Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each with the name of a finger, in fact five DIGITS in all, and in order as we go from the top of the grid to the bottom:
- 55D. “Pay attention, man!” … and, in a different way, what the end of each answer to a starred clue refers to : DIG IT! (or “DIGIT”)
- 18A. *”C’mon, loosen up!” : LIVE A LITTLE! (giving “little finger”)
- 23A. *Place for lefts and rights : BOXING RING (giving “ring finger”)
- 40A. *Compromise : MEET IN THE MIDDLE (giving “middle finger”)
- 52A. *Market measure : STOCK INDEX (giving “index finger”)
- 62A. *General principle : RULE OF THUMB (giving “thumb”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Put a spell on : HEX
“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.
9. Arizona landforms : MESAS
“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.
15. Longtime “At the Movies” co-host : EBERT
The film review TV show “At the Movies” has been around since 1988 in various forms with various hosts, most famously Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert. Siskel and Ebert used the iconic “thumbs up and thumbs down” rating system from the very first show.
22. Certain string musician’s need : VIOLA BOW
The viola looks like and is played like a violin, but is slightly larger. It is referred to as the middle voice in the violin family, between the violin and the cello.
26. “Star Wars” extras : ETS
The girl band called TLC is from Atlanta, Georgia. The band’s name comes from the trio’s original members:
- Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
- Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
- Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas
27. Word of passione : CARA
In Italian, “cara” (darling) is word of “passione” (passion).
37. Water nymph : NAIAD
The Naiads of Greek mythology were water nymphs, associated with fountains, wells, springs and streams. The saltwater equivalents of the freshwater Naiads were the Oceanids.
44. “Ready are you? What know you of ready?” speaker : YODA
Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice is provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of “Muppets” fame.
46. Supermodel Banks : TYRA
Tyra Banks is a tremendously successful model and businesswoman. Banks created and hosts the hit show “America’s Next Top Model “, and also has her own talk show. She was also the first African American woman to make the cover of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue.
50. PD alert : APB
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.
58. French president Hollande : FRANCOIS
François Hollande was elected President of France in 2012. During the election cycle in 2011, Hollande had been trailing in the polls behind front-runner Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Hollande took over the lead following Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on New York City on suspicion of sexual assault.
62. *General principle : RULE OF THUMB (giving “thumb”)
The exact origin of the phrase “rule of thumb” appears to be unclear. However, the expression does exist in languages other than English, although the wording can vary. In Finnish and German the equivalent is “rule of fist”, and in Hebrew the phrase is “rule of finger”.
65. Bygone muscle car : GTO
The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.
By definition, a “muscle car” is a small vehicle with a large or maybe oversized engine.
67. “Science of Logic” author Georg : HEGEL
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the founders of the German idealism movement. “Idealism”, in the context of the movement, was the principle that objects did not have properties in themselves, but rather that an object’s properties depended on the person perceiving the object.
68. Shy person’s note? : IOU
I owe you (IOU)
69. Branch quarters : NESTS
We use the term “quarters” for a place of abode, especially housing for military personnel. Back in the late 16th century, quarters were a portion (quarter) of a town reserved for a military force.
70. Philadelphia pro : EAGLE
The Philadelphia Eagles were established in 1933 and joined the National Football League as a replacement for the bankrupt Frankford Yellow Jackets, also from Philadelphia. The “Eagle” name was inspired by the Blue Eagle insignia that was used by companies who were in compliance with the National Industrial Recovery Act that was central to President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.
71. “Major Crimes” network : TNT
The TV cop show “Major Crimes” is a follow-on spino-off of “The Closer”. The first episode of “Major Crimes” was aired right after the last episode of “The Closer” on August 13, 2012.
1. Muslim veil : HIJAB
Some Muslim women wear a hijab in the presence of males outside of their immediate family. A hijab is a veil covering the head and chest. Some also wear a niqab as part of the hijab, which is a cloth that covers the face. Other Muslim women wear a burqa, which covers the whole body from the top of the head to the ground.
2. Sister of Calliope : ERATO
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:
- Calliope (epic poetry)
- Clio (history)
- Erato (lyric poetry)
- Euterpe (music)
- Melpomene (tragedy)
- Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
- Terpsichore (dance)
- Thalia (comedy)
- Urania (astronomy)
3. Maker of ColorQube printers : XEROX
ColorQube is a line of printers produced by Xerox. They’re color printers and are roughly cubic in shape, hence the name, I guess …
4. One-named singer portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in a 1997 film : SELENA
Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as “Selena”, was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena’s life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role.
5. Japanese sash : OBI
The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot.
6. Gun, as a V8 : REV
The engine known as a V8 is configured with two rows of four cylinders mounted on a crankcase. The rows of cylinders are offset from each other around the crankshaft at right angles, or perhaps a little less. This arrangement of eight cylinders in a V-shape gives rise to the name “V8”.
7. Roman fountain : TREVI
The Trevi Fountain (“Fontana di Trevi”) is a huge fountain in Rome, the largest constructed in the Baroque style. The tradition is that if one throws a coin in the fountain then one is guaranteed a return visit to the city. Tourists throw in an amazing 3,000 euros (over $4,000) every day. The money is collected and is used to stock a supermarket for the needy of the city.
9. Pony Express concern : MAIL
The Pony Express mail service operated for only 19 months, from 1860 until 1861. The service comprised a relay of horseback riders operating between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California across the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.
10. Vocalist James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
19. Stack under a tarp : LOGS
Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.
21. “Close, but no cigar” : NICE TRY
The expression “close but no cigar” is a reference meaning that one can come close in a competition, but may not win the prize, the cigar.
29. Boy in “Star Wars” prequel films : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:
- Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
- Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
- Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
- Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
- Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
- Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …
31. Bit of band gear : AMP
An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.
38. It borders the Fla. panhandle : ALA
The Florida Panhandle is in the Central Time Zone, whereas the rest of the state is in the Eastern Time Zone.
41. Medit. country : ISR
The land that is now Israel was ruled by the British after WWI as the British Mandate of Palestine. The British evacuated the area after WWII, largely responding to pressure from both Jewish and Arab nationalist movements. The British Mandate expired on 14 May 1948 and the State of israel was established at the same time. This declaration of a new state was followed by the immediate invasion of the area by four Arab countries and the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A ceasefire was declared after a year of fighting, and tension has persisted in the region ever since.
42. Big name in big rigs : MACK
Mack Trucks was founded by John Mack in the early 1900s, after he had spent some years working in companies that made carriages and electric motor cars. Along with his two brothers, Mack started their company to focus on building heavy-duty trucks and engines.
49. Cat dish tidbit : KIBBLE
“To kibble” is to crush or grind coarsely. This verb evolved into the noun “kibble” meaning meat and/or grain that is ground into small pellets, especially when it is used for pet food.
50. Nasal spray brand : AFRIN
Afrin is a nasal spray made by Bayer that has oxymetazoline as an active ingredient. Oxymetazoline is a topical decongestant.
51. Danish fruit : PRUNE
A prune is a dried plum. The name “prune” comes from the Latin “prunum”, the word for “plum”.
The Danish pastry that we know so well over here in the US is indeed a Danish specialty, although the recipe was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers. A “Danish” is called “Viennese bread” in Denmark.
53. Parishioner’s pledge : TITHE
Traditionally, a “tithe” is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.
54. Milo of “Barbarella” : O’SHEA
Milo O’Shea was a great Irish character actor from Dublin who has appeared in everything from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The West Wing”. O’Shea passed away in 2013, in New York City.
“Barbarella” is a cult classic 1968 film that was directed by Roger Vadim. Vadim’s wife at the time was Jane Fonda, and she plays the title character.
56. John of The Red Piano Tour : ELTON
Elton John’s real name is Reginald Dwight. Sir Elton was knighted in 1998, not for his music per se, but for his charitable work. He founded his own Elton John AIDS Foundation back in 1992.
63. Trendy boot brand : UGG
Uggs are sheepskin boots that originated in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. Ugg is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.
64. Blanc heard but not seen : MEL
Mel Blanc was known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices”. We’ve all heard Mel Blanc at one time or another, I am sure. His was the voice behind such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Elmer Fudd and Barney Rubble. And the words on Blanc’s tombstone are … “That’s All Folks”.