Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are almost repeated words. The first word is the same as the second, but with a single-letter O replaced with a double-letter O:
- 17A. Place for a haircut and a whiskey? : SALOON SALON
- 27A. Storage solution for Disney? : CARTOON CARTON
- 43A. Farmer’s wake-up duty list? : ROOSTER ROSTER
- 57A. How to ask journalist Roberts if she’d like an Oreo? : COOKIE COKIE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Scalawag : SCAMP
Back in the 16th or 17th centuries, the word “scamp” was used to describe a highway robber. The usage evolved to mean “rascal” in the early 1800s.
The American word “scalawag” meaning “rogue” was used as a nickname for southern white people who supported reconstruction after the Civil War.
6. Barber’s razor targets, at times : NAPES
Our term “barber” comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin “barba” meaning “beard”. Barbers originally offered a wide range of services, including surgery. Henry VIII restricted barbers to just haircutting … and dentistry!
14. Ann __, Michigan : ARBOR
Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns’ Arbor)
20. James Bond is one : SPY
James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …
22. “Ho ho ho” holiday guy : SANTA
The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.
25. James Watt, by birth : SCOT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.
27. Storage solution for Disney? : CARTOON CARTON
The word “cartoon” was originally used for a “drawing on strong paper”, a durable drawing used as a model for another work. The term comes from the French word “carton” meaning “heavy paper, pasteboard”. Cartoons have been around a long time, with some of the most famous having being drawn by Leonardo da Vinci.
33. Pago Pago’s place : SAMOA
Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa in the South Pacific. The island was used by the US Navy during WWII and it managed to escape most of the conflict. The only military incident of consequence was the shelling of the city’s harbor by a Japanese submarine. A more devastating event was the tsunami that hit Pago Pago and surrounding areas in 2009, causing widespread damage and numerous deaths.
34. Singer Edith known as “The Little Sparrow” : PIAF
La Môme Piaf (the little sparrow) was the nickname of France’s most famous singer, Édith Piaf. What a voice this woman had, and what gorgeous ballads she sang. Édith Piaf lived a life that was not without controversy. She was raised by her mother in a brothel in Normandy, and had a pimp as a boyfriend in her teens. She had one child, while very young, born illegitimately and who died at 2-years-old from meningitis. Her singing career started when she was discovered in the Pigalle area of Paris by nightclub owner Louis Leplée. Leplée was murdered soon after, and Piaf was accused of being an accessory to the murder but was later acquitted. During World War II she was branded a traitor by many as she frequently performed for the German occupying forces, although there are other reports of her supporting the resistance movement. Later in her life she was seriously injured in no less than three, near-fatal car accidents, including one with her friend, Charles Aznavour. While recovering from her injuries she became addicted to pain medication, an addiction that lasted for the rest of her life. When she died in 1963 she was denied a Catholic funeral mass because of her lifestyle, but the crowds that turned out for her funeral procession managed to stop all traffic in Paris, the only time that has happened since the end of WWII.
37. Final notice? : OBIT
“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.
38. Taps instrument : BUGLE
“Taps” is played nightly by the US military, indicating “lights out”. It’s also known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby” as it is a variation of an older bugle call named the “Scott Tattoo”, arranged during the Civil War by the Union Army’s Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield. The tune is called “Taps”, from the notion of drum taps, as it was originally played on a drum, and only later on a bugle. The whole tune comprises just 24 notes, with there only being four different notes within the 24, i.e. “low G”, C, E and “high G”. Minimalism at its best …
39. Dust __: tiny house critter : MITE
According to the American Lung Association, about four out of five homes in the US have dust mites in at least one bed. Houses with carpets are more likely to have dust mites, as are homes in humid parts of the country. Dust mites can be eradicated from by exposing them to a temperature over 105 degrees C in a clothes dryer.
40. Panhandles : BEGS
“To panhandle” is “to beg”. The term has been in use since the very early 1900s and probably comes from the sticking out of one’s hand and arm, like the handle of a pan.
42. Problem during sleep : APNEA
Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.
46. Hawaiian strings : UKES
The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.
47. High-tech rte. finder : GPS
A global positioning system (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).
53. Hockey great Bobby : ORR
Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking.
56. __ Wednesday : ASH
In the Christian tradition, the first day in the season of Lent is called Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, Palm Crosses from the prior year’s Palm Sunday are burned. The resulting ashes are mixed with sacred oil and then used to anoint worshipers on the forehead with the shape of a cross.
57. How to ask journalist Roberts if she’d like an Oreo? : COOKIE COKIE
Cokie Roberts is a great journalist and author, best known for her work with National Public Radio.
61. 2016 Olympics city : RIO
Even though the 2016 Olympic Games was a “summer” competition, it was held in Rio de Janeiro in the winter. As Rio is in the southern hemisphere, the opening ceremony on 5th August 2016 fell in the local season of winter. The 2016 games was also the first to be held in South America, and the first to be hosted by a Portuguese-speaking country.
62. Blacksmith’s block : ANVIL
A blacksmith is someone who forges and shapes iron, perhaps to make horseshoes. A farrier is someone who fits horseshoes onto the hooves of horses. The term “blacksmith” is sometimes used for one who shoes horses, especially as many blacksmiths make horseshoes and fit them as well.
63. “Lady and the __” : TRAMP
“Lady and the Tramp” is a classic animated feature from Walt Disney, released in 1955. The title characters are a female American Cocker Spaniel and a male stray mutt. Who can forget the scene where the Tramp and Lady are “on a date” and together eat that one strand of spaghetti? So cute!
65. Boglike : PEATY
When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because this decaying matter can form peat, and we have lots and lots of peat bogs.
66. Eye sores : STYES
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.
2. Losing casino roll : CRAP
“To crap out” is to make a losing roll on the first throw in a game of craps. A losing roll (aka “a crap”) is a roll of 2, 3 or 12.
If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.
5. Equitably divided : PRO RATA
“Pro rata” is a Latin phrase meaning “in proportion”.
6. Skylab org. : NASA
Skylab was sent into orbit by NASA in 1973 and continued to circle the Earth there until 1979. Although it was in orbit for many years, Skylab was only occupied by astronauts for 171 days, in three missions in 1973-1974. Skylab burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere a lot earlier than expected, showering some huge chunks of debris on our friends in Australia.
7. Eve’s mate : ADAM
According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.
13. Test version : BETA
In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the “alpha” version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a “beta” and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.
27. Pole tossed in Highlands competitions : CABER
The caber toss must be the most recognizable event in the Scottish Highland Games. The tall pole is 19’ 6” long and weighs a whopping 175 pounds. The event may have originated with the practice of tossing large logs across chasms in order to cross them.
29. Numbered musical works : OPUSES
The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”.
30. Landlocked African country : NIGER
The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.
31. Sheeplike : OVINE
The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine”, meaning “like a sheep”.
32. Fertilizer ingredient : NITER
The chemical name for saltpeter (also called “niter, nitre”) is potassium nitrate. The exact origin of the name “saltpeter” isn’t clear, but it may have come from the Latin “sal petrae” meaning “stone salt”. The main use for potassium nitrate is as a fertilizer, a source of potassium and nitrogen. As it is a powerful oxidizing agent, it is also used in amateur rocket propellants. Anyone who has ignited one of those “engines” would have noticed the lilac-colored flame, indicating the presence of potassium.
44. Airport luggage checker : SKYCAP
A “skycap” is an airport porter, with the name coming from the term “redcap”, used for a railroad porter.
“Redcap” is a term used for a railroad station porter here in North America. That term comes from the fact that redcaps wear red caps!
48. Hawaiian food staple : TARO
The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.
51. “Laugh-In” segment : SKIT
“Laugh-In” was originally recorded as a one-off special for NBC in 1967, but it was so successful that it was brought back as a series to replace the waning “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Personally, back then I loved both shows!
54. “The __ of the Ancient Mariner” : RIME
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge first published in 1798. The publication of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is said to mark the beginning of the Romantic period of British literature. Perhaps the lines most often quoted from the poem are:
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where
Nor any drop to drink
60. Leftover morsel : ORT
Orts are small scraps of food left after a meal. “Ort” comes from Middle English, and originally described scraps left by animals.