Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers all have similar, if not the same, clue:
- 17A. As : SYMBOL OF ARSENIC
- 32A. A’s : EXCELLENT GRADES
- 41A. As : TO THE SAME DEGREE
- 60A. A’s : OAKLAND BALL CLUB
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Early Welsh : CELTS
The Celts were a very broad group of people across Europe, linked by common languages. The Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in the British Isles. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France..
The Principality of Wales was created in 1216 when sovereign princes of Welsh territories agreed that Llywelyn the Great would become the paramount ruler of the region. The Principality covered about two thirds of what we call Wales today, and it gained partial recognition by the English Crown with the title of Prince of Wales being created for Llywelyn the Great and his successors. The relationship between the Principality and its powerful neighbor was an uneasy one though, and eventually there was a military conquest by the English King Edward I in 1282-1283. In 1284 the Statute of Rhuddlan became law which brought all the land held by the Prince of Wales under English rule. And today of course, the title of Prince of Wales is held by the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles.
6. Subpar performance … or not : BOGEY
The following terms are routinely used in golf for scores relative to par:
- Bogey: one over par
- Birdie: one under par
- Eagle: two under par
- Albatross (also “double eagle”): three under par
- Condor: four under par
No one has ever recorded a condor during a professional tournament.
We sometimes use the term “bogey” for a performance target, a mark that is to be attained.
11. School sweater letters : NUS
The Latin equivalent of the Greek letter “nu” is “N”. An uppercase nu looks just like the Latin capital N, however, the lowercase nu looks like our lowercase “v”. Very confusing …
17. As : SYMBOL OF ARSENIC
Arsenic is element #33 in the periodic table, and has the chemical symbol “As”. Because of arsenic’s toxicity, it was very commonly used in pesticides. These compounds are getting banned over time, but it seems there is a long way to go. Arsenic in aquifers continues to be a problem around the world, including here in the US. China has introduced limits to the amounts of arsenic permitted in food as well as water, mainly as the Chinese staple rice is particularly good at accumulating arsenic from groundwater.
19. Ancient communication medium : PAPYRUS
The papyrus plant was commonly found in the Nile Delta of Europe. The pith of the plant was used to make a thick, paper-like material on which one could write. This writing material, which became known as papyrus (plural “papyri”), became a competitor for the most popular writing surface of the day known as parchment, which was made from animal skins.
20. Modern communication medium : PODCAST
A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.
22. Memphis-to-Nashville dir. : ENE
Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi River, and the largest city in the state of Tennessee. Memphis is also relatively young, having been founded in 1819 as a planned city. The founders were John Overton, James Winchester and future US president Andrew Jackson. The American Memphis is named for the Egyptian Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt located on the River Nile.
The Tennessee city of Nashville was founded in 1779 near a stockade in the Cumberland River valley called Fort Nashborough. Both the settlement and the fort were named for General Francis Nash, a war hero who died in combat during the American Revolution.
23. Washington portraitist : PEALE
Rembrandt Peale was a prolific American portrait artist. As one might guess from his given name, Rembrandt was the son of another artist, Charles Willson Peale, who named him for the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. Indeed, Rembrandt had two brothers, named Raphaelle and Rubens Peale. Rembrandt Peale’s most famous works are portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
27. Bocelli album that includes “Bésame Mucho” : AMORE
“Bésame Mucho” was written in 1940, by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez. “Besame mucho” translates into “kiss me a lot”, and the remarkable thing is that according to Velázquez, at the time she wrote the song she had never even been kissed herself! “Besame Mucho” was just one of Jimmy Dorsey’s eleven number one hits, all from the thirties and forties.
Andrea Bocelli is a classically-trained tenor who sings popular music, a so-called cross-over artist. Bocelli was born with poor eyesight and then became totally blind at the age of 12 when he had an accident playing soccer.
38. __ work: menial labor : SCUT
“Scut” is an informal term that describes a contemptible person.
40. 1992 opponent of Bill and George : ROSS
Ross Perot graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1953, as president of his class. Perot served his 4-year commitment but then resigned his commission, apparently having become somewhat disillusioned with the navy. He was ranked number 101 on the Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans in 2012, and at that time was worth about $3.5 billion. Back in 1992, Perot ran as an independent candidate for US president. He founded the Reform Party in 1995, and ran as the Reform Party candidate for president in 1996.
44. What a bump may affect : SPEED
The traffic calming device we call a “speed bump” over here in the US, is known by the colorful name “sleeping policeman” in the UK.
46. Nation with a pyramid on its currency: Abbr. : USA
Conspiracy theorists love to point out “suspicious” symbols on the one-dollar bill. The pyramid on the bill is unfinished, with 13 steps. The number 13 has been associated with the occult, but it is also the number of original colonies which declared independence from Britain forming the United States. Not so suspicious after all …
49. Title for actor Gielgud : SIR
Sir John Gielgud was a marvelous English actor of stage and screen. Gielgud eschewed the Hollywood screen for much of his career, and so is known to us in films portraying more mature characters. For example, he played the manservant Hobson in 1981’s “Arthur”, and won that season’s Best Supporting Actor for his efforts. Gielgud is also one of the very few people who has won and Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony.
51. Channeled, as water : SLUICED
A “sluice” is a water channel with a gate at its head that is used to control the amount of water flowing.
60. A’s : OAKLAND BALL CLUB
The Oakland Athletics (usually “the A’s”) baseball franchise was founded back in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. The team became the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and moved to Oakland in 1968.
63. Quarters in the wild : LAIRS
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.
64. CIA predecessor : OSS
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was formed during WWII in order to carry out espionage behind enemy lines. A few years after the end of the war the OSS functions were taken up by a new group, the Central Intelligence Agency that was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
4. Keith of country : TOBY
Toby Keith is a country music singer from Clinton, Oklahoma. One of Keith’s number one hits is a 2003 duet with Willie Nelson called “Beer for My Horses”.
5. Underwater aid : SNORKEL
Our word “snorkel” comes from German navy slang “Schnorchel” meaning “nose, snout”. The German slang was applied to an airshaft used for submarines, due to its resemblance to a nose, in that air passed through it and it made a “snoring” sound. “Schnorchel” comes from “Schnarchen”, the German for “snore”.
9. “The Smartest Guys in the Room” subject : ENRON
After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).
“The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” is a 2003 book by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, two writers working for “Fortune” magazine. The book was used as the basis for a 2005 documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”.
11. 1493 Lisbon arrival : NINA
The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.
12. Israeli weapons : UZIS
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.
13. Mennonites, e.g. : SECT
The Mennonites are a group of religious sects that originated in the Friesland region of the Low Countries. The various denominations are named for Menno Simons who was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers who followed Martin Luther.
18. Heathrow : his :: Orly : à __ : LUI
The French for “his, belonging to him” is “à lui”, and for “hers, belonging to her” is “à elle”
London’s Heathrow handles handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world, and is the third busiest airport around the globe in terms of passenger traffic (after Atlanta and Beijing).
Orly is on the outskirts of Paris, to the south of the city. It is home to the Paris-Orly Airport, the second busiest international airport for the city after the more recently built Charles de Gaulle Airport. That said, Orly is home to more domestic flights than Charles de Gaulle.
24. Serpico, for one : EX-COP
The 1973 movie “Serpico”, starring Al Pacino, is a based on a book by Peter Maas. The book is based on the true story of undercover police officer Frank Serpico. Serpico went undercover to investigate corruption within the New York Police Department. Frank Serpico was awarded NYPD’s Medal of Honor in 1972, and one month later retired from the force. He moved to Europe, living in Switzerland and the Netherlands for ten years. Serpico now resides in the New York town of Stuyvesant.
26. River in Hades : LETHE
The Lethe is one of the five rivers of Hades in Greek mythology. All the souls who drank from the river Lethe experienced complete forgetfulness. The Greek word “lethe” means “oblivion, forgetfulness”.
28. Toon with a blue do : MARGE
Marge Simpson is the matriarch of the family in “The Simpsons” animated sitcom. Marge is voiced by actress Julie Kavner, who is also well known for playing Brenda Morgenstern in the TV show “Rhoda” in the seventies.
29. Trails for bloodhounds : ODORS
Bloodhounds have an amazing sense of smell, and are particularly bred to track humans. Bloodhounds have been used to follow humans since the Middle Ages.
31. Swiss borders? : ESSES
There’s a letter S (ess) on either end (border) of the word “Swiss”.
33. __ Palmas: Gran Canaria capital : LAS
Gran Canaria, or Grand Canary Island, may be grand but it isn’t quite as big as Tenerife, the largest island of the group and the most populated. The capital of Gran Canaria is Las Palmas, which was a port of call for Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his way to the Americas.
34. Author LeShan : EDA
Eda LeShan wrote several nonfiction books including “When Your Child Drives You Crazy” and “The Conspiracy Against Childhood”. LeShan was also host of the PBS television show “How Do Your Children Grow?”
35. __ de famille : NOM
In French, the “nom de famille” is the family name, last name.
36. Otto minus cinque : TRE
In Italian, “otto” (eight) minus “cinque” (five) is “tre” (three).
37. H.S. equivalency test : GED
The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.
53. Luau entertainment : UKES
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
56. “Get lost!” : SCAT!
Our word “scat”, meaning “get lost!” comes from a 19th-century expression “quicker than s’cat”, which meant “in a great hurry”. The original phrase probably came from the words “hiss” and “cat”.
57. Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
59. Kitchen meas. : TBSP
61. Acct. entry : BAL