Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed clues are the progression of “wins” that ANYONE might vie for when playing TENNIS:
- 34A. With 36-Across, question for the court : TENNIS …
- 36A. See 34-Across : … ANYONE?
- 17A. POINT : TAPERING END
- 23A. GAME : SAFARI ANIMALS
- 50A. SET : FILMING LOCALE
- 59A. MATCH : FIRE STARTER
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Summer music? : DISCO
Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.
10. Org. funded by FICA : SSA
The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) was introduced in the 1930s as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. FICA payments are made by both employees and employers in order to fund Social Security and Medicare.
13. Under-the-sink brand : COMET
The Comet brand of household cleanser produced a famous series of ads in the sixties through the eighties that featured a character known as “Josephine the Plumber”. Played by actress Jane Withers, she was noted for uttering the line “Nothing can hold a can to Comet!”
15. “Paper Moon” Oscar winner : O’NEAL
Tatum O’Neal is the youngest actress to win a “competitive” Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1974 when she was just 10 years old, for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon”. The youngest person to win an honorary Academy Award was Shirley Temple, who was only 5 years old when she was presented with an Oscar in 1934.
“Paper Moon” is a 1973 comedy film that tells the story of a father and daughter during the Great Depression. The onscreen father and daughter are played by real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. The original choices for the lead roles were Paul Newman and his daughter Nell Potts, but they left the project after director John Huston also dropped out.
16. Like ibuprofen, briefly : OTC
Over-the-counter drugs (OTC) don’t need a prescription (Rx).
“Ibuprofen” is a shortened version of the drug’s name: Iso-BUtyl-PROpanoic-PHENolic acid. Ibuprofen is primarily an anti-inflammatory, but apparently it is good for headaches too.
21. Engineering sch. on the Hudson : RPI
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.
22. Sport with masks : EPEE
The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.
23. GAME : SAFARI ANIMALS
“Safari” is a Swahili word, meaning “journey” or “expedition”.
26. Move a finger or two, maybe : PEEK
I guess one might cover one’s eyes with one’s hands, and then “peek” by moving a finger or two.
28. Physics units : RADS
A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels that is largely obsolete now. The “rad” has been superseded by the “rem”.
30. 1945 Pacific battle site, familiarly : IWO
Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.
32. Superhero played by Chris Hemsworth : THOR
Thor is a superhero who was introduced to us by Marvel Comics in 1962. The character is of course based on the Norse god Thor, and comes complete with a magical hammer. Like so many comic book heroes it seems, Thor has made it to the big screen. Actor Chris Hemsworth played the role in the 2011 film “Thor” directed by the great Kenneth Branagh. Branagh must have needed the cash. Thor’s father Odin is played by Anthony Hopkins. He must have needed the cash too …
42. Alex Dunphy, to Luke, on “Modern Family” : SIS
Alex Dunphy is the youngest daughter of Claire and Phil on the sitcom “Modern Family”. Alex is played by the very talented young actress Ariel Winter.
Luke is the youngest child and only son of Claire and Phil Dunphy on the fabulous sitcom “Modern Family”. Luke is played by actor Nolan Gould. Gould’s character isn’t the sharpest pencil in the box, although Gould himself has an IQ of 150 and is a member of Mensa.
43. Mojito ingredient : RUM
A Mojito is a Cuban cocktail, although the exact origins appear to be unclear, as does the derivation of the name. Want one? Put 4 mint leaves in a glass, and add the juice of half a lime and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Muddle the ingredients, smashing them together with a muddler or a spoon. Add some crushed ice, two ounces of white rum and stir. Top with a couple of ounces of club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a slice of lime. Cheers!
53. Captain Picard’s counselor : TROI
Deanna Troi is a character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” who is played by the lovely Marina Sirtis. Sirtis is a naturalized American citizen and has what I would call a soft American accent on the show. However, she was born in the East End of London and has a natural accent off-stage that is more like that of a true Cockney.
When Gene Roddenberry was creating the “Star Trek” spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, I think he chose a quite magnificent name for the new starship captain. “Jean-Luc Picard” is imitative of one or both of the twin-brother Swiss scientists Auguste and Jean Felix Piccard. The role of Picard was of course played by the wonderful Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart.
55. Kenya neighbor : UGANDA
Uganda is a landlocked county in East Africa lying just to the west of Kenya. Uganda was ruled by the British as a protectorate from 1894 and gained independence in 1962. Uganda is very much associated with the tyrannical rule of Idi Amin in the 1970s.
Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.
61. Programming pioneer Lovelace : ADA
Ada Lovelace’s real name was Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the poet. Lovelace was fascinated by mathematics and wrote about the work done by Charles Babbage in building his groundbreaking mechanical computer. In some of her notes, she proposed an algorithm for Babbage’s machine to compute Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm is recognized by many as the world’s first computer program and so Lovelace is sometimes called the first “computer programmer”. There is a computer language called “Ada” that was named in her honor. The Ada language was developed from 1977 to 1983 for the US Department of Defense.
1. When Lear disinherits Cordelia : ACT I
“King Lear” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. Lear’s three daughters figure prominently in the story line. The three are, in order of age:
2. “Home on the Range” verb : ROAM
The words of “Home on the Range” came before the music, a poem called “My Western Home” from the 1870s written by a Dr. Brewster Higley of Kansas. The music was added by Daniel Kelley, a friend of Higley. And now, a version of the song is the state song of Kansas.
4. “Quantum Healing” author Chopra : DEEPAK
Deepak Chopra is a medical doctor who is now an advocate for alternative medicine. Chopra was born in New Delhi, India and immigrated to the US in 1968. He is an advocate for mind/body spiritual healing. I have heard Chopra speak, and he really knows how to get his message across …
6. Ilsa portrayer : INGRID
The wonderful actress Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm and named for Princess Ingrid of Sweden. The three Bergman performances that stand out for me are in 1942’s “Casablanca” opposite Humphrey Bogart, in 1944’s “Gaslight” opposite Charles Boyer and in 1946’s “Notorious” opposite Cary Grant. What a stunningly beautiful woman she was …
Ilsa Lund was played by Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie “Casablanca”. I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: “She paints his face with her eyes”. Wow …
8. “A Doubter’s Almanac” novelist Ethan : CANIN
Ethan Canin is an author, physician and educator at the University of Iowa. Canin’s debut publication is a collection of short stories called “Emperor of the Air”.
10. Under-the-sink brand : SOS PAD
S.O.S is a brand name of scouring pads made from steel wool impregnated with soap. The product was invented as a giveaway by an aluminum pot salesman in San Francisco called Ed Cox. His wife gave it the name “S.O.S” as an acronym for “Save Our Saucepans”. Note the punctuation! There is no period after the last S, and that is deliberate. When Cox went to register the trademark, he found that “S.O.S.” could not be a trademark because it was used as an international distress signal. So he dropped the period after the last S, and I hope made a lot of money for himself and his wife.
11. “Remington __” : STEELE
The eighties detective show “Remington Steele” stars Stephanie Zimbalist as a private detective Laura Holt, and Pierce Brosnan as the handsome bad boy Remington Steele, who’s really a good boy. The show successfully melds the detective genre with elements of romantic comedy.
14. Nonkosher : TREF
According to Jewish dietary law, “kosher” food is fit to eat, and food that is not fit to eat is referred to as “treif” (or “tref”).
22. Manicurist’s tool : EMERY
Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.
31. “Pink Friday” singer Minaj : NICKI
Nicki Minaj is a rapper from Queens, New York who was born in Trinidad.
33. Coiffure : HAIRCUT
“Coiffure” is a French word that we’ve imported into English meaning “hairstyle”. The term comes from the Old French word “coife”, which was used for the inner part of a helmet.
35. “The End of America” author Wolf : NAOMI
Author and journalist Naomi Wolf served as a political consultant for President Bill Clinton in his successful 1996 reelection bid, and for Al Gore in his unsuccessful 2000 bid for the presidency. A noted feminist, Wolf’s role was to help both campaigns target female voters.
37. Avenue after Reading Railroad : ORIENTAL
The street names in the US version of Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The four railroad (RR) properties in the Monopoly board game are:
- Reading Railroad
- Pennsylvania Railroad
- B&O Railroad
- Short Line
38. Worn end : NUB
A much-used pencil or crayon might be worn down to a “nub”.
39. Scrabble three-pointers : EMS
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publications like “The New York Times”.
41. Wonton alternative : EGG DROP
Egg drop soup is a Chinese dish in which the key ingredients are beaten eggs and chicken broth. Also called egg flower soup, the final step in its preparation is the addition of a thin stream of beaten eggs to the broth as it boils, creating flakes of cooked egg that float in the soup.
A wonton is a dumpling used in Chinese cooking. Wontons are often boiled and served in a wonton soup.
42. Brazilian map word : SAO
In Portuguese, the word “são” can mean “saint”, as in São Paulo (Saint Paul) and São José (Saint John). If the saint’s name starts with a letter H or with a vowel, then the word “santo” is used instead, as in Santo Agostinho (Saint Augustine) and Santo Antônio (Saint Anthony).
46. Apple’s “Think different,” e.g. : SLOGAN
Apple Computer introduced its “Think Different” advertising slogan in 1997. The Apple slogan was a very clear play on the longstanding motto used by IBM, namely “Think”.
48. Like Meg March, in “Little Women” : ELDEST
“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.
51. Bete __ : NOIRE
“Bête noire” translates from French as “black beast” and is used in English to describe something or someone that is disliked.
52. Food thickener : AGAR
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.
56. Poet Walter __ Mare : DE LA
English writer Walter de la Mare is probably best remembered for his children’s stories. His “Collected Stories for Children” won the Carnegie Medal for British children’s books in 1947.
59. Pokémon Go, e.g. : FAD
“Pokémon GO!” is a reality-based video game in which players must locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures known as Pokémon. The Pokémon are hidden in the real world, in the sense that they have to be located on an electronic device (like a smartphone) in “the real world”, for which a GPS location is needed. Players see the Pokémon overlaid on a view of the real world on their smart device.
60. French possessive : SES
“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”, when referring to a group of items.