Edited by: Rich Norris
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By taking the first syllable from each of today’s themed answers we come up the “infantile vocalization” GOO GOO GA GA:
- 62A. Infantile vocalizations, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 25-, 37- and 50-Across : BABY TALK
- 17A. Silly sort : GOOFBALL
- 25A. Zeros : GOOSE EGGS
- 37A. Anniversary celebration at the Met, say : GALA PERFORMANCE
- 50A. Disputed Mideast territory : GAZA STRIP
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Baja vacation spot : CABO
Cabo San Lucas is a major tourist destination at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. “Cabo” is sometimes referred to as the “Fort Lauderdale of Mexico”.
8. Neck mark from necking : HICKEY
The slang term “hickey” is used for a red mark left on the skin after a passionate kiss.
The term “necking” applies to kissing and caressing. I like what Groucho Marx had to say on the subject: “Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.”
14. Razor name : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.
15. Suffix with pay : -OLA
“Payola” is the illegal practice of paying radio stations or disk jockeys to repeatedly play a particular piece of music.
16. Taking the place (of) : IN LIEU
As one might perhaps imagine, “in lieu” comes into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum”, also meaning “place”. So, “in lieu” means “in place of”.
19. Polish port where Solidarity was founded : GDANSK
Gdańsk is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland and is the country’s biggest seaport. Gdańsk was where the European Solidarity movement was born, with Lech Wałęsa in the leadership position. Wałęsa was an electrician working in the Gdańsk shipyards.
20. Music producer Brian : ENO
Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.
21. Dueling sword : EPEE
The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, both of which are also thrusting weapons. However, the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.
22. “Hannah and __ Sisters”: Woody Allen film : HER
“Hannah and Her Sisters” is a 1986 comedy-drama film that was written and directed by Woody Allen. Hannah is played by Mia Farrow, and Hannah’s two sisters are played by Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest.
23. Formal pronouncements : DICTA
“Dictum” (plural “dicta”) is a legal term describing a statement by a court as part of a judgment.
34. The Judds, e.g. : DUO
The Judds were a country music singing duo made up of Naomi Judd and her daughter Wynonna.
35. Migration formation : VEE
Apparently, geese fly in a V-formation for a couple of reasons. One is that it makes for efficient flight and conserves energy. The leading bird gets no advantage, but every following bird gets to “slipstream” a little. It has been noted that the lead bird drops to the back of the formation when he/she gets fatigued. It’s also thought that the flock can stick together more easily when in formation, so it is more difficult to lose someone along the way.
37. Anniversary celebration at the Met, say : GALA PERFORMANCE
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 …
42. Numbered musical piece : OPUS
The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”.
44. Slowing, on a music score: Abbr. : RIT
Rit. (or sometimes ritard.) is the abbreviation for ritardando, a musical direction to slow down the tempo.
47. Spitball need : SALIVA
A “spitball” is an illegal pitch in baseball in which saliva, petroleum jelly or some other material has been applied to one side of the ball. The foreign substance makes a subtle change to the wind resistance and weight of that side of the ball, causing it to move atypically during a pitch.
50. Disputed Mideast territory : GAZA STRIP
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the boundaries of the strip of land on the Mediterranean around Gaza were fixed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. The boundaries were specifically defined but were not to be recognized as an international border. From 1948, the Gaza Strip was occupied and administered by Egypt, until 1967 when Israel took over occupation following the Six-Day War. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which handed over administration to the Palestinian Authority, but with Israel retaining control of the Gaza Strip’s airspace, some land borders and its territorial waters. The intent was to further this agreement, but discussions between the parties broke down. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
53. R&B singer Baker : ANITA
Anita Baker is an R&B and soul singer who was raised in Detroit, Michigan. Baker’s most successful song is the Grammy-winning “Sweet Love” released in 1986.
55. “That’s all __ wrote” : SHE
No one seems to be very certain of the origin of the phrase “that’s all she wrote”. One popular story though is that it stems from the unfortunate “Dear John” letters that some soldiers received during WWII.
56. Fermented honey drink : MEAD
Mead is a lovely drink, made from fermented honey and water.
58. The USA’s 50 : STS
The USA has 50 states (sts.).
59. Nissan model : SENTRA
The Nissan Sentra is sold as the Nissan Sunny back in Japan.
65. Luau instrument : UKE
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
66. Curved molding : OGEE
An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).
67. Fort Bragg mil. branch : US ARMY
Fort Bragg in North Carolina is a very large Army installation that covers over 250 square miles. The base is named for General Braxton Bragg, the native North Carolinian who commanded the Confederate Army forces during the Civil War.
68. Boston hrs. : EST
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
69. Dandelion, e.g. : WEED
The name “dandelion” comes from the French “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth”. The name is a reference to the coarse, tooth-like edges of a dandelion’s leaves.
4. Doofus : OAF
“Doofus” (also “dufus”) is student slang that has been around since the sixties. Apparently the word is a variant of the equally unattractive term “doo-doo”.
5. Ivory in the tub : SOAP
Ivory soap is one of Procter & Gamble’s oldest products, introduced way back in 1879. Ivory soap is noted for its “purity” and also because of its property of floating in water. Despite urban myths to the contrary, the property of floating in water was developed deliberately by a chemist at the time Ivory was being formulated. The soap floats because the ingredients are mixed longer than necessary for homogenization, which introduces more air into the product.
7. Prefix with -lithic : PALEO-
The Paleolithic Age is a period of human history lasting from about 2.6 million to about 10,000 years ago. The Paleolithic Age is noted as the time when humans started using stone tools. The word “Paleolithic” comes from the Greek “palaios” meaning “old” and “lithos” meaning “stone”, so the term really translates as “Old Stone Age”.
8. Bogart film set in a California range : HIGH SIERRA
High Sierra is a 1941 movie based on a novel by W.R. Burnett. It’s a gangster piece, starring Humphrey Bogart as “Mad Dog” Roy Earle, a bad guy with a heart. Bogie’s love interest is played by the very talented Ida Lupino.
10. Irish county bordering Limerick : CLARE
One of my favorite counties in Ireland is Clare, home of the Burren, a beautiful, desolate landscape, as well as the world-famous Cliffs of Moher that greet the Atlantic Ocean.
26. Layered cookie : OREO
How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.
28. Avocado dip, for short : GUAC
Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes, and is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.
29. Eyelid sore : STYE
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
35. Ex-GIs’ gp. : VFW
The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization (VFW) is the largest association in the country of US combat veterans.
36. Lustrous fabric : SATIN
The material known as “satin” takes its name from “Zayton”, the medieval Arabic name for the Chinese port city of Quanzhou. Quanzhou was used for the export of large amounts of silk to Europe.
38. Samoan capital : APIA
Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely. Apia is also known as the home of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, for the last four years of his life.
39. Skating leap : LUTZ
In figure skating, a Lutz is a toe-pick-assisted jump that one starts skating backwards and ends skating backwards (there’s more to it that I don’t really understand!). The maneuver is named after Alois Lutz, an Austrian skater who first performed it in competition way back in 1913. Lutz wowed the crowd with a single jump, and today both men and women are landing triple Lutz jumps. No one has landed a clean quadruple Lutz in competition.
46. Traditional Hindu retreat : ASHRAM
“Ashram” is a Hindu term that traditionally describes a place of spiritual retreat, one that is typically located in a remote location conducive to spiritual instruction and meditation.
49. Postwar British prime minister : ATTLEE
Clement Attlee served as leader of Britain’s Labour Party and as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government during the war years under the leadership of Winston Churchill, a Conservative. Attlee swept into power right after WWII in a landslide victory over Churchill and was responsible for major changes not only in Britain but around the waning British Empire. It was under Attlee that former British colonies like India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Jordan became independent. Also, the Palestine Mandate was terminated in 1948, while he was in office, with the state of Israel being declared the very next day.
51. Autumn blossom : ASTER
Apparently, most aster species and cultivars bloom relatively late in the year, usually in the fall. The name “aster” comes into English via Latin from the Greek word “astéri” meaning “star”, a reference to the arrangement of the petals of the flower.
57. Help with a heist : ABET
The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.
59. Actor Erwin : STU
Stu Erwin played the title role of Joe Palooka in the 1934 movie “Palooka”, but the film’s star was the great Jimmy Durante. In fact, the movie was released in the UK as “The Great Schnozzle”.
61. FDR agency : NRA
The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.