Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with a word that can follow the prefix “auto-”, that might be ON AUTO:
- 50D. Running by itself, and where the first words of 17-, 35-, 42- and 64-Across can be placed : ON AUTO
- 17A. Sheet for plotting in math class : GRAPH PAPER (giving “autograph”)
- 35A. Gridiron pass-defense scheme : ZONE COVERAGE (giving “AutoZone”)
- 42A. TV series starter : PILOT EPISODE (giving “autopilot”)
- 64A. Market research target : FOCUS GROUP (giving “autofocus”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Keebler cracker : ZESTA
Keebler’s Zesta Crackers are saltines.
F. L. Sommer & Company of St. Joseph, Missouri starting making wafer thin soda crackers in 1876. The crackers were later marketed as Saltines, due to the baking salt that was a key ingredient. Trademark protection of the term “saltine” was subsequently lost.
14. Reference containing insets : ATLAS
The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas”.
15. Big name in luxury hotels : OMNI
Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Irvine, California and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.
23. Menlo Park inventor : EDISON
Thomas Alva Edison (TAE) was nicknamed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, a name that stuck. He was indeed a wizard, in the sense that he was such a prolific inventor. The Menlo Park part of the moniker recognizes the location of his first research lab, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
25. Fort Worth sch. : TCU
Texas Christian University (TCU) is a private school in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU used to be called AddRan Male & Female, named after an AddRan Clark, the son of Addison Clark who died at the age of 3-years-old from diphtheria. Poor young AddRan was named after his father and his brother, Addison and Randolph.
26. Prohibition __ : ERA
The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.
29. Advent mo. : DEC
In the Christian traditions, Advent is the season of expectation prior to the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus. The term “Advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” meaning “coming”.
33. Author Capote : TRUMAN
The larger-than-life Truman “Tru” Capote was a celebrated author and comedian. Capote is perhaps most associated with his novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and his true crime novel “In Cold Blood”. Truman Capote grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. There he met, and became lifelong friends with, fellow novelist Harper Lee. Capote was the inspiration for the character “Dill” in Lee’s celebrated work “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In turn, Harper Lee was the inspiration for the character “Idabel” in Capote’s “Other Voices, Other Rooms”.
35. Gridiron pass-defense scheme : ZONE COVERAGE (giving “AutoZone”)
In some team sports, there is a choice between man-to-man defense and zone defense. In the former, each defensive player guards a corresponding player on the other team. In the latter, each defensive player covers a particular “zone” of the playing area.
AutoZone is the second-largest retailer of aftermarket automotive parts in the US (after Advance Auto Parts).
37. Brand for Fido : ALPO
Alpo is a brand of dog food first produced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?
“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.
49. Soft slip-on : MOC
“Moc” is short for “moccasin”, a type of shoe.
52. Traditional Asian sauce base : SOY
Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with a mold, in the presence of water and salt. Charming …
53. Seventh Greek letter : ETA
Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.
55. One-named Tejano singer : SELENA
Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as “Selena”, was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena’s life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role. Selena had often been referred to as the “Queen of Tejano” during her career.
Tejano is the Spanish word for “Texan”. Tejano music is strongly influenced by Cajun culture, because of the proximity of Texas to Louisiana. The other strong influence came with immigrants from the Poland and what is now the Czech Republic. These immigrants brought with them the waltz, polka … and the accordion.
57. Eggs __: brunch dish : BENEDICT
Eggs Benedict is a dish traditionally served at an American breakfast or brunch. It usually consists of a halved English muffin topped with ham and poached eggs, all smothered in Hollandaise sauce. The exact origin of the dish is apparently debated, but one story is that it is named for a Wall Street stockbroker called Lemuel Benedict. In 1894 in the Waldorf Hotel, Benedict ordered toast, poached eggs, crispy bacon and Hollandaise sauce as a cure for his hangover. The hotel’s maître d’ Oscar Tschirky was impressed by the dish and added the variant that we use today to the hotel’s menu, naming it for the gentleman who had first ordered it.
61. General Bradley : OMAR
Omar Bradley graduated from West Point in the class of 1915, along with Dwight Eisenhower who also attained the rank of General of the Army. Bradley was the last person to hold the rank of a five-star commissioned officer, and he was the first general to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was struck by a quotation from Bradley from later in his life:
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living.
70. Storied loch : NESS
The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.
71. Mystic’s deck : TAROT
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.
2. Online financial site : E*TRADE
E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade used to produce those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.
3. Like Croats and Serbs : SLAVIC
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:
- the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
- the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
- the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)
5. Volcanic debris : ASH
Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.
7. Miami Sound Machine sound machines : AMPS
Miami Sound Machine was a band that was founded as the Miami Latin Boys in 1975. Gloria García (now “Estefan”) joined as a vocalist in 1977, by which time the band had changed its name to Miami Sound Machine. A further name change came in 1987, to Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine.
8. Klutzy : INEPT
A “klutz” is an awkward individual, and the term comes from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.
9. Dish Network competitor : DIRECTV
DirecTV is a company providing television and audio programming via satellite. The company was founded in 1985 as Hughes Electronics Corporation, and became DirecTV in 1990.
11. Member of the Apocalypse quartet : HORSEMAN
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are introduced in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Each of the four represents woe for man, in the form of pestilence, war, famine and death. The four horsemen ride on a white, red, black and pale horse respectively.
12. Abu Dhabi’s fed. : UAE
Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.
13. Militant ’60s campus org. : SDS
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.
24. Tokyo-born Yoko : ONO
Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s 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.
27. Hindu melody : RAGA
Raga isn’t really a type of music, but has been described as the “tonal framework” in which Indian classical music is composed. Ravi Shankar was perhaps the most famous raga virtuoso (to us Westerners). Western rock music with a heavy Indian influence might be called raga rock.
32. Rx, for short : SCRIP
“Scrip” is an informal term for a prescription.
There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.
37. BOLO equivalents : APBS
A BOLO is a police alert, with the acronym standing for “be on the look-out”. A BOLO can also be called an APB, an “all-points bulletin”.
38. Disney’s “__ & Stitch” : LILO
“Lilo & Stitch” was released by Disney in 2002. Compared to other Disney feature-length cartoons, “Lilo & Stitch” was relatively cheaply produced, using the voices of lesser-known actors. One interesting change had to take place in the storyline during production, when Lilo was meant to fly a Jumbo Jet through downtown Honolulu in one sequence. This was replaced with a sequence using a spaceship instead, as the producers were sensitive to public sentiment after the September 11 attacks.
39. Don Juans : PLAYBOYS
Don Juan is a flighty character who has been featured by a number of authors, poets and composers, including Molière, Byron, and Mozart. In the underlying legend, Don Juan ends up talking to the statue of the dead father of one of his conquests. Don Juan dines with the ghost of the dead man and when shaking the hand of the ghost he is dragged away to hell. We now use the term “Don Juan” to describe any womanizer or ladies’ man.
43. Many a manga fan : TEEN
The Japanese word “manga” means “whimsical pictures” and is an apt term to describe the Japanese style of comic book. Manga publications are more diverse than American comic books and have a larger audience. Manga cover many subjects including romance, sports, business, horror, and mystery.
44. “Coming Out of the Dark” singer Gloria : ESTEFAN
“Coming Out of the Dark” is Gloria Estefan number that she released in 1991. The song was inspired by Estefan’s near-death experience when an 18-wheeler rammed into her tour bus in 1990.
46. Dr. with Grammys : DRE
Dr. Dre is the stage name of rapper Andre Romelle Young. Dr. Dre is known for his own singing career as well as for producing records and starting the careers of others such Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.
54. Photoshop maker : ADOBE
Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software used for editing graphics. When I first bought a copy of Photoshop, it was really expensive (about $300, ten years ago), but now there are cost-effective, stripped-down versions available. Also, the full version of Photoshop is now only available as a monthly subscription service.
56. Doone of fiction : LORNA
The novel “Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.
62. Cold War prez : IKE
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.
The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
63. Org. busting dealers : DEA
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)