Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each contain the letter string D-O-T. In fact, that “DOT” CONNECTS the two words that make up that answer:
- 37A. Makes sense of a situation … and, literally, what the quartet of answers to starred clues does : CONNECTS THE DOTS
- 18A. *Submarine weapon launcher : TORPEDO TUBE
- 20A. *Catchall phrase : AND OTHERS
- 53A. *Martial arts maneuver : JUDO THROW
- 57A. *Guacamole source : AVOCADO TREE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
4. Croque madame meat : HAM
The “croque monsieur” is a French dish, a baked or fried ham and cheese sandwich. Before baking, the sandwich is dipped in whipped eggs. The cheese used is traditionally Emmental or Gruyère. If the sandwich is topped with a fried egg, then it referred to as a croque madame.
7. Red Cross supply : PLASMA
Plasma (sometimes “plasm”) is the clear, yellow-colored liquid component of blood and lymph in which cells are suspended.
Back in 1859, a Swiss businessman called Henri Dunant went to meet French emperor Napoleon III, to discuss making it easier to conduct commerce in French-occupied Algeria. The Emperor was billeted at Solferino, where France and Austria were engaged in a major battle. In one day, Dunant witnessed 40,000 soldiers die in battle and countless wounded suffering on the battlefield without any organized medical care. Dunant abandoned his business agenda and instead spent a week caring for the sick and wounded. Within a few years he had founded the precursor to the Red Cross, and in 1901 he was awarded the first ever Nobel Peace Prize.
13. Often hoppy brew : ALE
The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flower of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I live here in California used to be home to the largest hop farm in the whole world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.
14. “The Reader” actress Lena : OLIN
The lovely Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland.
“The Reader” is a 2008 film based on the 1995 German novel of the same name (“Der Vorleser” in German). The movie stars Kate Winslet as a defendant in a trial of several women who were guards in a Nazi concentration camp. Winslet’s character was illiterate, and had prisoners read to her in the evenings.
18. *Submarine weapon launcher : TORPEDO TUBE
The naval weapon called a torpedo is named for the group of electric rays of the genus “Torpedo”. The name of the fish comes from the verb “torpere”, Latin for “to be stiffened, paralyzed”, which is what happens to someone who steps on an electric ray.
22. Pyeongchang’s peninsula : KOREA
Pyeongchang is a county in the Gangwon province of South Korea. Pyeongchang was host of the 2013 Winter Special Olympics, and is scheduled to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
23. Parts of hearts : ATRIA
The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze the blood into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
27. Country that shares a 3,300-mile border with Argentina : CHILE
The world’s longest international borders are:
- Canada – United States:5,525 miles
- Russia – Kazakhstan: 4,254 miles
- Argentina – Chile: 3,293 miles
- China – Mongolia: 2,906 miles
- India – Bangladesh: 2,518 miles
32. iPhone talker : SIRI
Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. You’ve probably seen the ads on television, with folks talking to their iPhones asking for information and responding with a voice. I hear that Google is a little scared by Siri, as Siri is non-visual. There’s no need to touch a screen or a keyboard to work with Siri, no opportunity to click on one of Google’s ads! By the way, voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri not that long ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.
40. “Anchors __” : AWEIGH
The song “Anchors Aweigh” is strongly associated with the US Navy, largely because it is the fight song of the US Naval Academy. “Anchors Aweigh” was composed in 1906 by Lieutenant Charles Zimmerman who was bandmaster of the US Naval Academy Band at the time.
When an anchor is “aweigh” or “atrip”, it is just clear of the bottom, having just been lifted.
42. Sweater, usually : KNIT
Until the early 1880s, the word “sweater” applied to clothing worn specifically for the weight reduction by “sweating”.
44. Mocha’s land : YEMEN
Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave it’s name to the mocha brown color, and to the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.
46. Bespectacled friend of Snow White : DOC
“Snow White” is a traditional German fairy tale that was published in 1812 in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. There is also a second, very different Grimms’ Fairy Tale called “Snow-White and Rose-Red”, not to be confused with its more famous cousin. In the latter tale, Snow-White and Rose-Red are sisters who get into trouble with a dwarf, but are rescued by a bear who turns into a prince.
47. Bun or beehive : UPDO
That distinctive “beehive” hairstyle is also called a B-52, because the round, beehive-shape also resembles the bulbous nose of a B-52 bomber! The style originated in 1958, and is credited to Margaret Vinci Heldt, the owner of a hair salon in downtown Chicago. I’m not a fan of the beehive, but I do have to say that Audrey Hepburn carried it off in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, as did Dusty Springfield in her heyday.
48. Praline piece : PECAN
A praline is a candy made made out of nuts and sugar syrup. The first pralines were made in France in the 17th century for an industrialist named Marshal du Plessis-Praslin, who gave his name to the confection.
53. *Martial arts maneuver : JUDO THROW
Judo is a martial art from Japan that was developed relatively recently, in 1882. The name “judo” translates as “gentle way”.
“Martial arts” are various fighting traditions and systems used in combat or simply to promote physical well-being. The term ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.
57. *Guacamole source : AVOCADO TREE
Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes, and is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.
59. Cleanup hitter’s stat : RBI
Run batted in (RBI)
63. Snarky expressions : SNEERS
“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.
64. East, in Munich : OST
Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria, and is the third largest city in the country (after Berlin and Hamburg). The city is called “München” in German, a term that derives from the Old German word for “by the monks’ place”, which is a reference to the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city in 1158.
1. Early Yucatán dweller : MAYA
The Maya civilization held sway in Central America and Mexico from about 350 AD, until the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s.
The Yucatán Peninsula is located in southeastern Mexico, where it separates the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest from the Caribbean Sea to the southeast.
2. Justice Kagan : ELENA
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 …
5. Wahine welcome : ALOHA
“Wahine” is the word for “woman”, in both Hawaiian and Maori.
7. Prof.’s degree : PHD
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for an earned PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.
11. “Don’t Let __ Lonely Tonight”: James Taylor : ME BE
James Taylor is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who first achieved success with his 1070 song “Fire and Rain”. Famously, Taylor was married to fellow singer Carly Simon, from 1972 to 1983.
12. General vicinity : AREA
A “vicinity” is an area surrounding a place, ultimately deriving from the Latin “vicus” meaning “group of houses, village”.
15. “TED Radio Hour” broadcaster : NPR
“TED Radio Hour” is an NPR podcast hosted by Guy Raz that uses excerpts from prior TED Talks to examine various subjects of interest.
The acronym “TED” stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.
19. Morales of “NYPD Blue” : ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.
“NYPD Blue” is a police drama that was originally aired in 1993, and ran until 2005. Stars of the show are Dennis Franz, David Caruso, Jimmy Smits and Rick Schroder. The show created a bit of a fuss back in the nineties as it featured a relatively large amount of nudity for broadcast television.
21. Family name of three popes : ORSINI
The Orsinis were a very influential Italian noble family in medieval and renaissance times. Included in the Orsini line were three popes: Celestine III (1191-1198), Nicholas III (1277-1280) and Benedict XIII (1724-1730).
25. Greek leader? : ALPHA
The Greek alphabet starts off with the letters alpha, beta, gamma …
29. Crayola shade similar to Atomic Tangerine : NEON CARROT
In the year 2000 the Crayola company, very cleverly I think, held the “Crayola Color Census 2000” in which people were polled and asked for their favorite Crayola colors. President George W. Bush chose “Blue Bell” and Tiger Woods chose “Wild Strawberry”.
33. Skunk River state : IOWA
The Skunk River in Iowa is a tributary of the Mississippi. The etymology of the river’s name is a little unclear, and is probably a mistranslation of the Sauk and Meskwaki name “Shecaqua”, which means “strong and obnoxious smell”. The headwaters of the Skunk River was known for its wild onions along the banks, hence the “odoriferous” reference. A better translation might have been “Onion River”.
36. Subject of the musical “Mayor” : ED KOCH
Ed Koch was a Democratic Representative in the US Congress from 1969-73, and then Mayor of New York City from 1978-89. From 1997 to 1999 Koch was a “judge” on the TV show “The People’s Court”. And in 2004, he collaborated with his sister Pat Koch, and wrote a children’s book called “Eddie, Harold’s Little Brother”, a tale about Ed’s own childhood experiences.
The musical “Mayor” was first produced on Broadway in 1985. The storyline is based on a memoir by Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City.
38. Carrier to Cairo : EGYPTAIR
The flag carrier airline for Egypt is EgyptAir, which started flying back in 1933 as Misr Airlines. “Misr” is the Egyptian word for “Egypt”.
45. Magic spell : MOJO
The word “mojo”, meaning “magical charm, magnetism”, is probably of Creole origin.
47. “I give!” : UNCLE!
“To say uncle” is an American expression meaning “to submit, yield”. Its usage dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”
48. Keats and Yeats : POETS
The poet John Keats is famous for writing a whole series of beautiful odes. The most renowned are the so-called “1819 Odes”, a collection from the year 1819 that includes famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.
Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.
50. They’re sometimes felt : HATS
The various types of textile known as felt are all made by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together.
51. Mary Kay rival : 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.
Mary Kay Ash founded her skincare and cosmetics company, somewhat ominously on Friday, 13th September 1963. In 1968, Mary Kay Ash bought herself a pink Cadillac, specially painted to match the color of one of her compacts. The car became so famous that she gave away five of them to her top saleswoman, a tradition that endures to this day.
52. Lowdown : DOPE
Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a better might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.
54. Actress Hagen : UTA
Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.
55. Beijing-born Bond villain : DR NO
“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. Julius No and Fu Manchu.
The city of Beijing in China was given its name in 1403, with “Beijing” chosen as it translates as “Northern Capital”. The name distinguished it from the city of Nanjing, which name translates as “Southern Capital”. Beijing was written in English as Peking for centuries.
58. Rehab hurdle : DTS
The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called Delirium Tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is “trembling madness”.