panama. He earned the nickname “Manos de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) during his very successful career. Durán retired in 2001 after being involved in a car crash which required life-saving surgery.
- 5A. With 71-Across, event for today’s puzzle’s circles : TITLE …
- 71A. See 5-Across : … FIGHT
- 25A. Prize for today’s puzzle’s circles : CHAMPIONSHIP
- 52A. Introductory words for each set of puzzle circles : IN THIS CORNER …
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Sea that’s a shrinking lake : ARAL
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 …
14. Jazz Age toon : BOOP
Betty Boop made her first appearance on the screen in 1930, in a cartoon called “Dizzy Dishes”. Her character was modeled on the the It-girl, the sexy Clara Bow of movie fame. Back then Betty Boop was a sexy poodle and it wasn’t until 1932 that she morphed into completely human form. Betty was quite the risqué figure, but her vampish ways only lasted a few years. When the Production Code of 1934 came into force, Betty started to dress more modestly and toned down her behavior.
16. Roast, in Rouen : ROTI
In French, a “rôti” (roast) is a joint of meat.
Rouen is the major city in Normandy in northern France. During the days of Norman Britain, Rouen was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties. Rouen was also where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.
18. “Miss __ Playhouse”: jazz CD for kids : ELLA’S
“Miss Ella’s Playhouse” is a collection of songs recorded by Ella Fitzgerald that were chosen for young listeners. The album was released quite recently, in 2007.
20. Outlaw Belle : STARR
Belle Starr was an outlaw in the Wild West, a descendent of the famous feuding Hatfields. Born Myra Maybelle Shirley, she married a Cherokee man named Sam Starr in 1880. After a life of crime that included a nine-month stint in jail, Belle was ambushed and shot twice in 1889, in an unsolved crime. Belle Starr wasn’t at all notorious during her life, but her story was told quite colorfully in the Richard K. Fox novel “Bella Starr, the Bandit Queen, or the Female Jesse James”. The novel was published the year she died, and decades later Starr was portrayed in several movies, including 1941’s “Belle Starr” with Gene Tierney in the title role.
22. PBS funder : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …
24. Tally : SUM
Back in the mid-1600s, a “tally” was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or had paid. The term came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”.
29. Org. with a snake in its logo : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)
The Rod of Asclepius is a rod around which a serpent is entwined. It was carried by the Greek god Asclepius, hence the name. Asclepius was associated with medicine and healing, and so the Rod of Asclepius has long been associated with health care. It appears in the logo of many organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association. The Rod of Asclepius is sometimes confused with the caduceus, the traditional symbol of the god Hermes. The caduceus features two snakes winding around a winged staff. Famously, the US Army Medical Corps adopted the caduceus as a symbol, apparently in error, and as a result, the caduceus is sometimes associated with healthcare groups to this day.
32. Late 19th-century presidential monogram : CAA
Chester Alan Arthur (CAA) was the 21st President of the US, and came to power after the assassination of James Garfield in 1881. President Arthur was known to be socially adept, and was very conscious of his role in society. He was always immaculately attired, apparently even changing his pants several times in a day. He was called “Chet” by family and friends, and sometimes answered to his middle name, Alan. However, he insisted that Alan be pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, Al-an.
44. Curaçao’s capital : WILLEMSTAD
Willemstad is the capital city of the Caribbean island nation of Curaçao. One of the city’s claims to fame is that it is home to the Hope of Israel-Emanuel Synagogue that was completed in 1674, making it the oldest surviving synagogue in the whole of the Americas.
48. Andean tuber : OCA
The plant called an oca is also known as the New Zealand Yam. The tubers of the oca are used as a root vegetable.
49. Turkmenistan neighbor : IRAN
The countries of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan lie along Iran’s north and eastern borders.
51. Want-ad letters : EEO
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.
56. Titled rapper : DRE
Dr. Dre is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.
57. Radical ’70s org. : SLA
The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was founded in 1973 by an escapee from the prison system, Donald DeFreeze. The group’s manifesto promoted the rights of African Americans although, in the 2-3 year life of the group, DeFreeze was the only black member. Famously, the SLA kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. Hearst apparently fell victim to what is called the Stockholm syndrome and became sympathetic to her captors’ cause. She joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania”.
58. Teen superhero’s family : KENTS
Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.
60. Pupil’s place : UVEA
The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The iris is the colored part of the eye with an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.
The pupil of the eye is the “hole” located in the center of the iris through which light enters the retina. The term “pupil” came into English via French from the latin “pupilla”, which is the diminutive form of “pupa” meaning “girl, doll”. The term came about due to the tiny doll-like image that one can see of oneself when looking into the center of another’s eyes.
65. Nantes nothing : RIEN
Nantes is a beautiful city located on the delta of the Loire, Erdre and Sèvre rivers. It has the well deserved nickname of “The Venice of the West”. I had the privilege of visiting Nantes a couple of times on business, and I can attest that it really is a charming city …
68. Sacks : FIRES
The term “to sack” meaning to dismiss someone from a job, used to be phrased as “to give the sack”. The expression probably came from the idea of firing a worker and sending him or her off with tools in a sack.
69. Conductor Klemperer or an emperor : OTTO
Otto Klemperer was a conductor and composer from Germany. Klemperer was a friend of the noted composer Gustav Mahler and assisted Mahler in the first production of his “Symphony of a Thousand”, one of the largest scale choral works in the repertoire. Otto’s son was Werner Klemperer, the actor who played Colonel Klink on the TV show “Hogan’s Heroes”.
70. Reformed demon on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” : ANYA
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a TV series that originally aired from 1997 to 2003. “Buffy …” was incredibly successful, especially given that it wasn’t aired on the one of the big four networks. The show was created by Joss Whedon and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role.
1. Blood system letters : ABO
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a “universal donor”.
4. Oxygen network co-founder : OPRAH
Oxygen is a TV channel that features programming aimed at women. Oxygen was founded in 1998 by a group of media personalities that included talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
8. Southwestern plain : LLANO
“Llano” is the Spanish word for “plain”.
10. Altar in the sky : ARA
The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for “altar”.
11. Mantegna’s “Criminal Minds” role : ROSSI
Joe Mantegna is an Italian-American actor from Chicago, Illinois. Mantegna has played a lot of Hollywood roles and can now be seen regularly on the television show “Criminal Minds” in which he portrays FBI Special Agent David Rossi.
13. Singer Payne of One Direction : LIAM
One Direction is a UK-based boy band. Each member of the band competed in the reality show “The X Factor”, and didn’t do very well. The five were then combined in a boy band at a later stage of the competition. They only finished in third place, but I don’t think they care. They’re doing very, very well for “losers” …
21. Proverbial deserter : RAT
… deserting the sinking ship.
23. Grilled, in Mexican fare : ASADA
The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.
26. California’s __ Verdes Peninsula : PALOS
The Palos Verdes Peninsula is part of the vast metropolis of Los Angeles. The peninsula’s shoreline is home to what’s left of a freighter called the Dominator, which ran aground there in 1961.
28. Golfe de la Gonâve country : HAITI
The Republic of Haiti occupies the smaller, western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The rest of the island is taken up by the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of only two nations in the Americas to have French as an official language, the other being Canada.
The Gulf of Gonâve lies on the western coast of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince is located on the gulf’s coast.
36. “Cuchi-cuchi” celebrity : CHARO
Charo is an actress, comedian and flamenco guitarist from Spain. She is quite famous for her comedic catchphrase “cuchi cuchi”. Charo’s real name is … wait for it … María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romaguera y de la Hinojosa Rasten.
37. Akhenaten’s queen : NEFERTITI
Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti is relatively well-known in modern times largely due to a 3,300-year-old limestone bust that depicts her rather beautiful features. The painted bust was discovered by archaeologists in the sculptor’s workshop in 1912, and is on display in the Neues Museum in Berlin.
38. Subdue, perhaps : TASE
“To tase” is to use a taser, a stun gun.
39. Melville novel : OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby-Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).
41. Staffers of Apple’s Genius Bar : TECHS
The technical support desk found in Apple Retail Stores is rather inventively called the Genius Bar. The certified support technicians are known as “Geniuses”. The trainees are called GYOs: Grow-Your-Own-Geniuses.
50. Butte-to-Helena dir. : NNE
The city of Butte, Montana has a history that is rooted in mining. Butte was founded as a mining town in the late 1800s. Although mining brought great growth to the area, it also brought environmental problems. Today Bette is home to the country’s largest Superfund cleanup site.
Helena is the capital of the state of Montana, and is known as the Queen City of the Rockies. Helena’s main street has a very colorful name, namely Last Chance Gulch.
52. NFL Network analyst Michael __ : IRVIN
Michael Irvin played football for the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t follow American Football (forgive me!) but did see Irvin on “Dancing with the Stars” on television, and he acquitted himself quite well.
54. Slasher film sequel of 2005 : SAW II
The “Saw” franchise of movies is gruesome in the extreme. I’ve only seen a few minutes of “Saw” footage (accidentally). The stories are about imprisoned victims who are faced with having to mutilate themselves in order to escape. Ugh …
55. Become a member, in Manchester : ENROL
“Enroll” in the US is “enrol” in the UK. I’ll never get the hang of American spelling …
Manchester is the second most populous city in the UK, and is located in the northwest of England. Manchester grew in size dramatically during the Industrial Revolution. Home to a thriving textile industry, Manchester is often referred to as the the world’s first industrialized city.
63. Unit of work : ERG
An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, as there are 10 million ergs in one joule. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.