Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answer is a FOREIGN IMPORT, a word or phrase in a FOREIGN language that we’ve IMPORTED into English:
- 39A. With 42-Across, cars like BMWs and Audis … or 18-, 24-, 53- and 63-Across : FOREIGN …
- 42A. See 39-Across : … IMPORTS
- 18A. Writer’s chief work (Latin) : MAGNUM OPUS
- 24A. Done deal (French) : FAIT ACCOMPLI
- 53A. English, in many non-English speaking countries (Italian) : LINGUA FRANCA
- 63A. Young sensation (German) : WUNDERKIND
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Ponzi scheme, e.g. : SCAM
Charles Ponzi was born in Luigi, Italy in 1882 and arrived in the US in 1903, flat broke having gambled away all his money on the voyage to Boston. Ponzi devised a scheme to buy what were known as “international reply coupons” through friends in Italy, which he had sent to him in the US so that he could redeem them on this side of the Atlantic. As the value in the US was greater than that in Italy, he could make a handsome profit. This was in itself an “illegal” transaction, buying an asset in one market at a low price, then immediately selling it in another market at a higher price. But it’s what he did next that became known as a Ponzi Scheme. He couldn’t redeem his coupons quickly enough due to red tape so he approached other investors, initially friends, and had them give him cash so that he could buy more coupons in Italy. He promised the investors he would double their money, which they did initially. Many people wanted to get in on the scheme seeing that Ponzi was able to make the new investors a profit and double the money of the original investors. Eventually, somebody did the math and word started to get out that the investment was risky, so the number of new investors started to fall. Without sufficient new investors Ponzi couldn’t double the money of his latest investors, and the whole scheme unraveled.
14. Drilled bowling ball feature : HOLE
Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.
15. Artist Magritte : RENE
Belgian artist René Magritte was a surrealist. His most recognized work maybe is “The Son of Man”, a painting he created as a self-portrait. It is the work that shows a man in a bowler hat with his face covered by an apple. The image features prominently in a great movie, the 1999 remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair”.
16. Shah of Iran, in 1979-’80 : EXILE
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.
17. Bahrain big shot : EMIR
Bahrain is an island nation located off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a series of causeways and bridges constructed in the eighties.
18. Writer’s chief work (Latin) : MAGNUM OPUS
“Magnum opus” is a Latin term meaning “great work”. The magnum opus of a writer or composer perhaps, is his or her greatest work.
20. Sphere of influence : AMBIT
An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.
23. Ambulance initials : EMS
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
24. Done deal (French) : FAIT ACCOMPLI
“Fait accompli” is a French term, literally translating as “accomplished fact”. It is used in English to mean “a done deal”.
28. Farm country skyline highlights : SILOS
“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept corn.
29. Nissan model : SENTRA
The Nissan Sentra is sold as the Nissan Sunny back in Japan.
38. Amazon’s business : E-TAIL
Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …
39. With 42-Across, cars like BMWs and Audis … or 18-, 24-, 53- and 63-Across : FOREIGN …
42. See 39-Across : … IMPORTS
The abbreviation BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.
The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “Horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.
44. Rhett’s last words : A DAMN
In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, when Rhett Butler finally walks out on Scarlett O’Hara he utters the words “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most of us are more familiar with the slightly different words spoken by Clark Gable in the film adaption of the story: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
45. Siamese, now : THAI
Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and again from 1945 to 1949).
47. __ dye: food-coloring compound : AZO
Azo compounds have very vivid colors and so are used to make dyes, especially dyes with the colors red, orange and yellow. The term “azo” comes from the French word “azote” meaning “nitrogen”. French chemist Lavoisier coined the term “azote” from the Greek word “azotos” meaning “lifeless”. He used this name as in pure nitrogen/azote animals die and flames are snuffed out (due to a lack of oxygen).
50. Lover of Euridice, in a Gluck opera : ORFEO
“Orfeo ed Euridice” is an opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck that was first performed in 1762. It is perhaps Gluck’s most popular work.
53. English, in many non-English speaking countries (Italian) : LINGUA FRANCA
A “lingua franca” is a common language used to communicate among those who do not routinely speak each other’s native tongue. The term originally applied to the common language used in commerce around the Eastern Mediterranean from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. This ancient Lingua Franca was a simplified form of Italian, with a generous sprinkling of loanwords from Greek, French, Portuguese, Spanish and other local languages.
58. Word with health or day : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.
61. Oboist’s need : REED
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.
62. Lagoon-enclosing isle : ATOLL
An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.
A lagoon is a shallow body of water, usually separated from the sea by sandbar or reef. The term comes from the Italian “laguna”, the word for a pond or lake. The original “laguna” is the “Laguna Veneta”, the enclosed bay in the Adriatic Sea on which Venice is located. In 1769, Captain Cook was the first to apply the word “lagoon” to the body of water inside a South Seas atoll.
63. Young sensation (German) : WUNDERKIND
A “wunderkind” is a child prodigy, especially in the musical arena. The term is German in origin and translates literally as “wonder child”.
68. Cortés subject : AZTEC
Hernán Cortés (also “Hernando Cortez”) led the expedition from Spain to Mexico that eventually led to the fall of the Aztec Empire.
70. San __, Italy : REMO
The Italian city of San Remo sits on the Mediterranean, right on the border with France. In Italian the city is named Sanremo, just one word, although the spelling of “San Remo” dates back to ancient times.
71. Suppose for argument’s sake : POSIT
“To posit” is to assume as fact, to lay down as a “position”.
72. Many van Goghs : OILS
Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who seems to have had a very tortured existence. Van Gogh only painted for the last ten years of his life, and enjoyed very little celebrity while alive. Today many of his works are easily recognized, and fetch staggering sums in auction houses. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression for many of his final years. When he was only 37, he walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He managed to drag himself back to the inn where he was staying but died there two days later.
2. Grammar class subject : COMMA
Our word “comma” comes into English via Latin from the Greek “komma” meaning “clause in a sentence”.
3. Legal defense mechanism? : ALIBI
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.
5. Shortstop’s asset : ARM
That would be baseball.
8. Jeans fabric : DENIM
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.
9. Dreaming phase : REM SLEEP
REM is an acronym, short for Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.
10. Kitchenware brand : OXO
The OXO line of kitchen utensils is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average kitchen too. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.
12. University fund-raising target : ALUM
An “alumnus” (plural … alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural … alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.
19. Quartet assigned to bases : UMPS
That would also be baseball.
21. Mai __ : TAI
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.
25. Plumber’s challenge : CLOG
“Plumbum” is the Latin for lead, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of them was leaking.
26. Dracula’s title : COUNT
“Dracula” is a novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker and first published in 1897. Dracula wasn’t the first vampire of literature, but he certainly was the one who spawned the popularity of vampires in theater, film and television, and indeed more novels. Personally, I can’t stand vampire fiction …
30. Skater Lipinski : TARA
When American skater Tara Lipinski won the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, she was only 15 years old. To this day, Lipinski is the youngest person to win an individual gold at the Winter Games.
31. Nabisco cracker : RITZ
I’ve always liked Ritz crackers. They’ve been around since 1934 when they were introduced by Nabisco. The name Ritz was chosen because the marketing folks felt that the association with Ritz-Carlton would evoke images of wealth and the highlife.
The National Biscuit Company was formed in 1898 with the merger of three existing bakery businesses. The company name today is Nabisco, an abbreviated form of National Biscuit Company.
35. Abbey titles : FRAS
The title “Fra” (brother) is used by Italian monks.
40. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
Emil Jannings was an actor from Switzerland, who also held German and Austrian citizenship. Jannings was the first person to receive an Oscar, as the star of the 1928 silent movie called “The Last Command”. He also starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 classic “The Blue Angel”.
43. Offend slightly : MIFF
“To miff” is “to put out, to tee off”, a word that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That would get him a slap, I’d say …
46. Entertainer who often got tied up in his work? : HOUDINI
Harry Houdini was the stage name of Hungarian-born escapologist and magician Erik Weisz (later changed to “Harry Weiss”). Many people are under the impression that Houdini died while performing an escape that went wrong, an impression created by the storyline in a couple of movies about his life. The truth is that he died of peritonitis from a burst appendix. It is also true that a few days prior to his death Houdini took a series of punches to his stomach as part of his act, but doctors believe that his appendix would have burst regardless.
49. 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.
52. Many top-rated TV shows of the late ’50s/early ’60s : OATERS
The term “oater” that is used for a western movie comes from the number of horses seen, as horses love oats!
54. Gordon __, “Wall Street” antagonist : GEKKO
“Wall Street” is a very entertaining 1987 film from Oliver Stone starring Charlie Sheen as an up and coming stockbroker, and Michael Douglas as an amoral corporate raider named Gordon Gekko. Douglas’ portrayal of Gekko earned him a Best Actor Oscar, and deservedly so, I’d say …
55. James Joyce work : NOVEL
Regular readers will know that I am unashamedly supportive of my native Irish culture, but I have to tell you that I can’t many of the works of James Joyce. I have spent many a fine day traipsing around Ireland learning about his him, as I find his life more absorbing than his writing. Having said that, “Ulysses” is an interesting novel in that it chronicles just one ordinary day in the life of a Dubliner named Leopold Bloom. There’s a huge celebration of “Ulysses” in Dublin every year on June 16th, called Bloomsday. The festivities vary from readings and performances of the storyline, to good old pub crawls. “Ulysses” was made into a film of the same name in 1967 starring Milo O’Shea.
56. Weather, in poems : CLIME
“Clime” is just another word for climate, as in the expression “in search of warmer climes”.
59. “The Godfather” novelist Mario : PUZO
The novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, that latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).
64. Agnus __ : DEI
“Agnus Dei” is Latin for “Lamb of God”, a term used in Christian faiths for Jesus Christ, symbolizing his role as a sacrificial offering to atone for the sins of man.
66. Wino’s woe : DTS
The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called Delirium Tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is “trembling madness”.