Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each comprise two words, words that are often preceded by BABY:
- 55A. Driver’s alert about an infant, and a hint to what can precede both words of 17-, 24-, 34- and 46-Across : BABY ON BOARD
- 17A. Bake sale confections made with root veggies : CARROT CAKES (“baby carrot” & “babycakes”)
- 24A. Shine-minimizing makeup layer : FACE POWDER (“baby face” & “baby powder”)
- 34A. Wireless networking protocol : BLUETOOTH (“baby blue” & “baby tooth”)
- 46A. Pop’s pop : GRANDDADDY (“baby grand” & “baby daddy”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Rodent Templeton in “Charlotte’s Web,” for one : RAT
“Charlotte’s Web” is a children’s novel by author E. B. White. Charlotte is a barn spider, who manages to save the life of a pig named Wilbur. Wilbur is a pet pig, owned by the farmer’s daughter, Fern Arable. The story also includes a gluttonous rat named Templeton who provides some light and comical moments.
14. Flightless bird : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …
15. Memorable Greek shipping magnate : ONASSIS
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.
17. Bake sale confections made with root veggies : CARROT CAKES (“baby carrot” & “babycakes”)
Cooks started using carrots in cakes in medieval times, as carrots contain more sugar than any other vegetable other than sugar beet. Carrot cake really only became widely available in the US in the sixties, which I find surprising given how ubiquitous the confection is today …
“Babycakes” is an informal term meaning “sweetheart”.
20. Chance for a hit : AT BAT
That would be baseball.
21. Asia’s __ Darya river : AMU
The Amu Darya is a major river in Central Asia that empties into the Aral Sea. It is also called the Oxus or Amu River.
22. Cornstarch brand in a yellow-and-blue container : ARGO
Argo brand cornstarch first hit the store shelves in 1892.
34. Wireless networking protocol : BLUETOOTH (“baby blue” & “baby tooth”)
Bluetooth is a standard for wireless technology that was introduced by Swedish telecom vendor Ericsson in 1994. The name was chosen in honor of Harald Bluetooth, a medieval King of Denmark and Norway. Harald is said to have earned his name because of his love of blueberries, which stained his teeth. Harald was said to have a gift for convincing diverse factions to talk to one another, so Ericsson’s communication protocol was given Harald’s name.
36. Degenerate, like Agnew’s snobs : EFFETE
Vice President Spiro Agnew railed against those protesting the Vietnam War in 1969, making particular reference to the youth of the country. In one speech he stated, “A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” He later said, “(Student war protesters) have never done a productive thing in their lives … and … They take their tactics from Fidel Castro and their money from daddy.”
39. Apt name for a Dalmatian : SPOT
The Dalmatian breed of dog originated in Dalmatia, in the Republic of Croatia. Here in the US, Dalmatians are known as “firehouse dogs”. This association dates back to the use of Dalmatians in firehouses to guard the valuable horses that pulled the fire engines.
40. Mil. academy : OCS
Officer Candidate School (OCS)
43. Black, in Bordeaux : NOIRE
Bordeaux is perhaps the wine-production capital of the world. Wine has been produced in the area since the eighth century. Bordeaux has an administrative history too. During WWII, the French government relocated from Paris to the port city of Bordeaux when it became clear that Paris was soon to fall to the Germans. After the German’s took France, the capital was famously moved to Vichy.
44. Like the flame at Arlington National Cemetery : ETERNAL
After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he was interred in Arlington National Cemetery, as was his right as a WWII veteran. It was Jacqueline Kennedy, the president’s wife, who suggested that the grave be marked with an eternal flame. Cemetery officials honored that request, using a Hawaiian torch. In the three years following President Kennedy’s death, the gravesite attracted 16 million visitors. Cemetery officials, in consultation with the Kennedy family, decided to construct a more stable flame in a surroundings that was more suitable for the volume of visitors. The current gravesite, complete with eternal flame, took two years to construct. The president’s remains were secretly moved and re-interred in a private ceremony in 1967, attended by President Kennedy’s wife, two brothers and President Lyndon Johnson.
46. Pop’s pop : GRANDDADDY (“baby grand” & “baby daddy”)
A grand piano is one with the frame supported horizontally on three legs. An upright piano has the frame and strings running vertically. Grand pianos come in many sizes. For example, the length of a concert grand is about 9 feet, a parlor grand is about 7 feet, and a baby grand is about 5 feet.
51. Painter Magritte : RENE
Belgian artist René Magritte was a surrealist. His most recognized work maybe is “The Son of Man”, a painting he created as a self-portrait. It is the work that shows a man in a bowler hat with his face covered by an apple. The image features prominently in the great movie, the 1999 remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair”.
52. Managed care gp. : HMO
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
54. “Fear the Walking Dead” network : AMC
“Fear the Walking Dead” is a horror TV series, a prequel to the sister show “The Walking Dead”. There are lots of zombies. I don’t do zombies …
58. Peace symbol : VEE
One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V for victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.
59. Central Texas city : ABILENE
Abilene is a city in Texas located about 150 miles west of Fort Worth. The city originated at stop on the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881, a place where cattlemen could load up stock for transportation. It was named for Abilene, Kansas, which was the endpoint for the Chisholm Trail at that time.
60. Bestow, to Burns : GIE
Gie is a variant of “give” used sometimes by Scots, and maybe even by poet Robert Burns.
Scottish poet Robbie Burns is today very much associated with the national dish known as haggis, largely because of his poem “Address to a Haggis”. The poem is recited at what is known as a Burns supper, which is held annually to celebrate the poet’s life. The last lines of “Address to a Haggis” are:
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis
which can be written as:
Old Scotland wants no watery stuff,
That splashes in small wooden dishes;
But if you wish her grateful prayer,
Give her [Scotland] a Haggis!
61. Chemical suffix with benz- : -ENE
Benzene is a remarkable chemical compound, from a molecular standpoint anyway. It is made up of six carbon atoms arranged in a ring, with one hydrogen atom attached to each carbon. Benzene is a significant component of gasoline, and is also very carcinogenic.
62. Cut at an angle : MITERED
A miter joint is one in which two pieces of wood are joined at ninety degrees, with the ends of each individual piece of wood cut at 45 degrees. The four joints in the corners of a picture frame are often miter joints.
63. Always, to Poe : E’ER
Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 39 years of age.
6. Tic-toe filler : TAC
When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.
7. Father of Jacob and Esau : ISAAC
According to the Hebrew Bible, Isaac was the second son of Abraham, born to his wife Sarah when she was beyond her childbearing years and when Abraham was 100 years old. Isaac himself lived until he was 180 years old. When Isaac was just a youth, Abraham was tested by Yahweh (God) and told to build an altar on which he was to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute an angel appeared and stopped Abraham, telling him to sacrifice a ram instead.
18. Part of APR : RATE
Annual percentage rate (APR)
24. Bach work : FUGUE
A fugue is similar to a round in that it is a piece written for two or more voices, with themes that are introduced and taken up by different voices at different pitches. The most famous composer of fugues has to be Bach.
26. Prince Siegfried’s beloved, in “Swan Lake” : ODETTE
“Swan Lake” is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Swan Lake” tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette’s “evil twin”. Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina. Odette’s love interest is Prince Siegfried, the only character in the ballet to appear in all four acts.
28. Like pool tables : FELTED
Felt is used for the playing surface of a pool table.
The various types of textile known as felt are all made by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together.
33. Swag : BOOTY
“Booty”, meaning plunder or profit, is derived from the Old French word “butin” which has the same meaning.
“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. Swag is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.
34. Suisse capital : BERNE
Bern (sometimes “Berne”, especially in French) 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.
“Suisse” is the French word for “Swiss”.
35. Newspaper page with views : OP-ED
“Op-Ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-Eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.
41. Dieter’s unit : CALORIE
I wish we’d stop using the term “calorie”, because it is so confusing. In terms of physics, a calorie is amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree celsius (at one atmosphere of pressure). The so called “food calorie” is one thousand times as large, as is defined in terms of kilograms instead of grams. In attempts to differentiate between these two definitions, the former is sometimes referred to as the “small calorie” and is given the symbol “cal”. The latter is referred to as the “large calorie” and given the symbol “Cal”, with a capital C. If only we’d use the SI system of units, we’d be think in just joules, instead of large and small and food calories.
45. Man who “wore a diamond,” in “Copacabana” : RICO
The Copacabana of song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Frank Sinatra song “Meet Me at the Copa”). The Copa opened in 1940 and is still going today although it is struggling. The club had to move due to impending construction and is now “sharing” a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.
His name was Rico
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit to far
Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?
47. Abu __ : DHABI
Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.
48. Realm of influence : AMBIT
An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.
49. Holmes’ creator : DOYLE
According to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his Sherlock Holmes character was based on a Dr. Joseph Bell for whom Doyle worked in Edinburgh. That said, Bell actually wrote a letter to Doyle in which he said “you are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it”.
56. “__ the land of the free … ” : O’ER
The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written first as a poem by Francis Scott Key, inspired by the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry that he witnessed during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called “The Anacreontic Song”, with the Anacreontic Society being a men’s club in London.
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!