Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each comprise two words. The word on the RIGHT in the grid is a type of LANE:
- 58A. Highway segment for slower traffic … and, literally, what 17-, 24-, 37- and 47-Across each has : RIGHT LANE
- 17A. Friends of man’s best friend : DOG LOVERS (from “lovers’ lane”)
- 24A. Sport involving some rolling on the grass : LAWN BOWLING (from “bowling lane”)
- 37A. Forgetting the unpleasant parts : SELECTIVE MEMORY (from “memory lane”)
- 47A. Tidy sum that doesn’t sound like much : PRETTY PENNY (from “Penny Lane”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Normandy battle town : ST LO
Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.
14. Together, musically : A DUE
“A due” is a musical term meaning “together”, and literally translates from Italian as “by two”.
15. Chips __!: cookies : AHOY
Chips Ahoy! is a Nabisco brand of chocolate chip cookies.
19. Columbus craft : PINTA
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. Diving lake bird : LOON
The bird known as a loon here in North America is called a diver in the British Isles. The name “diver” comes from the bird’s habit of swimming calmly and then suddenly diving below the surface to catch a fish. The name “loon” comes from an Old English word meaning “clumsy” and reflects the awkward gait of the bird when walking on land.
30. Rent-a-car giant : AVIS
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.
34. Banned bug spray : DDT
DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.
41. “Good” cholesterol initials : HDL
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is a compound that is used to transport fats around the body. When HDL is combined with (i.e. is transporting) cholesterol, it is often called “good cholesterol”. This is because HDL seems to remove cholesterol from where it should not be, say on the walls of arteries, and transports it to the liver for reuse or disposal. Important stuff …
47. Tidy sum that doesn’t sound like much : PRETTY PENNY (from “Penny Lane”)
When in their teens, Paul McCartney and John Lennon would often head into the center of Liverpool together on the bus. The convenient place for them to meet was at the end of Penny Lane. Years later, Paul McCartney wrote the song “Penny Lane”, which was a big hit in 1967. “Penny Lane” was released as a double A-side record with “Strawberry Fields Forever” penned by John Lennon. Coincidentally, Strawberry Field was also a real location, not far from Penny Lane in Liverpool. Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army Children’s Home in the garden of which Lennon would play as a child. I don’t think Lennon and McCartney ever really forgot their roots …
52. Overhead trains : ELS
Elevated railroad (El)
54. Contemporary radio station named for its former “easy listening” playlist : LITE FM
WLTW, 106.7 Lite FM, is a New York City radio station that broadcasts using a transmitter that sits at the top of the Empire State Building. Lite FM specializes in playing popular music from the 1980s to today, but avoiding rap, hard rock and country music that has crossed over to the pop genre. The “Lite FM” name was adopted in 1984 when the station began broadcasting what is often referred to as “elevator music”. The playlist has evolved a lot since then.
64. Bacon work : ESSAY
The English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon wrote a celebrated and respected collection of essays called “The Essayes”, first published in 1597. My favorite of these essays is “Of Simulation and Dissimulation”, which observes
Dissimulation, in the negative; when a man lets fall signs and arguments, that he is not, that he is… Simulation, in the affirmative; when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be, that he is not.
65. Lysol target : GERM
The disinfectant called Lysol takes its name from the words “lysosome” and “solvent”. Lysosomes are structures found within cells that have the job of breaking up waste material and cellular debris.
3. Drug test placebo : SUGAR PILL
A “placebo” is a medical treatment that is ineffective, but that is deliberated formulated to deceive the patient into thinking it is real. Placebos can be given as control treatments in trials, and so the level of deception can be relatively low, as the patients are aware of the possibility of being given an ineffective treatment. The term “placebo” is the Latin word for “I shall please”. The idea is that the treatment is given more to please than to benefit the patient.
4. Beatles’ second film : HELP!
“Help!” is a 1965 movie, the second film released by the Beatles. The film’s soundtrack was released under the same title. Personally, I prefered the Beatles’ first movie, “A Hard Day’s Night” …
6. “Supernatural” network : THE CW
The WB Television Network was launched in 1995 as a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and Tribune Broadcasting. The WB (for “Warner Bros.”) was shut down in 2006 and replaced by the CW (for “CBS” and “Warner Bros.”).
7. Oscar winner Sophia : LOREN
Sophia Loren certainly has earned her exalted position in the world of movies. In 1962 Loren won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the Italian film “Two Women”, the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English speaking performance. She received a second nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Marriage Italian-Style”, another Italian-language movie, released in 1964.
“Supernatural” is a fantasy horror TV show on the CW channel that was first broadcast in 2005. I don’t do horror …
8. Kvetching cries : OYS
The word “kvetch” comes to us from Yiddish, with “kvetshn” meaning “to complain” or “squeeze”.
11. Asian capital : HANOI
Hanoi was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.
12. “Tiny Dancer” singer John : ELTON
The 1971 Elton John song “Tiny Dancer” was written by John himself, with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. Apparently the “tiny dancer” in the song is a character reminiscent of the young ladies that Taupin met in California in 1970.
18. Many Rembrandts : OILS
The celebrated Dutch painter’s full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (sometimes Ryn). Rembrandt is perhaps most appreciated for his portraits, and left the world a remarkable collection of self-portraits.
38. Newscaster Huntley : CHET
Chet Huntley was a newscaster who co-anchored “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC with David Brinkley from 1956 to 1970.
44. Medit. volcano : MT ETNA
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts.
46. Vladivostok veto : NYET
Vladivostok is a Russian city in the very southeast of the country, located close to the borders with China and North korea. It is a port city, and is home to the Russian Pacific Fleet. Indeed, Vladivostok is the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean.
49. Great Lakes natives : ERIES
The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.
50. Beethoven dedicatee : ELISE
“Fur Elise” is a beautiful piece of music written by Beethoven, and is also known as “Bagatelle in A Minor”. “Fur Elise” means simply “For Elise”, but sadly no one knows for sure the identity of the mysterious dedicatee.
51. Algeria neighbor : 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.
Algeria is a huge country, the second largest in Africa (only Sudan is larger), and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.
55. London apartment : FLAT
“Flat” is a word more commonly used in the British Isles than here, in the sense of an apartment or condominium. The word “flat” is Scottish in origin, in which language it meant a “floor in a house”.
60. Down Under bird : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …