Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are well-known phrases, but with the second letter doubled. The result is a “punny” answer with the first three letters creating an interjection referred to in the clue:
17A. What Dobermans do for dinner? : GRR-AB A BITE (from “grab a bite”)
24A. Super-cold concoction at Baskin-Robbins? : BRR-AIN FREEZE (from “brain freeze”)
41A. World’s stealthiest detective? : SHH-ERLOCK HOLMES (from “Sherlock Holmes”)
52A. Cutest Baby contest champion? : AWW-ARD WINNER (from “award winner”)
65A. Massage epiphany? : AHH-A MOMENT (from “aha moment”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. The Miners of the Lone Star St. : UTEP
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was founded in 1914, originally as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. To this day there is a mine shaft on the campus, and the mascot of the school’s sports teams is Paydirt Pete, a prospector from the mining industry. The teams are also known as the UTEP Miners and Lady Miners.
The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single gold star on a blue background symbolized Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.
5. Eurasia’s __ Mountains : URAL
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.
9. Fundraising gps. : PTAS
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
13. Caesar’s France : GAUL
The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.
14. Marner of fiction : SILAS
“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.
16. Hindustani language : URDU
Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.
“Hindustan” is a historical name for the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. The name translates as “Land of the Hindus”. I am told by a kind blog reader that the term “Hindustan” is frowned on by some in India because of its religious connotation.
17. What Dobermans do for dinner? : GRR-AB A BITE (from “grab a bite”)
The Doberman Pinscher is a breed of dog that was developed around 1890 in Germany. The person responsible for introducing the breed was Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, explaining the “Doberman” (sometimes “Dobermann”) name. “Pinschers” are a group of Germanic breeds that probably owe their name to the English word “pinch”, a reference to the tradition of cropping (pinching) the ears.
21. Titanic undoing : BERG
A mill pond is a reservoir for a mill that is powered by water, often created by building a mill dam across a river or stream. The term “mill pond” is also used in the expression “it’s like a mill pond”, meaning that the water is flat and calm. Famously, the words, “It’s like a mill pond” were uttered by Captain Edward Smith, not long before his ship (the Titanic) hit an iceberg …
24. Super-cold concoction at Baskin-Robbins? : BRR-AIN FREEZE (from “brain freeze”)
The Baskin-Robbins chain of ice cream parlors is the largest in the word. The chain was founded by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in Glendale, California in 1945. The company started using the slogan “31 flavors” in 1953, suggesting that a customer could order a different flavor of ice cream on every day of every month.
28. Yale alum : ELI
Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.
31. Longtime Yankees announcer __ Allen : MEL
For many years, the sportscaster Mel Allen was the play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees, and known as the “Voice of the New York Yankees”. Allen was also the first host of television’s “This Week in Baseball”.
32. First to play James : SEAN
Sean Connery is most famous for playing the original James Bond in the successful series of movies. Back in his native Scotland, Connery is very active in politics and is a member of the Scottish Nationalist Party. He actively campaigns for Scottish independence from Britain and has stated that he believes Scotland will achieve that goal within his own lifetime. Whether that happens or not, is the subject of much speculation …
33. Tall and lean : LANK
The term “lank” can describe something that is straight and flat, particularly hair. The usage was extended in the early 1800s (especially in the form “lanky”) to mean “awkwardly tall and thin”.
41. World’s stealthiest detective? : SHH-ERLOCK HOLMES (from “Sherlock Holmes”)
According to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his Sherlock Holmes character was based on a Dr. Joseph Bell for whom Doyle worked in Edinburgh. That said, Bell actually wrote a letter to Doyle in which he said “you are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it”.
46. Crowd-sourced review site : YELP
yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.
“Crowdsourcing” is mainly an online phenomenon, and is the solicitation of perhaps services, ideas or content from a large group of people. “Crowdsourcing” is a portmanteau of “crowd” and “outsourcing”. One example of crowdsourcing is “crowdfunding”, where an individual solicits many small contributions from a large number of people to fund a project.
51. See 56-Down : SLY
(56D. Repeating movie role for 51-Across : RAMBO)
If ever there was a movie that defines a career breakthrough for an actor, it would have to be “Rocky” for Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was a struggling actor in 1975 when a Muhammad Ali fight inspired Stallone to write a screenplay for a boxing movie, which he did in just three days. His efforts to sell the script went well but for the fact that the interested studios wanted a big name for the lead role, and Stallone was determined to be the star himself. Stallone persevered and “Rocky” was eventually made with him playing title role of Rocky Balboa. The movie won three Oscars, and “Sly” Stallone had arrived …
57. Security briefing org. : CIA
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.
63. Singer 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.
70. Phi __ Kappa : BETA
Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.
71. Banks of 2000s TV talk : 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.
73. “The Osbournes” patriarch : OZZY
English singer Ozzy Osbourne became famous in the seventies as the lead singer of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. His level of success soared again in the early 2000s when he appeared in an MTV reality show called “The Osbournes”, along with his wife Sharon and two of his three children, Kelly and Jack. Ozzy and Sharon’s eldest child, Aimee, refused to sign up for the show, opting instead for some level of privacy.
1. Brand of sheepskin boots : UGGS
Uggs are sheepskin boots that originated in Australia and New Zealand. 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.
3. Italian capital : EURO
Euro coins are issued by all the participating European states. The reverse side is a common design used by all countries, whereas the obverse is a design specific to each nation. For example, the one euro coin issued by Malta features the Maltese Cross. That Maltese euro is legal tender right across the eurozone. Of course the Irish euro features a harp.
5. __ Today : USA
The title of widest circulation of any American newspaper is an honor competed for by “The Wall Street Journal” and “USA Today”, with each paper selling about 2 million copies each day (including online subscribers). “USA Today” was launched in 1982.
10. DBA followers : TRADE NAMES
Doing business as (DBA)
11. Madison Ave. field : AD BIZ
Madison Avenue became the center of advertising in the US in the twenties, and serves as the backdrop to the great TV drama “Mad Men”. There aren’t many advertising agencies left on Madison Avenue these days though, as most have moved to other parts of New York City. The street takes its name from Madison Square, which is bounded on one side by Madison Avenue. The square in turn takes its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.
15. Feudal laborers : SERFS
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.
18. Protective barrier : BERM
The term “berm” can be used to describe a physical barrier of some kind. Berms can be constructed along a highway to protect those living and working nearby from noise pollution.
22. El __ : GRECO
“El Greco” (“the Greek”, in Spanish) was the nickname of the artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, and moved to Venice to study art when he was in his early twenties. A few years later he moved to the city of Toledo in central Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.
28. Designer Schiaparelli : ELSA
Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer, a great rival of the perhaps more famous Coco Chanel. Schiaparelli was most successful between the two World Wars, but her business closed in 1954 as she failed to adapt to changing tastes after WWII.
29. Cowardly Lion portrayer : LAHR
Bert Lahr’s most famous role was the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. Lahr had a long career in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Lahr also starred in the first US production of Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot”, alongside Tom Ewell.
34. Singer who formerly stylized her name with a dollar sign : KESHA
Kesha (formerly “Ke$ha”) is the stage name used by singer Kesha Rose Sebert.
36. “__ du lieber!” : ACH
The German exclamation “Ach du lieber” translates as “Oh dear”.
50. Uruguayan money : PESO
The coin called a “peso” is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.
53. Like Oscar Wilde : WITTY
If you didn’t know Oscar Wilde was Irish, you will when you see the name he was given at birth: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde!
54. Mackerel relative : WAHOO
The wahoo is a cousin of the mackerel, and is known as the “ono” in Hawaii.
56. Repeating movie role for 51-Across : RAMBO
(51A. See 56-Down : SLY)
“First Blood” was the original of the four “Rambo” films starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But action all the way …
61. Animated bug film : ANTZ
“Antz” was the first feature movie released by Dreamworks SKG, the studio founded by Steven Spielberg and two partners in 1994. “Antz” came out in 1998, and has a stellar cast that includes Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and many, many other big names. The cartoon is quite unique in that the facial features of the voice actors are reflected in the animated characters.
64. Org. for docs : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)
67. AOL alternative : MSN
The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a web portal.