Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers has the same clue, or nearly the same clue:
- 17A. Breakdown : CATEGORIZED LIST
- 25A. Breakdown : ENGINE FAILURE
- 42A. Break down : WEEP IN ANGUISH
- 55A. Break down : CHEMICALLY DECAY
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9. Swedish autos : SAABS
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. SAAB was, and still is, mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.
16. St. __ Fire : ELMO’S
Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. More formally referred to as Erasmus of Formia, St. Elmo is perhaps venerated by sailors as tradition tells us that he continued preaching despite the ground beside him being struck by a thunderbolt. Sailors started to pray to him when in danger of storms and lightning. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo’s fire. The “fire” is actually a plasma discharge caused by air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), something often observed during electrical storms.
21. Hosp. staffer : LPN
Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
24. Corrida cry : OLE!
Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.
32. Island near Java : BALI
Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.
34. 1945 conference city : YALTA
The Yalta Conference was a wartime meeting between WWII leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Held in February of 1945, the conference is most remembered for decisions made on the post-war organization of Europe. To a large extent, the three leaders made decisions carving up political influence around the world, decisions that have profound implications to this day.
36. Leche, across the Pyrenees : LAIT
The English word “milk” translates into “leche” in Spanish and “lait” in French.
The Pyrenees is a mountain range that runs along the border between Spain and France. Nestled between the two countries, high in the mountains, is the lovely country of Andorra, an old haunt of my family during skiing season …
37. “The Fall” novelist : CAMUS
Albert Camus was a French author, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Sadly, Camus died in a car accident just two years after he received the prize, at only 46 years of age.
38. Italian beach resort : LIDO
The Lido di Venezia is a famous sandbar, about 11 km long, in Venice, Italy. It may be just a sandbar, but it is home to about 20,000 residents, as well as the Venice Film Festival that takes place there every September. The Lido is also the setting for Thomas Mann’s famous novel “Death in Venice”. The name “lido” has become a term for any fashionable beach resort.
39. Chicago destination, on airline tickets : ORD
O’Hare International is the fourth busiest airport in the world. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.
40. Higgs particle : BOSON
Particle physics is beyond me, but I do known that bosons are subatomic particles. They can be elementary, like for example photons, or composite, like mesons, which are composed of one quark and one antiquark. “Bosons” are named for the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose who developed Bose-Einstein statistics along with Albert Einstein.
46. Balderdash : ROT
“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids, like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!
47. Angel dust, initially : PCP
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as “PCP” or “angel dust”.
48. Round drill : TREPAN
A trepan is a boring tool used to sink mineshafts.
52. Clothing dept. letters : SML
Small (S), medium (M) and large (L).
59. Coral __ : SEA
The Coral Sea is part of the South Pacific Ocean, lying off the northeast coast of Australia and home to the renowned Great Barrier Reef.
60. Fast Bolt : USAIN
Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.
61. Long range : ANDES
The Andes range is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world, running right down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles. The highest peak in the Andes is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.
62. Half a score : TEN
Our verb “to score” meaning “to tally”, comes from the Old Norse “skor”, which is a “mark, notch”. It is likely that items such a livestock were counted by placing a notch in a stick for each set of twenty, hence our use of the noun “score” to mean “twenty”.
1. Acadia and Terrain : GMCS
GMC is a division of General Motors (GM) established in 1901 that started out as “GMC Truck”.
4. Article in Arles : UNE
Quite a few years ago now, I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and where he painted his famous “Cafe Terrace at Night”, as well as “Bedroom in Arles”.
6. Amish project : BARN
The Amish are a group of Christian churches, a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.
7. Louisville slugger? : ALI
The boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta?
8. Mediterranean strip : GAZA
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the boundaries of the strip of land on the Mediterranean around Gaza were fixed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. The boundaries were specifically defined but were not to be recognized as an international border. From 1948, the Gaza Strip was occupied and administered by Egypt, until 1967 when Israel took over occupation following the Six-Day War. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which handed over administration to the Palestinian Authority, but with Israel retaining control of the Gaza Strip’s airspace, some land borders and its territorial waters. The intent was to further this agreement, but discussions between the parties broke down. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
9. Missouri State Fair city : SEDALIA
Sedalia, Missouri is a city in the center of the state, located about 30 miles south of the Missouri River. Sedalia is home to the Missouri State Fair, and is also home to the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. Joplin lived in Sedalia from 1894 to 1907, and worked in the Maple Leaf Club, after which he named his famous composition “Maple Leaf Rag”. Back in 2011, Sedalia was in the news when it was hit by a devastating tornado.
10. 2009 Verizon acquisition : ALLTEL
The telecommunications company that we know today as Verizon was founded in 1983 as Bell Atlantic, and was one of the “Baby Bells” that were formed after the breakup of AT&T. Bell Atlantic merged with fellow Baby Bell NYNEX in 1997, and then merged with GTE in 2000 to form Verizon. The new company name is a portmanteau of “veritas” (“truth” in Latin) and “horizon”.
11. Lyon gal pal : AMIE
The city of Lyon in France, is also known as “Lyons” in English. Lyon is the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, after Paris.
13. Erstwhile flier : SST
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. The Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.
“Erst” is an archaic way of saying “formerly, before the present time”. The term is mostly seen as part of the word “erstwhile”, an adjective meaning “of times past”.
19. WWII torpedo launchers : E-BOATS
In WWII, the German Navy’s Motor Torpedo Boats were similar to American PT boats and were called S-boots, short for Schnellboot (“fast craft”). The Allied forces referred to them as E-boats, with the “E” possibly standing for “enemy” or “Eilboot” (“hurry boat”).
25. Neglect to say : ELIDE
“To elide” is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.
26. Tanzanian border lake : NYASA
Lake Nyasa is a large lake in Africa that is located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The lake is still known by the name “Nyasa” in Tanzania, although it is now referred to as “Lake Malawi” in Malawi, and “Lake Niassa” in Mozambique.
27. Irish statesman de Valera : EAMON
Éamon de Valera was a very influential statesman in Ireland. He served three separate terms as head of government between 1937 and 1959, and was then President of Ireland from 1959 until 1973. De Valera was actually born in New York City, but was sent back to Ireland by his mother at the age of two when his father died. Éamon participated in the 1916 Easter Rising against the British in Ireland, after which he was the only battalion commander who was not executed. Several factors saved de Valera, including the fact that he was born in the US.
29. “Vega$” actor Robert : URICH
Robert Urich was an actor famous for starring in television’s “Vega$” and “Spenser: For Hire”. Urich appeared in many television shows, starring in fifteen, which is a record for any actor.
30. Rolex competitor : RADO
Rado is a celebrated manufacturer of watches that is noted for pioneering the use of scratch-proof materials. Rado makes a watch that the Guinness Book of Records calls “the hardest watch on Earth”.
31. 007’s alma mater : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who took power in the last UK general election. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming (as well as 007 himself as described in the Fleming novels).
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 …
33. Bern’s river : AARE
The Aar (also called the “Aare” in German) is the longest river entirely in Switzerland. The Aar is a major tributary of the Rhine, and flows through Bern, the nation’s capital.
40. “Ali” and “Milk,” e.g. : BIOPICS
“Ali” is a 2001 biographical movie about Muhammad Ali, with Will Smith in the title role. Among other things, the film is noted for its realistic fight scenes. The scenes were realistic because Smith was really being hit, as hard as his opponents could manage.
“Milk” is a 2008 biopic based on the life of activist and politician Harvey Milk, with Sean Penn playing the title role. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White.
43. Early arrival : PREMIE
A “preemie” (sometimes “premie”) is a preterm or premature birth.
44. Daisy preceder : UPSY-
Upsy-daisy” is an interjection sometimes used when lifting up a child. It’s “baby talk”, words of reassurance.
45. Got slick after sleet : ICED UP
Apparently “sleet” is a term used to describe two weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets, smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.
48. “More __ a Feeling”: Boston hit : THAN
Boston is a rock band from … Boston. Boston’s biggest hit was “Amanda”, released in 1986.
50. Tweed lampooner : NAST
William Magear Tweed was known as “Boss” Tweed. He was a 19th-century, American politician who led the Democratic Party machine in New York, headquartered in Tammany Hall. He was one of the most successful of the corrupt politicians of the day, siphoning from taxpayers (in today’s money) billions of dollars. In 1871 he was arrested, and served time in jail. He was then rearrested on civil charges and served time in debtor’s prison. He managed to escape to Spain, but was arrested once more and extradited to the United States. He died in jail in 1878.
Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. Nast was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today. Thomas Nast drew some famous cartoons in which he depicted the Tammany Society as a vicious tiger that was killing democracy. Nast’s use of the tiger symbology caught on and was used by other cartoonists to harp at the society.
51. __ Bator : ULAN
The name “Ulan Bator” translates from Mongolian as “the Red Hero”, and is Mongolia’s capital city. The “Red Hero” name was chosen in honor of the country’s national hero, Damdin Sükhbaatar. Sükhbaatar fought alongside the Soviet Red Army in the fight for liberation from Chinese occupation.
53. Spring month in Porto : MAIO
In Portuguese, “maio” (May) is a month in spring.
Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.
54. Forest feline : LYNX
The lynx is a wild cat, of which there are four species. These are:
- The Eurasian lynx: the biggest of the four species.
- The Canada lynx: well-adapted to life in cold environments.
- The Iberian lynx: a native of the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and the most endangered cat species in the world.
- The Bobcat: our North American wildcat, the smallest of the four lynxes
55. Tax pro : CPA
Certified public accountant (CPA)
56. Loser to Meade at Gettysburg : LEE
The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July of 1863 during the American Civil War. The campaign started with Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia invading Maryland and Pennsylvania, and ended with Lee’s escape back to Virginia after being defeated by Union troops led by the Major General George G. Meade at the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg, fought between July 1st and July 3rd, is recognized by many historians as the turning point in the war.
57. That, in Barcelona : ESO
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.