Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers in the grid each include circled letters. Those circled letters spell out the word “mass” (which is a religious SERVICE). In each case, the word “mass” is BROKEN, split into two parts:
- 54A. Turning point in tennis, and a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : SERVICE BREAK
- 20A. Postgraduate degree : MASTER OF ARTS
- 36A. Mob kingpin : MAFIA BOSS
- 41A. Vase material named for its white color : MILK GLASS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9. Expressive chat image : EMOJI
An emoji is a character found on many cell phones now that is much like an emoticon, but more elaborate.
16. Cars sold at auctions : REPOS
17. Nabisco chocolate-creme cookie : OREO
The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.
18. Vermeer or van Gogh : OIL PAINTER
Johannes (also “Jan”) Vermeer was born in the city of Delft in 1632, and died there some 43 years later. I just love Vermeer’s paintings, and his wonderful use of light. A great example of such a work is his “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. If you haven’t seen it, I thoroughly recommend the 2003 movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” starring Scarlett Johansson as the girl in the painting, and Colin Firth as Vermeer. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, so it’s all just a great story as opposed to a documentary. The way the movie is shot really reflects the qualities of a Vermeer work of art. And, my wife and i are planning on taking a peek at the original painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in a couple of weeks as it is visiting one of our galleries here in San Francisco.
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.
23. Sailor : TAR
A Jack Tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.
24. Tanning lotion letters : SPF
In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …
29. Snacked (on) to excess, briefly : ODED
32. Pinup queen Page : BETTIE
As a model, Bettie Page was famous for her fetish modelling pictures from the fifties, depicting images of bondage. After her successful career as a pinup she changed her lifestyle completely by converting to Christianity and taking a job with evangelist Billy Graham.
34. __ buco: veal dish : OSSO
“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish called osso buco, which features braised veal shanks.
36. Mob kingpin : MAFIA BOSS
The word “kingpin” is mainly used figuratively these days, to describe the most prominent member of a group. Back at the start of the 19th century, a “kingpin” was the largest pin in a bowling game called “kayles”. As such, the term is also used sometimes in ten-pin bowling to describe the 5-pin, the pin in the center of the triangular array.
38. PG-13 issuing org. : MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.
39. __ vincit amor : OMNIA
“Omnia vincit amor” is a line from Eclogue X, one of the major works of the Latin poet Virgil. We know the phrase in English as “love conquers all”.
40. Restful resorts : SPAS
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”.
41. Vase material named for its white color : MILK GLASS
Milk glass is an opaque, milky-white glass that is also called “opal glass”. The white color of the glass is the result of adding a material such as bone ash, which makes the glass opaque.
45. Genghis __ : KHAN
Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire, destined to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. He first built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At it’s height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.
48. ’60s tripping drug : LSD
LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …
50. “Morning Edition” airer : NPR
NPR’s flagship news program is “Morning Edition”, a 2-hour show broadcast from Monday through Friday. The sister show “Weekend Edition” is broadcast on Saturday and Sunday.
63. Sleep lab study : APNEA
Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.
64. Where Norway’s Royal Family resides : OSLO
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.
66. L.A.’s region : SOCAL
Southern California (SoCal)
67. Pics on ankles : TATS
The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are also sometimes referred to as “ink”.
2. Cajun veggie : OKRA
The plant known as okra is mainly grown for it edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.
The great explorer Verrazano gave the name “Arcadia” to the coastal land that stretched from north of present day Virginia right up the North American continent to Nova Scotia. The name Arcadia was chosen as it was also the name for a part of Greece that had been viewed as idyllic from the days of classical antiquity. The “Arcadia” name quickly evolved into the word “Acadia” that was used locally here in North America. Much of Acadia was settled by the French in the 1600s, and then in 1710 Acadia was conquered by the British. There followed the French and Indian War after which there was a mass migration of French Acadians, often via the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) to the French colony of Louisiana. The local dialectic pronunciation of the word “Acadian” was “Cajun”, giving the name to the ethnic group for which Louisiana has been home for about 300 years.
3. Course including romaine and croutons : CAESAR SALAD
The Caesar salad was created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini at the Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico. The original recipe called for whole lettuce leaves that were to be lifted up by the stem and eaten with the fingers.
4. Greenhouse gas protocol city : KYOTO
The Kyoto Protocol is designed to fight global warming and was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Almost 200 states have since signed the protocol and have committed to achieving the year 2012 targets laid down in the document. The most notable signature absent on the document is one representing the United States, as we are responsible for over one third of the greenhouse gases emitted across the world. The other significant polluters that have not ratified the agreement are China, India and Brazil.
6. Get-up-and-go : BRIO
“Brio” is borrowed from Italian, in which language it means vigor and vivacity. “Con brio” is a musical direction often found on a score, instructing the musicians to play “with energy, vigor”.
8. Mar. 17th honoree : ST PAT
There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.
9. Horn of Africa nation : ERITREA
Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for the anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.
The Horn of Africa is that horn-shaped peninsula at the easternmost tip of the continent, containing the countries Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia as well as Somalia. The Horn of Africa is also known as the Somali Peninsula.
12. G.I. doll : JOE
G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.
13. Dead Sea country: Abbr. : ISR
The Dead Sea is a salt lake that lies over 1,000 feet below sea level in the Middle East. It is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, with a salt content that is almost ten times that of most oceans.
19. Lawrence’s land : ARABIA
British Army officer T. E. Lawrence acted as a liaison during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks during WWI. Lawrence’s own writings of his adventures, as well reports in the news media, led to him gaining a reputation as a dashing figure and earned him the moniker “Lawrence of Arabia”.
21. U2’s “The Joshua Tree” co-producer Brian : ENO
“The Joshua Tree” is a 1987 album by Irish band U2 that really propelled the band into the realm of superstars. The album spawned three hit singles: “With or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name”.
25. Residents around the Leaning Tower : PISANS
The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …
26. __ up: came clean : FESSED
The term “fess” is most often seen as part of the phrasal verb “to fess up” meaning “to admit to something”. “Fess” is simply a shortened form of “confess”.
27. Saddle knob : POMMEL
A “pommel” is a decorative (usually) knob, perhaps on the hilt of a sword or on the front of a saddle. The term ultimately comes from the Latin “pomum” meaning “apple”, a reference the a pommel’s roundness.
30. Madame Bovary : EMMA
“Madame Bovary” is the most famous novel written by Gustave Flaubert. The title character is a doctor’s wife named Emma Bovary, who lives a luxurious life beyond her means and has many adulterous affairs. The novel had a rousing reception, first being attacked by public prosecutors as obscenity, which I am sure later helped it to become a bestseller.
31. Language of Copenhagen, in Copenhagen : DANSK
The Danish language (“Dansk” in Danish) is not only spoken in Denmark, but also in the Southern Schleswig region of northern Germany. One of the distinctive characteristics of Dansk is that it has 27 phonetically distinctive vowels.
Copenhagen is the largest city and the capital of Denmark. I haven’t had the privilege of visiting Copenhagen, but I hear it is a wonderful metropolis with a marvelous quality of life. The city is also very environmentally friendly, with over a third of its population commuting to work by bicycle.
33. Culinary meas. : TBSP
Our word “culinary” means “of the kitchen, of food”. The term derives from the Latin “culina” meaning “kitchen, food”. As an aside, “culina” is also the source of our word “kiln”.
46. Last Olds models : ALEROS
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.
51. Place to keep a camper, for short : RV LOT
One using a “recreational vehicle” (RV) might be called an “RVer”.
54. Mets’ old stadium : SHEA
Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.
55. “Casablanca” woman : ILSA
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 …
56. Boston NBAer : CELT
The Boston Celtics NBA basketball team were founded just after WWII in 1946. The Celtics won eight league championships in a row from 1958 to 1966. That’s the longest consecutive championship winning streak of any professional sports team in North America.
57. Protected from the wind : ALEE
“Alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing “aweather”.
58. Some male dolls : KENS
Barbie’s male counterpart doll is Ken, and Ken’s family name is Carson. Barbie’s full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts. When Ken was introduced in 1959, it was as Barbie’s boyfriend. In 2004 it was announced that Ken and Barbie were splitting up, and needed to spend quality time apart. Soon after the split, Barbie “met” Blaine, a boogie boarder from Australia.
60. NASDAQ debut : IPO
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).
The NASDAQ trading system created in 1971 is the successor to the over-the-counter (OTC) trading system that was common at the time. OTC trading is done directly between two parties without being facilitated by an exchange.
61. Health supplements co. : GNC
General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.