Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers comprise two words starting with the letters KC, which sounds like “Casey” …
- 67A. Strikeout victim of poetry, and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : CASEY (sounds like “KC”)
- 17A. *Home of baseball’s Royals : KANSAS CITY
- 24A. *Diagonally : KITTY-CORNER
- 34A. *Large venomous snake : KING COBRA
- 51A. *Hang out (with) : KEEP COMPANY
- 60A. *Martial arts move : KARATE CHOP
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. __ torch: party light : TIKI
A tiki torch is a bamboo torch that’s very commonly used in Tiki culture. Tiki culture is a relatively modern invention dating from the 20th century, and is the experience created in Polynesian-style restaurants. The word “Tiki” is borrowed from Polynesia.
10. “Eleni” author Nicholas : GAGE
Nicholas Gage (born Nikolaos Gatzoyiannis) is a Greek-American author and investigative journalist. Gage wrote two memoirs, “Eleni” and “A Place for Us”. “Eleni” tells of his life in Greece during WWII and the Greek Civil War. The title is a tribute to his mother Eleni who was executed by Communists who occupied her village, simply because she helped her children escape from the ravages of a war of occupation. “Eleni” was adapted into a movie in 1985, with John Malkovich playing Gage.
15. Carne __: taco filling : ASADA
The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.
17. *Home of baseball’s Royals : KANSAS CITY
The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball team was founded in 1969. The team takes its name from the American Royal, a livestock show and rodeo held annually in Kansas City since 1899.
19. Online journal : BLOG
Many folks who visit this website regard it as just that, a website. That is true, but more correctly it is referred to as a blog, as I make regular posts (actually daily posts) which then occupy the “front page” of the site. The blog entries are in reverse chronological order, and one can just look back day-by-day, reading older and older posts. “Blog” is a contraction of the term “web log”.
21. Sign light : NEON
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.
22. Dutch cheese : GOUDA
Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, given it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.
23. Federal hush-hush org. : NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.
24. *Diagonally : KITTY-CORNER
“Kitty-corner” means “diagonally opposite”. Apparently, the term is used mainly in the north and west of the US.
30. “Silk Stockings” actress Charisse : CYD
Actress Cyd Charisse was famous for her dancing ability and the many roles she played opposite Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Charisse carved out a career based on dance despite the fact that she suffered from polio as a child. In fact, she took up ballet at the age of twelve to help build up her strength as she recovered from the disease.
“Silk Stockings” is a 1957 musical film starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, The film is based on the 1955 stage musical of the same name by Cole Porter and Abe Burrows, which in turn is based on Hungarian writer Melchior Lengyel’s 1939 story “Ninotchka”. Charisse plays Ninotchka Yoschenko in the film.
32. Gumbo vegetable : 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.
34. *Large venomous snake : KING COBRA
The king cobra isn’t a cobra at all and rather belongs to its own genus. The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake and can grow to over 18 feet in length.
43. Nile wading bird : IBIS
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!
47. Here, in Haiti : ICI
“Vous êtes ici” are important words to know when navigating your way around Paris. They mean “You are here”, and you’ll often see them on maps in the street.
The Republic of Haiti occupies the smaller, western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The rest of the island is taken up by the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of only two nations in the Americas to have French as an official language, the other being Canada.
48. Santa __ winds : ANA
The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.
49. GI’s mess work : KP DUTY
KP is a US military slang term that stands for either “kitchen police” or “kitchen patrol”.
“Mess” first came into English about 1300 and described the list of food needed for a meal, from the Old French word “mes” meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This usage in English evolved into “mess” meaning a jumbled mass of anything from the concept of “mixed food”. At the same time, the original usage in the sense of a food for a meal surfaced again in the military in the 1500s when a “mess” was a communal eating place.
57. Not on base when req. : AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).
58. Org. whose awards ceremony Vince Gill hosted or co-hosted from 1992-2003 : CMA
Country Music Association (CMA)
Vince Gill is a country music singer-songwriter. Gill has been honored with 20 Grammy Awards, which is more than any other male country singer.
59. Indian bread : NAAN
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.
60. *Martial arts move : KARATE CHOP
Karate, means “open hand”, and the related word “karaoke” means “open orchestra”.
“Martial arts” are various fighting traditions and systems used in combat or simply to promote physical well-being. The term ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.
63. Raison d’__ : ETRE
“Raison d’être” is a French phrase meaning “reason for existence”.
67. Strikeout victim of poetry, and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : CASEY (sounds like “KC”)
“Casey at the Bat” is a poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer, first published in the San Francisco Examiner. The poem became very popular due to repeated live performances in vaudeville by DeWolf Hopper. Casey played for the Mudville Nine, and the last line of the poem is “But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.”
68. Canadian tribe : CREE
The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.
3. Japanese ball-and-cups toy : KENDAMA
Kendama is a traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ball on a string attached to a “ken”. The ken consists of three cups and a spike, either of which can be used to “catch” the ball.
4. Passports, e.g. : IDS
As a result of a League of Nations conference in 1920, passports are usually written in French and one other language. French was specified back then as it was deemed the language of diplomacy. US passports use French and English, given that English is the nation’s de facto national language. Spanish was added as a language for US passports in the late nineties in recognition of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico.
6. Foppish neckwear : ASCOT
An Ascot tie is a horrible-looking (I think!), wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.
8. Summer hrs. at Yankee Stadium : EDT
Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in New York City cost $1.5m to construct, making it the most expensive baseball stadium ever built.
10. Eva or Zsa Zsa : GABOR
Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1966. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was a Hungarian American actress, born in Budapest as Sári Gábor (the older sister of the actress Eva). Zsa Zsa Gabor married a whopping nine times, including a 5-year stint with Conrad Hilton and another 5 years with the actor George Sanders. One of Gabor’s famous quips was that she was always a good housekeeper, as after every divorce she kept the house!
12. The one without the patch, for Bazooka Joe : GOOD EYE
The Bazooka brand of bubble gum was introduced by the Topps Company soon after the end of WWII. Bazooka have included comic strips in the wrappers for their gum since the early to mid-fifties. The hero of the strip if Bazooka Joe, a young man who wears an eyepatch.
13. Dueler’s cry : EN GARDE!
“En garde” is a French term that has been absorbed into the sport of fencing. Originally a warning “on guard!”, it is spoken at the start of an encounter to warn the fencers to take a defensive position.
18. “Puppy Love” singer Paul : ANKA
“Puppy Love” is a song written and recorded by Paul Anka in 1960. He wrote the song for his girlfriend at the time, the actress and singer Annette Funicello. “Puppy Love” was covered by Donny Osmond who had a big hit with it in 1972.
25. Ono from Tokyo : YOKO
Yoko Ono was born into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Her father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.
28. Mork’s planet : ORK
The sitcom “Mork & Mindy” was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were first introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams) in a special episode of “Happy Days”. The particular episode in question has a bizarre storyline culminating in Fonzie and Mork having a thumb-to-finger duel. Eventually Richie wakes up in bed, and alien Mork was just part of a dream! Oh, and “Nanu Nanu” means both “hello” and “goodbye” back on the planet Ork. “I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu”. Great stuff …
32. Med. condition that may involve excessive hand-washing : OCD
Apparently obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.
35. Apple desktops : IMACS
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such strawberry, blueberry and lime.
36. Bogotá boy : NINO
Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia. Noted for having many libraries and universities, Bogotá is sometimes referred to as “The Athens of South America”.
37. Glittery rock genre : GLAM
I remember the days of glam rock so well, as it was a hugely popular genre of music in the British Isles during the early seventies. Artistes wore the wildest of clothes, big hair, shiny outfits and really high platform boots. Names associated with glam rock are T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music and Gary Glitter.
40. Protective plastic film : ACETATE
The protective film that might be referred to as “acetate” is actually cellulose acetate. The same material is used to make transparencies that can be projected onto a screen. As a result, transparencies are sometimes referred to as “acetates”.
46. Neural transmission point : SYNAPSE
A synapse is a junction between a nerve cell and another cell over which an electrical or chemical signal can pass.
50. Gomer of TV : PYLE
Jim Nabors was discovered by Andy Griffith and brought onto “The Andy Griffith Show” as Gomer Pyle, the gas station attendant. Famously, Nabors then got his own show called “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”
52. Corn breads : PONES
“Pone” is another word for corn bread, from the Powhatan word “apan” meaning “something baked”.
53. “Les Misérables” city : PARIS
The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London quite a few years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The theater seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor who had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.
60. Col. Sanders’ chain : KFC
The famous “Colonel” of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame was Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur from Henryville, Indiana. Although not really a “Colonel”, Sanders did indeed serve in the military. He enlisted in the Army as a private in 1906 at the age of 16, lying about his age. He spent the whole of his time in the Army as a soldier in Cuba. It was much later, in the 1930s, that Sanders went into the restaurant business making his specialty deep-fried chicken. By 1935 his reputation as a “character” had grown, so much so that Governor Ruby Laffoon of Kentucky gave Sanders the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel”. Later in the fifties, Sanders developed his trademark look with the white suit, string tie, mustache and goatee. When Sanders was 65 however, his business failed and in stepped Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s. Thomas simplified the Sanders menu, cutting it back from over a hundred items to just fried chicken and salads. That was enough to launch KFC into the fast food business. Sanders sold the US franchise in 1964 for just $2 million and moved to Canada to grow KFC north of the border. He died in 1980 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky. The Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is indeed a trade secret. Apparently there is only one copy of the recipe, a handwritten piece of paper, written in pencil and signed by Colonel Sanders. Since 2009, the piece of paper has been locked in a computerized vault surrounded with motion detectors and security cameras.
61. __ carte : A LA
On a restaurant menu, items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately. A menu marked “table d’hôte” (also called “prix fixe”) is a fixed-price menu with limited choice.
62. Atlanta-based public health org. : CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …