Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers comprise two words, the first ending in A and the second starting with M. So, we have the letters “AM”, the abbreviation for MORNING, in the MIDDLE of each answer:
- 57A. Coffee break time … and a hint to an abbreviation aptly placed in each answer to a starred clue : MIDMORNING
- 17A. *Niña and Pinta’s sister ship : SANTA MARIA
- 28A. *Leader of the pack : ALPHA MALE
- 44A. *Yale, for five U.S. presidents : ALMA MATER
- 11D. *Renamed lemon-lime soft drink : SIERRA MIST
- 27D. *Spot for bargain hunters : FLEA MARKET
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. “__ Noon”: Gary Cooper classic : HIGH
I am not a huge fan of western movies, but “High Noon” works for me. The film has a great cast, with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly in the lead roles. I suppose I like the film because it doesn’t fit the mold as a typical western with lots of predictable action sequences. That said, when “High Noon” first hit theaters it was not popular with audiences, largely because moviegoers were expecting the formulaic western film. One interesting feature of the storyline is that the sequence of events takes place in approximate real time.
Hollywood actor Gary Cooper has been described as a “very uncommon common man”. This is a reference to his uncommon, understated acting style, and the fact that he played the champion of the common man in so many films, such as “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”, “Meet John Doe”, “Sergeant York”, “The Pride of the Yankees” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.
5. Tippy watercraft : CANOE
The boat called a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.
14. Length-times-width calculation : AREA
The area of a rectangle is determined by multiplying its length by its width.
17. *Niña and Pinta’s sister ship : SANTA MARIA
When Columbus made his famous voyage of discovery, the largest of his three ships was the Santa Maria. The Santa Maria ran aground on the coast of Hispaniola on Christmas Day in 1492 and was lost. 39 of Columbus’s men were left behind with the permission of the locals. These men stripped the timbers from the Santa Maria and used them to build a settlement they called La Navidad (Spanish for “Christmas”). La Navidad is now the modern town of Môle-Saint-Nicolas in the Republic of Haiti.
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.
Famously, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Niña and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted, by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana who was a lookout on the fateful day. Pinta was a nickname for the ship that translated as “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in mists of time.
21. Number of little pigs, in a fable : THREE
The fairy tale of “The Three Little Pigs” has been around for centuries, although it first appeared in print in the 1840s. One little pig built a house using straw and another built one using wood. The cleverest little pig built its house using bricks.
37. “__ you go again!” : THERE
There was just one televised debate between the candidates in the 1980 US presidential election. At one point in the exchange, President Carter was attacking then-Governor Reagan’s position on Medicare. Governor Reagan responded with the line “There you go again”, and in the process seemed to gain the upper hand in the exchange. The phrase was so effective that President Reagan used it in future exchanges during his presidency.
39. Like Solomon : WISE
According to the Bible, Solomon was the son of David and a king of Israel. Notably, Solomon is described as being very wise. In the story known as “the Judgment of Solomon”, Solomon was asked to decide who of two quarreling women was the mother of a baby. He suggested that they cut the baby in two with a sword, forcing one of the women to surrender the child rather than see it die. Solomon gave the child to the woman who showed compassion.
40. Aunt, in Argentina : TIA
Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and geographically is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.
41. Fashionably smart : CHIC
“Chic” is a French word meaning “stylish”.
42. Crusty roll : KAISER
The Kaiser roll was invented in Vienna, Austria. It is thought that the “Kaiser” name was applied to the crusty roll in honor of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I.
44. *Yale, for five U.S. presidents : ALMA MATER
The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.
47. “SNL” host’s monologue, e.g. : INTRO
“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)
48. Door-to-door cosmetics seller : AVON
In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.
Our term “cosmetic” ultimately comes from the Greek “kosmos” meaning “order”. The idea was that something cosmetic beautified the body, put it in “order”.
49. Cavalry sword, in Sussex : SABRE
A saber (sometimes “sabre”) is a sword with a curved blade and a relatively large hand guard. It is thought that the term originated with the Hungarian verb “szabni” meaning “to cut”.
Sussex is a county in the very southeast of England, lying right on the English Channel. The county of Sussex has about the same boundaries as the ancient Kingdom of Sussex, a Saxon colony that existed for about five hundred years until the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Hastings, a town on the Sussex coast, was the site of the first battle of the Norman Conquest of England.
51. Kitchen cover-up? : APRON
In Old French, a “naperon” was “small table-cloth”. The term was absorbed into English as “napron”, describing a cloth used to cover the front of a person at work. Over time, “a napron” was heard as “an apron”, giving us our contemporary word.
53. Granola alternative : MUESLI
“Muesli” is a Swiss-German term describing a breakfast serving of oats, nuts, fruit and milk. “Muesli” is a diminutive of the German word “Mues” meaning “puree”. Delicious …
The name “Granola” (and “Granula”) were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.
56. Luau torch type : 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.
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
61. Opinion column, for short : OP-ED
“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.
63. Director Preminger : OTTO
Otto Preminger was noted for his films that pushed the envelope in terms of subject matter, at least in the fifties and sixties. Great examples would be 1955’s “The Man with the Golden Arm” that dealt with drug addiction, 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder” that dealt with rape, and 1962’s “Advise and Consent” that dealt with homosexuality. If you’ve seen these films, you’ll have noticed that the references are somewhat indirect and disguised, in order to get past the censors.
64. Baseball’s “Amazins” : METS
The New York Mets baseball team was founded in 1962, a replacement for two teams that the city had lost, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. For several years the Mets played very poorly, finishing no better than second-to-last in their division. Then of course along came the “Miracle Mets” (aka “Amazin’ Mets”) who beat the Baltimore Orioles in 1969 to claim the World Series in a huge upset.
65. Bamboo lover : PANDA
The giant panda is a bear, and so has the digestive system of a carnivore. However, the panda lives exclusively on bamboo, even though its gut is relatively poorly adapted to extract nutrients from plants per se. The panda relies on microbes in its gut to digest cellulose, and consumes 20-30 pounds of bamboo each day to gain enough nourishment.
66. Karate award : BELT
Karate, means “open hand”, and the related word “karaoke” means “open orchestra”.
2. Tax-sheltered plans: Abbr. : IRAS
Individual retirement account (IRA)
3. Heredity unit : GENE
A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.
5. Cleaner sold in green canisters : COMET
The Comet brand of household cleanser produced a famous series of ads in the sixties through the eighties that featured a character known as “Josephine the Plumber”. Played by actress Jane Withers, she was noted for uttering the line “Nothing can hold a can to Comet!”
6. National park in Maine : ACADIA
Acadia National Park in Maine was created in 1919, although back then it was called Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette who famously supported the American Revolution. The park was renamed to Acadia in 1929.
7. ATM maker : NCR
NCR is an American company that has been in business since 1884, and was originally called the National Cash Register Company. The company has done well in a market where new technologies seem to be constantly disrupting the status quo.
8. Avignon assent : OUI
Avignon is a city in the southeast of France on the Rhône river. Avignon is sometimes called the “City of Popes” as it was home to seven popes during the Catholic schism from 1309 to 1423.
10. “O Canada,” e.g. : ANTHEM
Canada’s national anthem “O Canada” was commissioned in 1880 by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, so the original words are in French. The first English translation was made in 1906. The current English lyrics have been revised a few times, but the French version remains the same as it did back in 1880.
O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land, glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee;
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
11. *Renamed lemon-lime soft drink : SIERRA MIST
Sierra Mist was a brand of lemon-lime soft drink introduced by PepsiCo in 1999. The drink’s name was changed to Mist Twist in 2016.
12. Clearasil target : ACNE
Clearasil acne medication was developed in 1940 by Ivan Combe and Kedzie Teller. Combe promoted the product by sponsoring the television show “American Bandstand” for many years.
13. Rose of baseball : PETE
Pete Rose was a talented baseball player who holds the record for all-time Major League hits. Rose’s nickname was “Charlie Hustle”. In recent years of course his reputation has been tarnished by admissions that he bet on games in which he played and managed.
21. Lipton products : TEAS
Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.
24. Princess Fiona’s beloved ogre : SHREK
Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.
26. NBC newsman Roger : O’NEIL
Roger O’Neil is a news reporter who has been working for NBC for over 30 years.
31. January, in Mexico : ENERO
In Spanish, we start the “año” (year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).
33. Hawke of “Boyhood” : ETHAN
Ethan Hawke is a Hollywood actor who made his breakthrough in a supporting role in “Dead Poet’s Society”, playing opposite Robin Williams. Hawke was married to Uma Thurman, with whom he has two children.
“Boyhood” sounds like an interesting 2014 film. It’s about the coming-of-age of a young boy and his older sister. The film was actually shot over an 11-year period, so that the actors were seen to be growing up at the same time as the characters that they were playing. The critics loved this movie.
38. Triple or homer : HIT
That would be baseball.
39. One who scoffs at boxed Merlot, say : WINE SNOB
The “box wine” package was invented in Australia, back in 1935. The original design had no tap, so the corner had to be cut off the bladder to get at the wine. The bladder with a tap was also invented in Australia, but not until 1967. I’ve done blind taste tests featuring bottled and boxed wines, and love the box concept, especially for a decent red wine …
Merlot is one of the main grapes used to make Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
51. Proton’s place : ATOM
A proton is a subatomic particle, with at least one found in the nucleus of every atom. A proton is not a “fundamental particle”, as it itself is made up of three quarks; two up quarks and one down quark.
58. Dockworker’s gp. : ILA
International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)