Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with something that is HIGH:
- 58A. Honorable … and like the starts of 17-, 23-, 37- and 47-Across : HIGH-MINDED
- 17A. What the star gets on a marquee : TOP BILLING
- 23A. Dejected : CRESTFALLEN
- 37A. Period of optimal accomplishment : PEAK PERFORMANCE
- 47A. Meeting of world leaders : SUMMIT TALKS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Former Iranian ruler : SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.
17. What the star gets on a marquee : TOP BILLING
A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.
20. “__ Haw” : HEE
The variety show “Hee Haw” aired on CBS from 1969-1971, and then had a 20-year run in syndication. The show was built around country music, although the format was inspired by “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In”.
21. Contemptuous manner, in slang : ‘TUDE
22. “Pet” annoyance : PEEVE
The phrase “pet peeve”, meaning “thing that provokes one most”, seems to be somewhat ironic. A “peeve” is a source of irritation, and the adjective “pet” means “especially cherished”.
32. Madame of physics : CURIE
Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in 1903 and 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.
41. Bygone jet, briefly : SST
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) was the Concorde, a plane that’s no longer flying. Concorde had that famous “droop nose”. The nose was moved to the horizontal position during flight to create the optimum aerodynamic shape thereby reducing drag. It was lowered during taxi, takeoff and landing, so that the pilot had better visibility. The need for the droop nose was driven largely by the delta-shaped wings. The delta wing necessitates a higher angle of attack at takeoff and landing than conventional wing designs, so the pilot needed the nose lowered so that he or she could see the ground.
44. Song at the Met : ARIA
The Metropolitan Opera (often “the Met”) of New York City is the largest classical music organization in the country, presenting about 220 performances each and every year. Founded in 1880, the Met is renowned for using technology to expand its audiences. Performances have been broadcast live on radio since 1931, and on television since 1977. And since 2006 you can go see a live performance from New York in high definition on the big screen, at a movie theater near you …
45. Like most peanuts : SALTED
I have to say it, but it drives me crazy. Peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes, a plant in the bean and pea family. The flowers of the peanut plant last only one day and then wither. The fertilized ovary develops an elongated “peg” that grows downwards, pushing the ovary down into the soil. The ovary develops underground into a mature peanut pod containing between one and four seeds, which we call “nuts”. But they aren’t nuts. Did I say that already …?
52. Name on rented trailers : U-HAUL
The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.
53. Lane with a nose for news : LOIS
Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. But never mind all that … one has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …
62. Pigmented eye layer : 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.
64. Part of NIMBY : YARD
NIMBY is an acronym, standing for “not in my backyard”. The term is used to describe local opposition to a development in situations when it is generally agreed that the development is needed for the good of society (just “not in my backyard”).
65. Swiss capital : BERN
Bern (sometimes “Berne”) is the capital city of Switzerland. The official language of the city is German, but the language most spoken in Bern is a dialect known as Bernese German.
4. Star of the ball : DEB
“Deb” is short for “debutante”, which translates from French as “female beginner”.
6. Witty Oscar : WILDE
If you didn’t know Oscar Wilde was Irish, you will when you see the name he was given at birth: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde!
7. Astrological Ram : ARIES
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.
8. Maria __ Trapp : VON
The von Trapps portrayed in the musical “The Sound of Music”, was a real family, as is well known. In the musical and film, the eldest daughter is “Liesl”, although in real life her name was Agathe. Agathe came with her family to the US in 1938, and operated a private kindergarten in Baltimore, Maryland for 35 years. Agathe passed away in 2010.
11. Marriott facility : HOTEL
Marriott Hotels developed their initial properties in the fifties. The first to open was the Quality Inn near Washington DC, the first purpose-built airport hotel in the country.
12. Advil competitor : ALEVE
Aleve is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.
Advil is Wyeth’s brand of ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.
13. Macho guys : HE-MEN
A man described as “macho” shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.
22. “The Hunger Games” nation : PANEM
“The Hunger Games” is a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins, the first in a trilogy of titles that also includes “Catching Fire” (2009) and “Mockingjay” (2010). “The Hunger Games” was adapted into a very successful movie released in 2012, with the sequels following soon after. Amazon.com reports more sales of “The Hunger Games” series books than even the “Harry Potter” series.
28. Vet sch. course : ANAT
“Vet” is an abbreviation for “veterinarian”, a professional who treat animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.
32. Zagreb native : CROAT
Zagreb is the capital city of the European Republic of Croatia. Zagreb has been around a long, long time, and dates back to the diocese of Zagreb that was founded at the end of 11th century.
33. N.Y.-based educators’ union : UFT
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is a union representing the majority of teachers in the public schools of New York City.
34. Insect in a dusk swarm : GNAT
Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and to vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.
35. Realtor’s lot unit : ACRE
“Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as the trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.
45. Less than 1%? : SKIM
The fatty component of milk is known as butterfat (sometime “milkfat”). To be labeled “whole” milk, the butterfat content must be at least 3.25%. Lowfat milk is defined as milk containing 0.5-2% fat, with levels of 1% and 2% commonly found on grocery store shelves. Skim milk must contain less than 0.5% fat, and typically contains 0.1%.
48. “Star Trek” lieutenant : UHURA
Lt. Nyota Uhura is the communications officer in the original “Star Trek” television series, played by Nichelle Nichols. The role is significant in that Uhura was one of the first African American characters to figure front and center in US television. In a 1968 episode, Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Uhura kiss, the first inter-racial kiss to be broadcast in the US. Apparently the scene was meant to be shot twice, with and without the kiss, so that network executives could later decide which version to air. William Shatner says that he deliberately ran long on the first shoot (with the kiss) and fluffed the hurried second shoot (without the kiss), so that the network would have no choice.
49. Alma __ : MATER
The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. “Alma mater” was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.
50. Rags-to-riches author Horatio : ALGER
Horatio Alger was an American writer of the late nineteenth century. Alger was a prolific writer of novels for young people and creates tales of poor children making it good in the world, achieving the American dream as it were.
51. Lindsay who played Liz in “Liz & Dick” : LOHAN
I think that actress Lindsay Lohan’s big break was in the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap” in 1998. I’ve really only enjoyed one of Lohan’s films though, “Freaky Friday” from 2003 in which she stars alongside the fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis.
“Liz & Dick” is a 2012 TV movie about the up-and-down relationship of movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. “Liz” Taylor is played Lindsay Lohan, and “Dick” Taylor by Grant Bowler. I haven’t seen this one, but I’d imagine there’s a great story to be told. But the critics, they didn’t like it much …
55. Mature eft : NEWT
Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.
58. O’Hare, for United Airlines : HUB
O’Hare International is the fourth busiest airport in the world. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.
60. Org. promoting hunter safety : NRA
National Rifle Association (NRA)