Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each contain the letter string H-O-R-S-E, but in a CRAZY arrangement, all mixed up:
- 60A. Lakota chief at Little Bighorn, and what’s literally found in this puzzle’s circles : CRAZY HORSE
- 17A. Golf stroke played from sand : BUNKER SHOT
- 40A. Tire-inflating aid : AIR HOSE
- 11D. “Wish me luck!” : HERE’S HOPING!
- 25D. Historic educational center of Paris’ Latin Quarter : THE SORBONNE
Bill’s errors: 2
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Foot-in-mouth incident : GAFFE
Our word “gaffe” , meaning a social blunder, comes from the French “gaffe” meaning “clumsy remark”, although it originally was the word for “boat hook”. The exact connection between a boat hook and a blunder seems to be unclear.
6. Blue ox of folklore : BABE
Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth, a skilled lumberjack. Bunyan had a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.
14. Indian or Iranian : ASIAN
The vast Asian country called India takes its name from the Indus River. The name “Indus” in turn comes from the Sanskrit “Sindhu” that can be translated as “a body of trembling water”. India is the second-most populous country in the world (after China), and the most populous democracy.
Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was called Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.
16. Helen of Troy’s mother : LEDA
In Greek mythology, Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus when he took the form of a swan. Leda produced two eggs from the union. One egg hatched into the beautiful Helen, later to be known as Helen of Troy and over whom was fought the Trojan War. The other egg hatched into the twins Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux had different fathers according to the myth. Pollux was the son of Zeus and was immortal, while Castor was the son of Leda’s earthly husband, and so he was a mortal. In the world of the arts, William Butler Yeats wrote a famous sonnet called “Leda and the Swan” in 1924, and Peter Paul Rubens made a copy of a now-lost painting called “Leda and the Swan” by Michelangelo.
According to Greek mythology, Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. When Helen reached the age of marriage, she had many suitors as she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Menelaus was chosen as her husband, and he took her back to his home of Sparta. Paris, a Trojan prince, seduced Helen, as she eloped with him and travelled to Troy. This event sparked the Trojan War that waged between the city of Troy and Greece. Because of this war, Helen was said to have “the face that launched a thousand ships”. And because of this phrase, it has been suggested, probably by author Isaac Asimov, that the amount of beauty needed launch a single ship is one “millihelen”.
17. Golf stroke played from sand : BUNKER SHOT
Sand traps on a golf course are referred to as “bunkers” on the other side of the Atlantic.
21. Homes of blue-plate specials : DINERS
In American diners and cafes, a “blue-plate special” is a low-priced meal, one that is often offered for just that day. The exact origin of the phrase seems unclear. One suggestion is that it is a reference to divided dinner plates with separate sections for each element of the dish (similar to a contemporary frozen dinner tray). Such plates were common during the Depression, and were often completely blue in color, or decorated with a blue willow pattern.
23. “The Simpsons” creator Groening : MATT
Matt Groening is a cartoonist. He created two successful animated shows for television, namely “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” (neither of which I understand!).
26. Apple mobile platform : IOS
iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system, previously known as iPhone OS.
31. Jerry of “Law & Order” : ORBACH
Jerry Orbach was an American actor, noted for playing one of the lead detectives in “Law & Order” on television. Orbach also provided the voice for the character Lumière in the Disney feature “Beauty and the Beast”, and had an important role in the great movie “Dirty Dancing” playing Dr. Jake Houseman, Baby’s father.
36. Canadian Thanksgiving mo. : OCT
The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday predates the related celebration in the US. The first Canadian Thanksgiving was held in 1578 by an explorer from England named Martin Frobisher. Frobisher was giving thanks for his safe arrival in the New World, and made the observance in the month of October as this was a tradition in England. All this happened 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
42. Part of rpm : PER
Revolutions per minute (rpm)
43. John of England : LOO
It has been suggested that the British term “loo” comes from Waterloo (water-closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo” in which the pot was called the loo!
Sir John Harington was an author and a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, Harington is perhaps best remembered as the inventor of the flush toilet. Our slang term “john”, meaning “toilet”, is thought to be a reference to John Harington.
50. Torah teacher : RABBI
The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching”, I am told.
52. Napoleon or Nero: Abbr. : EMP
Napoleon Bonaparte was serving as an artillery officer when the French revolution started in 1789. He rose through the ranks of the army quite quickly and notably led a successful campaign in Egypt and Syria in 1798 that was sponsored by the Directoire that ruled France after the Revolution. On his return to France, Napoleon staged a coup, overthrowing the Directoire and establishing himself as First Consul of the Republic in 1799. In 1804, he went further by declaring himself the first Emperor of the French as Napoleon I.
54. Rainbow flag letters : LGBT
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
The best-known rainbow flag is the one representing gay pride. Such usage of the rainbow flag was popularized in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. The varying colors of the flag represent the diversity of the gay community.
60. Lakota chief at Little Bighorn, and what’s literally found in this puzzle’s circles : CRAZY HORSE
Crazy Horse’s Lakota name translates literally into English as “His Horse is Crazy or Spirited”. Crazy Horse was one of the tribal war party leaders at the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Crazy Horse surrendered to the US Army in 1877. He was fatally stabbed while in custody, apparently trying to escape after having surrendered. The circumstances surrounding his death are still shrouded in controversy.
68. Longtime NBC newsman Roger : O’NEIL
Roger O’Neil is a news reporter who has worked for NBC for over 30 years.
69. Classic Jaguars : XKES
Auto manufacturer Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).
70. Recent returnees to Los Angeles : RAMS
The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.
2. Sun Devils sch. : ASU
Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.
5. Part of DOE: Abbr. : ENER
The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons. The official DOE seal features symbols denoting five sources of energy: the sun, an atom, an oil derrick, a windmill and a dynamo.
6. Low voice : BASSO
The bass is the lowest male singing voice. A man with such a voice might be called a “basso” (plural “bassi”).
9. Abbr. on a cornerstone : ESTD
13. Cultivated violet : PANSY
The garden flower called the pansy takes its name from the French word “pensée” meaning “thought”. This name was chosen as the flower was often used as a symbol of remembrance.
18. Roach spray brand : RAID
Raid insecticide has been killing bugs since 1956.
The insect known as a cockroach is closely related to the termite. Although generally considered a pest, the lowly cockroach has at least one claim to fame. A cockroach named Nadezhda was sent into space in 2007 by Russian scientists, where it became the first terrestrial creature to give birth in space. Nadezhda bore 33 cockroaches.
23. City in northern Iraq : MOSUL
Mosul is located in northern Iraq and is the third largest city in the country, after Baghdad and Basra.
24. Dried chili pepper : ANCHO
An “ancho” is a dried poblano pepper. The poblano is a relatively mild chili.
25. Historic educational center of Paris’ Latin Quarter : THE SORBONNE
The Sorbonne is the name usually used for the old University of Paris, and some of the institutions that have succeeded it. The institution was named for French theologian Robert de Sorbonne who founded the original Collège de Sorbonne in 1257. That’s quite a while ago …
32. Vintage cars named with the initials of their company’s founder : REOS
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.
35. River of Florence : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.
37. Fanzine figure : CELEB
A fanzine (also “zine”) is a fan publication with a very limited circulation, dealing with a very specific subject matter. Fanzines are usually desktop published and distributed electronically or as photocopies.
38. Romantic rendezvous : TRYST
In its most general sense, a “tryst” is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting. Further, a tryst taking place at lunchtime is sometimes referred to as a “nooner”.
41. Org. with a five-ring logo : IOC
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894, and has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The symbol of the Olympic Games consists of five interlocking rings, with each ring representing one of the five continents involved in the Olympics. The five continents are Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and America (North and South combined). The symbol was designed in 1912, adopted in 1914, and introduced at the 1920 Games.
58. Chain famous for breakfasts : IHOP
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!
61. Genetic letters : RNA
The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein “generators” called ribosomes.
63. Belfast-born 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.
64. McCartney’s title : SIR
The ex-Beatles bass player’s full name is Sir James Paul McCartney. “Paul” was knighted for his services to music in 1997. The Rolling Stones lead singer’s full name is Sir Michael Philip Jagger. “Mick” was knighted for his services to popular music in 2003.
65. Golf Hall of Famer Ernie : ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).