Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is in the down-direction, with a type of TREE on the TOP:
- 55A. Canopy creators … or what can literally be found in 6-, 10-, 24- and 34-Down : TREETOPS
- 6D. Brain part that produces melatonin : PINEAL GLAND (has “pine” at the top)
- 10D. Cartographer’s table : MAP LEGEND (has “maple” at the top)
- 24D. Reason for a parking restriction : FIRE HYDRANT (has “fir” at the top)
- 34D. “Wascally wabbit” hunter : ELMER FUDD (has “elm” at the top)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Finance majors’ degs. : MBAS
The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.
14. Kagan associate : ALITO
Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …
16. Strong lobby for seniors : AARP
“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.
23. Albacore, e.g. : TUNA
Skipjack tuna would be called medium-sized, growing to about three feet long. Albacore tuna is a little larger.
25. 19th Greek letter : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.
28. Eight pts. : GAL
The name of our fluid measure called a “gallon” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin term “galleta” meaning “bucket, pail”.
A US pint is made from 16 fluid ounces, and an imperial pint is 20 fluid ounces. The term “pint” comes into English via Old French, ultimately from the Latin “picta” meaning “painted”. The name arose from a line painted on the side of a beer glass, marking a full measure of ale.
35. “An Officer and a Gentleman” star : GERE
Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.
“An Officer and a Gentleman” is a 1982 film starring Richard Gere as a candidate in the US Navy flight school who meets up and falls in love with a local girl played by Debra Winger. Despite the love shown on the screen between the characters played by Gere and Winger, it is fairly well known that the two leading actors did not get on well at all during the making of the film. At one point, Winger referred publicly to Gere as a “brick wall”.
38. Castro of Cuba : RAUL
Raul Castro is the younger brother of Fidel Castro. Raul has been President of Cuba since 2008, when Fidel stepped aside.
40. Statistician Silver of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight : NATE
Nate Silver is a statistician who first gained notoriety by developing a forecasting system that predicted the future performance of baseball players. He then made a name for himself in the world of politics by predicting the outcome of the 2008 US presidential race at the website FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver successfully predicted the outcome of the election in 49 of the 50 states, missing out on Indiana, which Barack Obama won by less than 1% of the vote. Then, along came the 2012 presidential race, which so many pollsters got wrong …
41. British baby buggy : PRAM
Another word used in the UK that’s rarely used over here is “pram”, which in my day was the most common term for what is called a baby carriage in the US. “Pram” is short for “perambulator”.
42. “The cow is of the bovine ilk / One end is moo, the other, milk” poet : NASH
Ogden Nash the poet was well known for his light and humorous verse, such as:
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.
43. Floppy disk successor : CD-ROM
CD-ROM stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.
I don’t think my kids really know what a floppy disk is. A floppy disk is made up of a thin and flexible magnetic material that can store data, enclosed in a protective case. I’ve used 8-inch floppies in my time, and many 5.25-inch floppy disks. Until fairly recently, I had a desktop that would take 3.5-inch disks, although I think the last 3.5-inch floppy disappeared from the house several years ago …
44. Solemn ending? : SILENT N
There’s a silent letter N at the end of the word “solemn”.
50. TiVo products : DVRS
TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful Digital Video Recorder (DVR).
59. Free speech org. : ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.
67. Prefix with foam : STYRO-
Styrofoam is an extruded polystyrene foam made by The Dow Chemical Company. Styrofoam has loads of applications, including home insulation and use as a buoyancy aid. It is also formed into “peanuts” used as a packaging filler.
2. Panache : ELAN
Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style” or “flair”.
Someone exhibiting panache is showing dash and verve, and perhaps has a swagger. “Panache” is a French word used for a plume of feathers, especially in a hat.
5. Haitian island whose name is Spanish for “turtle” : TORTUGA
Tortuga is a Haitian island located off the northwest coast of Hispaniola. The island was used as a major base of operations for Caribbean pirates in the mid- to late-17th century. “Tortuga” is Spanish for “turtle”.
6. Brain part that produces melatonin : PINEAL GLAND (has “pine” at the top)
The pineal gland is a small gland located in the epithalamus, near the center of the brain. The gland gets its name from its shape, like a tiny pine cone. The pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone that helps maintain our circadian rhythm, so varying levels of melatonin control our sleep-wake cycle.
11. Indonesian island : 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.
12. “Iliad” war god : ARES
The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.
“The Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the ten-year siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “The Iliad”.
18. Forearm part : ULNA
The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.
22. New Deal prog. : NRA
The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.
25. Camping cover-ups : TARPS
Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.
26. Centipede creator : ATARI
Centipede is an arcade game from Atari (it was my favorite!). The game was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey, with Bailey being one of the few female game designers back then (it was released in 1980). Perhaps due to her influence, Centipede was the first arcade game to garner a significant female following.
32. Redcoat, to a Minuteman : ENEMY
Back in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, the local militia was made up of all the able-bodied males in the colony who were aged between 16 and 60. These men were called to service only when necessary. Some of the men in towns around the colony were trained for rapid deployment, and were known as “minutemen”.
Here in the US, we refer to the British soldiers fighting in the revolutionary war as “Redcoats”, a reference to the color of their uniforms. Nowadays in the British Army, the red tunic is reserved only for ceremonial purposes. The vivid color proved to be a detriment after the invention of the rifle.
34. “Wascally wabbit” hunter : ELMER FUDD (has “elm” at the top)
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …
36. Sci-fi visitors : ETS
43. Board game with an “Unemployment Office” corner : CAREERS
Careers is a board game that Parker Brothers introduced in 1955. Believe it or not, Careers was initially sold at the price of $2.95!
47. Penultimate word of many fairy tales : EVER
… and they all lived happy ever after.
51. Classic guitar, briefly : STRAT
The Stratocaster (often “Strat”) is an electric guitar made by Fender since 1954. The company that made Fender electric guitars was founded in Fullerton, California in 1946 by Leo Fender.
52. Shindig : BASH
“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think, describing a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game that’s similar to field hockey.
58. Houston athlete, for short : ‘STRO
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.
61. Status __ : QUO
“Status quo” translates from Latin as “state in which”, and in English is used to mean the existing condition or state of affairs.