Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s three themed answers remind us of the children’s game DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE. The first and second start with adjectives often describing DUCKS, and the third with an adjective often describing a GOOSE:
- 56A. Kids’ game hinted at by the starts of 20-, 36-, and 42-Across : DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE
- 20A. Longtime navigation method : DEAD RECKONING (giving “dead duck”)
- 36A. Rabbit’s foot, perhaps : LUCKY CHARM (giving “lucky duck”)
- 42A. Toy sold in eggs : SILLY PUTTY (giving “silly goose”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
15. “Once __ a midnight dreary … ” : UPON
The first verse of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door
18. Nevada gambling city : RENO
The city of Reno’s economy took off when open gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Within a short time, a syndicate had built the Bank Club in Reno, which was the largest casino in the world at the time.
20. Longtime navigation method : DEAD RECKONING (giving “dead duck”)
When navigating nowadays, one determines one’s position quite readily by using a global positioning system (GPS). Absent a GPS, one might determine one’s current location with reference to a known position earlier in the voyage or journey. An adjustment to the known historical location can be made using the time spent traveling from that location, knowing the direction(s) traveled and the speed(s) of travel. This process of updating a vessel’s position using only estimated speed over elapsed time and course is known as dead reckoning navigation.
A “dead duck” is something beyond redemption.
23. List of mistakes : ERRATA
“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to mean a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.
25. Med. condition with repetitive behavior : OCD
Apparently obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.
33. Rascals : CADS
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.
41. Body part often sculpted : TORSO
“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.
42. Toy sold in eggs : SILLY PUTTY (giving “silly goose”)
Silly Putty is a silicone polymer that is marketed as a toy. It is a remarkable material that can flow like a liquid and can also bounce. Silly Putty was one of those accidental creations, an outcome of research during WWII in search of substitutes for rubber. The substitution became urgent as Japan invaded rubber-producing countries all around the Pacific Rim.
46. Et __ : CETERA
The Latin phrase “et cetera” translates as “and other things”. The term is usually abbreviated to “etc.”
49. First st., alphabetically : ALA
The first four US states in an alphabetical list all start with the letter A: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas. The last four states in an alphabetical list all start with the letter W: Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
56. Kids’ game hinted at by the starts of 20-, 36-, and 42-Across : DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE
“Duck, Duck, Goose” is a kid’s game, and not one that I’ve heard of outside of crosswords to be honest …
60. Reeves who played “Ted” in “Bill & Ted” films : KEANU
Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor whose most celebrated roles were a metalhead in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), a cop in “Speed” (1994) and the protagonist Neo in “The Matrix” series of films. Although Reeves is a Canadian national, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves has some Hawaiian descent, and the name “Keanu” is Hawaiian for “the coldness”.
64. Clark’s exploring partner : LEWIS
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were soldiers in the US Army. Lewis was a personal aide to President Thomas Jefferson, even residing in the Presidential Mansion. This exposure contributed to his selection as leader of the famous expedition. William Clark was actually Lewis’s boss for a while before Clark retired. Lewis asked Clark to come out of retirement to accompany him on his three-year exploration.
65. Author Rice : ANNE
Anne Rice is an American author of erotic and Gothic novels. Rice was born Howard Allen O’Brien (no wonder she changed her name!). Her famous series of novels “The Vampire Chronicles” centers on her character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century. One of the stories, “Interview with the Vampire”, was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and features Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others in a star-studded cast. Not my kind of movie though, as I don’t do vampires …
67. “The Count of __ Cristo” : MONTE
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is an 1844 novel by the French author Alexandre Dumas. Dumas’ other famous title is “The Three Musketeers”.
68. Charlie Brown’s “Phooey!” : RATS!
The characters in the cartoon series “Peanuts” were largely drawn from Charles Schultz’s own life, with shy and withdrawn Charlie Brown representing Schultz himself.
69. Erotic : SEXY
Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic”, meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Also known as Amor, the Roman counterpart to Eros was Cupid.
2. What a two-fingered “L” represents : LOSER
A person might make a demeaning gesture by using the extended thumb and forefinger to make a letter L, standing for the word “loser”. The gesture is often made by raising the hand to the forehead. It has been suggested that the gesture originated in a Michigan State hockey game in 1974.
3. Word with panel or power : SOLAR
Solar panels make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.
5. Panacea : CURE-ALL
Panacea was the Greek goddess of healing. She lent her name to the term “panacea” that was used by alchemists to describe the beguiling remedy that could cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.
6. Oil-exporting org. : OPEC
The OPEC cartel (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was formally established in 1960 and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965. The US is actually the third largest oil producer in the world (after Russia and Saudi Arabia). One reason America isn’t in OPEC, even though we are a big producer, is that we import a lot more than we export. But we all probably knew that already …
11. Church game handout : BINGO CARD
Our modern bingo is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.
12. Golfer 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).
21. I-95, e.g.: Abbr. : RTE
I-95 runs from down the East Coast of the US from northern New England to southern Florida. Although it is one of the oldest interstates in the country, it isn’t complete. There is a section of the route in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that is served instead by the New Jersey Turnpike. The current plan is to “finish off” I-95 in that area in 2018.
22. __ a soul : NARY
The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul”.
29. Maui party : LUAU
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
30. Sings like Ella : SCATS
Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.
Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.
32. Retail outlets with many loafers? : SHOE STORES
The type of slip-on shoe called a “loafer” dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by the Fortnum and Mason’s store in London.
33. First to stab Caesar : CASCA
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”
34. Animated film mermaid : ARIEL
“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton.
35. 1973 #1 hit for Helen Reddy : DELTA DAWN
The country song “Delta Dawn” uses the melody of the traditional Scottish song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. “Delta Down” was a hit for Tanya Tucker in 1972, when she was just 13 years old. The following year, Helen Reddy’s recording of “Delta Dawn” hit number-one in the charts.
The successful singer Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia. In 1966, Reddy won a talent contest, and earned herself a trip to New York City for an audition. The 25-year-old single mother decided to stay in the US, and a few years later was able to launch a successful singing career. Her hit song “I Am Woman”, released in 1972, was the first recording by an Australian artist to reach #1 in the US charts.
37. “Kiss Me __” : KATE
“Kiss Me, Kate” is a musical written by Cole Porter first produced on Broadway in 1948. Cole Porter had a string of successes in the twenties and thirties including “Gay Divorce” and “Anything Goes”, but he found his career in decline in the forties. “Kiss Me, Kate” proved to be a dramatic comeback, and was the only one of his shows that ran for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway. Famously, “Kiss Me, Kate” is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”.
39. New York university city : SYRACUSE
Syracuse University (SU) is a private school that was established in 1870 in Syracuse, New York. One of the darkest days in SU’s history came with the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. 35 SU students were on that flight, returning from a study-abroad program in Europe. The school recalls that tragic event annually by awarding 35 students Remembrance Scholarships for their final year.
43. Picnic area : PARK
Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable pot-luck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.
44. Baseball’s Bronx Bombers : YANKEES
The New York Yankees baseball team has the nickname “the Bronx Bombers”. The nickname reflects where the team plays (the Bronx) and the team’s reputation for hitting (bombers). The New York Yankees were the first team to retire a uniform number, doing so on July 4, 1939. That day they retired the number 4 in honor of Lou Gehrig.
48. Calculator function : LOG
As an example of a logarithm (log), the number 10,000 is equal to 10 to the power of 4, so the base-10 logarithm of 10,000 is said to be 4. Inversely, the antilogarithm of 4 (in the base-10) is 10,000. But, we all remember that from school, don’t we?
51. Award named for Poe : EDGAR
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the Edgars) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America.
53. “__ Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” : YOU’VE
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” was a huge hit for the Righteous Brothers in 1964. The song wasn’t just popular in the mid-sixties. By the end of 1999, it was the most-played song on US radio and television in the 20th century.
54. Devereux’s earldom : ESSEX
Robert Devereux was the 2nd Earl of Essex, and a favorite in the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Eventually however, Essex fell foul of the government and was found guilty of treason. He was executed on Tower Green in the Tower of London. Famously, his executor took three strokes of the axe to complete the beheading. Essex was the last person to be beheaded at the Tower.
58. Forearm bone : ULNA
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.
59. Dollar fraction : CENT
The “$” sign was first used for the Spanish American peso, in the late 18th century. The peso was also called the “Spanish dollar” (and “piece of eight”). The Spanish dollar was to become the model for the US dollar that was adopted in 1785, along with the “$” sign.
60. Merged Dutch airline : KLM
The initialism KLM stands for “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij”, which translates from Dutch as “Royal Aviation Company”. KLM is the flag carrier for the Netherlands, and is the oldest airline in the world still operating with its original name. It was founded in 1919. KLM merged with Air France in 2004.
61. Fair-hiring letters : EEO
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.