Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answer each comprise two words, starting the letters L, N (which sounds like “ELLEN”):
- 62A. Popular afternoon talk show, familiarly, and a homophonic hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers : ELLEN
- 16A. Shellfish dish in a cream sauce : LOBSTER NEWBERG
- 24A. Drivers’ ID figures : LICENSE NUMBERS
- 41A. Chemical used for quick freezing : LIQUID NITROGEN
- 54A. The Times in Los Angeles, e.g. : LOCAL NEWSPAPER
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Pilgrim to Mecca : HAJJI
A Haji (also “Hajji”) is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name “haj” or “hajj”.
10. Bay Area airport letters : SFO
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves as the main base of operations for Virgin America (recently sold to Alaska Airlines), and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines.
15. Head, slangily : NOB
The slang term “nob” has been used for “head” for over 300 years, and is a variant of “knob”.
16. Shellfish dish in a cream sauce : LOBSTER NEWBERG
Lobster Newberg is a rich dish made from lobster with butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs and Cayenne pepper. The dish was created by one Ben Wenberg for Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City in 1876, and was listed on the menu as Lobster à la Wenberg. Wenberg and the restaurant owner had a falling out, and so the restaurant owner renamed the dish to Lobster à la Newberg.
19. WWII spy gp. : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
21. Poetic tribute : ELEGY
Perhaps the most famous elegy in the English language is that written by Thomas Gray, completed in 1750. His “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is the source of many oft-quoted phrases, including:
- Celestial fire
- Far from the Madding Crowd
- Kindred spirit
29. Genetic material : DNA
I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relations.
31. Swiss currency : FRANC
Not only is the Swiss Franc legal tender in Switzerland, it is also the money used in Liechtenstein as well as the Italian exclave of Campione d’Italia.
33. Clotheshorse : FOP
“Clotheshorse” is an informal term used for a person who is into dressing fashionably. Not a term ever used to describe me, I must say …
36. “My gal” of song : SAL
“My Gal Sal” is a song written by composer Paul Dresser. “My Gal Sal” is also the name of the movie recounting Dresser’s life made in 1942. It stars Victor Mature as Dresser, and Rita Hayworth as Sally “Sal” Elliott.
40. Irritant “in your side” : THORN
A thorn in the side (often “thorn in the flesh”) is an idiom describing an irritant. The phrase comes from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians in the Christian Bible:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
48. Ark builder : NOAH
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.
51. Texter’s “Wow!” : OMG
OMG is text-speak for Oh My Gosh! Oh My Goodness! or any other G words you might think of …
54. The Times in Los Angeles, e.g. : LOCAL NEWSPAPER
The “Los Angeles Times” newspaper started out life in 1881 as the “Los Angeles Daily Times”. The paper has a turbulent history, especially in the early 1900s when management and unions were at loggerheads. In 1910, two union members bombed the “Los Angeles Times” building causing a fire that killed 21 newspaper employees.
58. Moon goddess : LUNA
“Luna” is the Latin word for “moon”, and is the name given to the Roman moon goddess. The Greek equivalent of Luna was Selene. Luna had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome but it was destroyed during the Great Fire that raged during the reign of Nero.
59. Eastern guru : SWAMI
A swami is a religious teacher in the Hindu tradition. The word “swami” can also mean “husband” in the Bengali and Malay languages.
60. Part of wpm: Abbr. : WDS
Words per minute (WPM)
61. Capp of comics : ANDY
“Andy Capp” is a comic strip from Britain that is syndicated internationally. The strip was created by Reg Smythe in 1957 and is still going strong, despite the fact that Smythe passed away in 1998. Andy Capp and his wife Florrie (also “Flo”) are working class characters who live in the northeast of England. Andy is unemployed and Flo works as a charwoman. “Andy Capp” was my favorite comic strip growing up …
62. Popular afternoon talk show, familiarly, and a homophonic hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers : ELLEN
Ellen DeGeneres is a very, very successful TV personality, having parlayed her career in stand-up comedy into lucrative gigs as an actress and talk show host. Back in 1997 DeGeneres chose the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to announce that she was a lesbian. Her character on “The Ellen Show” also came out as a lesbian in a scene with her therapist, who was played by Oprah Winfrey. Nice twist!
1. Saintly glow : HALO
The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo”, used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.
3. Steve who co-founded Apple : JOBS
Apple Computers was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The company incorporated the following year, but without Wayne. He sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak, for $800 …
7. Tool needed at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry : WAND
In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by the four most brilliant witches and wizards of their time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of the founders lent their name to a House in the school, i.e. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
9. Apple computer discontinued in 2006 : POWER MAC
Apple made a line of workstation personal computers called Power Macintosh (and then simply “Power Mac”). The line was introduced in 1994 and last produced in 2006.
12. MDs that bring out the kid in you? : OB/GYNS
Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN)
23. __ bone (no laughing matter, really) : FUNNY
The ulnar nerve runs alongside the ulna (one of the bones in the lower arm). The ulnar nerve is the largest unprotected (not surrounded by muscle or bone) nerve in the human body. The nerve can be touched under the skin at the outside of the elbow. Striking the nerve at this point causes and an electric-type shock, known as hitting one’s “funny bone” or “crazy bone”.
24. ChapStick targets : LIPS
ChapStick is a brand name of lip balm owned by Pfizer, although it is so popular that the term tends to be used generically. ChapStick was invented way back in the 1880s by a Dr. Charles Browne Fleet in Lynchburg, Virginia.
27. Minn. neighbor : NDAK
North Dakota’s state capital is Bismarck, and the largest city is Fargo. The list of state nicknames includes the Peace Garden State, the Roughrider State and the Flickertail State.
31. “Slush” moneys : FUNDS
A “slush fund” is a sum of money that is held in reserve, or in the case of illicit dealings, that is used for paying bribes.
35. State founder William : PENN
William Penn was given a huge land grant in America by King Charles II, because the king owed Penn’s father a lot of money. Penn took up residence on this side of the Atlantic and called his new holding “New Wales”. He later changed this name to “Sylvania” (the Latin for “forest”) and finally to “Pennsylvania”.
37. Exacta relative : QUINELLA
The bet called a “quinella” is one in which the better must name the first two finishers, but not necessarily in the right order. The term comes from the French word “quine”, the word that also gave us the name of the casino game called Keno.
To win a bet called an exacta (also called a “perfecta”), the person betting must name the horses that finish first and second, and in the exact order. The related bet called the trifecta requires naming of the first, second and third-place finishers in the right order.
44. __ Major: Big Dipper constellation : URSA
The constellation called Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, the “plough”.
46. Mattel specialty : TOYS
Mattel is the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Mattel was founded by Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler in 1945, and they chose the company name by combining “Matt” with “El-liot” giving “Matt-el”.
51. October birthstone : OPAL
Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:
- January: Garnet
- February: Amethyst
- March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
- April: Diamond
- May: Emerald
- June: Pearl or Moonstone
- July: Ruby
- August: Sardonyx or Peridot
- September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
- October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
- November: Topaz or Citrine
- December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)
52. Viral internet phenomenon : MEME
A “meme” (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.