Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers include circled letters at either end. Those letters at either SIDE spell out types of LIGHT:
- 57A. Bits of extra information … and a hint to this puzzle’s circles : SIDELIGHTS
- 18A. Damning evidence : SMOKING GUN (with SUN at the sides)
- 23A. Angler’s end-of-line item : FISHING LURE (with FIRE at the sides)
- 34A. Birchbark mover : CANOE PADDLE (with CANDLE at the sides)
- 51A. Underground violent-weather refuge : STORM CELLAR (with STAR at the sides)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Flightless South American bird : RHEA
The rhea is a flightless bird native to South America. The rhea takes its name from the Greek titan Rhea, an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.
9. Clay pigeon hurlers : TRAPS
There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:
- Skeet shooting
- Trap shooting
- Sporting clays
14. Cookbook author Rombauer : IRMA
Irma Rombauer was the author of the famous cookbook “The Joy Of Cooking”. Rombauer self-published the book back in 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her family continued to publish privately as demand was high, and then a commercial printing house picked it up in 1936. “The Joy of Cooking” has been in print continuously ever since.
15. Brand at Petco : IAMS
Iams dog food was produced by the animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.
Petco is a chain of retail stores that sells live animals and pet supplies. The Petco logo includes the two company mascots, Red Ruff the dog and Blue Mews the cat.
16. Highest-ranking Boy Scout : EAGLE
The rank of Eagle Scout was introduced by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1911. A candidate for Eagle Scout must have first earned a minimum of 21 merit badges, and demonstrate leadership skills and embrace Scout Spirit. Prior to 1911, the highest rank attainable in the BSA was Wolf Scout.
17. Flutist Herbie or novelist Thomas : MANN
Herbie Mann was a Jewish-American flautist, recognized as perhaps the greatest jazz flautist in the sixties. Mann recorded a best selling single called “Hijack” in 1975, which topped the disco charts for three weeks.
Thomas Mann was a German novelist whose most famous work is probably his novella “Death in Venice”, originally published in German in 1912 as “Der Tod in Venedig”. The story was famously adapted for the big screen in 1971, in a movie starring Dirk Bogarde.
20. Heavy hammer : SLEDGE
A sledgehammer is a big hammer, used to apply a lot of force. The word “sledgehammer” comes from the Anglo Saxon “Slaegan” meaning “to strike violently”. “Slaegan” is also the root of the words “slag”, “slay” and “slog”.
29. Martini’s partner in vermouth : ROSSI
The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams. And yes, the famous cocktail is probably named for Mr. Martini.
31. “The Crying Game” actor Stephen : REA
Stephen Rea is an Irish actor from Belfast. Rea’s most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.
“The Crying Game” is a fascinating film that made quite a splash when it was released in 1992. Although it was set in Ireland and the UK, it didn’t do well in cinemas in either country yet made a lot of money over here in the US. I think the politics of the movie were a bit raw for Irish and UK audiences back then. It’s an unusual plot, blending Irish political issues with some raw sexuality questions. I won’t tell you about the “surprise scene”, just in case you haven’t seen it and want to do so.
32. Sign between Cancer and Virgo : LEO
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.
33. Sunday bench : PEW
A pew is a bench in a church, usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.
34. Birchbark mover : CANOE PADDLE (with CANDLE at the sides)
The bark of birch trees (known as “birchbark”) is a useful material that has been used since prehistoric times as a building, crafting and writing material. Birchbark is readily cut, bent and sewn and resembles cardboard, although unlike cardboard, it is also water-resistant. Birchbark was a popular material with Native Americans, used for making canoes, wigwams, scrolls and maps.
40. Wyo. neighbor : IDA
Idaho has the nickname the Gem State, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state. I’d go for the potatoes over the gems, but that’s probably just me …
41. Musician’s deg. : MFA
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
44. Big strings in the orchestra : CELLI
The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation ‘cello was often used. Nowadays we just drop the apostrophe.
47. TV’s Arthur : BEA
Actress Bea Arthur’s most famous roles were on television, as the lead in the “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude” and as Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls”. Arthur also won a Tony for playing Vera Charles on stage in the original cast of “Mame” in 1966, two years after she played Yente the matchmaker in the original cast of “Fiddler on the Roof”.
48. “24” superagent Jack : BAUER
Jack Bauer is the main character in the television show “24”. Bauer is played by the actor Kiefer Sutherland.
“24” is an action-packed TV show starring Kiefer Sutherland as counter terrorism agent Jack Bauer. The show’s title refers to the structure of the series. Each season has 24 episodes, with each episode representing an hour of real-time action in the story. The collection of 24 episodes builds up to a plot that lasts a full 24 hours.
56. “__ Fideles”: Christmas carol : ADESTE
The lovely Christmas hymn “Adeste Fideles” (entitle “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in English) was written by one John Francis Wade in the 13th century. Well, he wrote the original four verses, with four more verses being added over time. A kind blog reader pointed out to me that the English translation is in fact a little “off”. The term “adeste” best translates from Latin as “be present, attend”, rather that “come”. The verb “come” appears later in the lyrics in “venite adoremus”, meaning “come, let us worship”.
60. Aptly named pope : PIUS
There have been twelve popes named Pius, the latest being Pope Pius XII who led the Roman Catholic Church until his death in 1958.
61. Chihuahua lady friend : AMIGA
Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname “El Estado Grande”. The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. The Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.
66. Snack machine inserts : ONES
The nation’s first president, George Washington, is on the US one-dollar bills produced today. However, when the first one-dollar bill was issued in 1863, it featured a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury.
2. Nutty confection : PRALINE
A praline is a candy made made out of nuts and sugar syrup. The first pralines were made in France in the 17th century for an industrialist named Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, who gave his name to the confection.
3. Many a soap opera character, after a blow to the head : AMNESIAC
The original soap operas were radio dramas back in the fifties. Given the structure of society back then, the daytime broadcasts were aimed at women working in the home as housewives. For some reason the sponsors of those radio shows, and the television shows that followed, were soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. And that’s how the “soap” opera got its name …
4. Lookout’s cry : LAND HO!
The cry of “land ho!” from a sailor means that land has just been spotted. A similar shout is “sail ho!”, another boat has been spotted.
7. Expressive rock genre : EMO
The musical genre of “emo” originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …
10. Sitar music : RAGA
Raga isn’t really a type of music, but has been described as the “tonal framework” in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners). Western rock music with a heavy Indian influence might be called raga rock.
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.
11. Texas A&M team : AGGIES
Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public higher education institute in the state when it accepted its first students in 1876. The full name of the school was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas and its primary mission used to be the education of males in the techniques of farming and military warfare. That’s quite a combination! Because of the agricultural connection, the college’s sports teams use the moniker “Aggies”. Texas A&M is also home to the George Bush Presidential Library.
13. Martial arts instructor : SENSEI
“Sensei” is a Japanese form of address used for figures of authority, from lawyers to martial arts instructors.
19. Like some outlet store mdse. : IRR
Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)
21. Bombay Sapphire, e.g. : GIN
The Star of Bombay is a huge sapphire that was mined in Sri Lanka, with a weight of 182 carats. The gemstone was given as a gift to actress Mary Pickford by her husband Douglas Fairbanks. Pickford left the Star of Bombay in her will to the Smithsonian Institute, where it can be seen today. The British gin called Bombay Sapphire is named for the stone.
24. Clarified butter : GHEE
Ghee is clarified butter used in South Asian cuisines. The “ghee” comes from Sanskrit, and translates as “sprinkled”.
33. High-tech appt. book : PDA
Personal digital assistant (PDA)
37. Podcast comic Carolla : ADAM
Comedian Adam Carolla is perhaps best known as co-creator and co-host (with Jimmy Kimmel) on Comedy Central’s “The Man Show”. That said, he has also been host of the podcast “The Adam Carolla Show” since 2009. Carolla’s show set the record in 2011 for the most-downloaded podcast in the world.
38. Liquid-in-liquid suspension : EMULSION
An “emulsion” is a mixture of two liquids, two liquids that don’t easily mix. Examples are milk (water and fat), mayonnaise (oil and water) and vinaigrette (oil and vinegar). Mixture of such liquids requires the presence of an emulsifier, a substance that stabilizes the emulsion so that separation does not occur. Examples of emulsifiers are egg yolk and mustard.
45. __ Pie: ice cream treat : ESKIMO
An Eskimo Pie is a chocolate-covered ice cream bar. The (delicious) dessert item was created in 1920, and first sold under the name “I-Scream Bar”.
47. Noble Italian house that produced two popes : BORGIA
The Borgias were a Papal family that was very prominent during the Renaissance in Europe. Two of the Borgias became popes, namely Pope Calixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. Pope Alexander VI had several children, including Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Cesare became a cardinal, and was the first cardinal to resign from the post. Lucrezia earned a reputation as a femme fatale, and as such turns up in many artworks, novels and movies.
49. Embattled Syrian city : ALEPPO
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes it size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging since 2012.
52. Mai __ : TAI
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.
58. Good cholesterol, for short : HDL
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is a compound that is used to transport fats around the body. When HDL is combined with (i.e. is transporting) cholesterol, it is often called “good cholesterol”. This is because HDL seems to remove cholesterol from where it should not be, say on the walls of arteries, and transports it to the liver for reuse or disposal. Important stuff …