Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each include a series of four circled letters. Those letters are G-A-T-E, and have “CRASHED”, have been changed in order:
- 60A. Attend a party uninvited … and a literal hint to five sets of circled letters : GATECRASH
- 18A. Beverage from China’s Wuyi Mountains : OOLONG TEA
- 3D. Make terrific progress : GO GREAT GUNS
- 5D. Protective vests, gas masks, etc. : RIOT GEAR
- 28D. Rep seeking promising performers : TALENT AGENT
- 42D. “Stop sweating the small stuff!” : GET A LIFE!
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Composer heard at graduations : ELGAR
Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance Marches” is a work that takes its name from a line in William Shakespeare’s “Othello”.
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!
The most famous part of the whole work is the trio section of March No. 1, also known as “Land of Hope and Glory”. Here in the US, that trio section is often referred to simply as “Pomp and Circumstance”, or sometimes as “The Graduation March” as it is a staple at school graduations across the country.
14. Actress Watts of the “Divergent” films : NAOMI
The actress Naomi Watts was born in the UK and moved to Australia when she was 14 years of age. It was in Australia that Watts got her break in television and movies. Probably her most acclaimed role was in the 2003 film “21 Grams” with Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. Watts is best friends with fellow Australian actress Nicole Kidman.
“The Divergent Series” of movies is based on the “Divergent” novels written by Veronica Roth. The movies and novels are set in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago called the Divergent Universe. The story is about a citizenry that is divided into five different factions based on personality traits. The critics weren’t crazy about the first movie in the series, but I really enjoyed it …
17. Medical prefix with -plasty : ANGIO-
Angioplasty is a mechanical widening of a narrowed artery. In the surgical procedure, a balloon catheter is inflated at the point of the obstruction to open up the artery. A stent may then be inserted to make sure the vessel remains open.
18. Beverage from China’s Wuyi Mountains : OOLONG TEA
The name for the Chinese tea called “oolong” translates into English as “black dragon”.
20. Insertion marks : CARETS
The character known as a caret was originally a proofreading mark, used to indicate where a punctuation mark was to be inserted. “Caret” is Latin for “it lacks”.
22. World’s longest river : NILE
Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.
24. Bearded antelope : GNU
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. Wildebeest is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.
34. Eritrea’s capital : ASMARA
Asmara is the capital and largest city in Eritrea.
Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for the anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.
35. Opel model meaning “stars” in Latin : ASTRA
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.
44. Small songbird : WREN
A wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.
45. German artist Max : ERNST
Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914” a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.
48. Six-line sonnet section : SESTET
A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.
50. Subjugate : ENSLAVE
“To subjugate” is to bring under control, to enslave. The term comes from the Latin “subiugare”, which has the same meaning. A more literal translation of the Latin is bring under (“sub”) the yoke (“iugum”).
53. Nav. VIP : ADM
65. Passport, e.g.: Abbr. : IDENT
As a result of a League of Nations conference in 1920, passports are usually written in French and one other language. French was specified back then as it was deemed the language of diplomacy. US passports use French and English, given that English is the nation’s de facto national language. Spanish was added as a language for US passports in the late nineties in recognition of Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico.
67. James of jazz : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
69. Flamingo color : PINK
The name “flamingo” comes from the Greek word for “purple wing”. The flamingo’s pink or reddish color comes from the bird’s diet, and in particular the pigments ingested from animal and plant sources.
71. Fragrant compound : ESTER
Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol.
2. Hawaiian island, or Hawaiian porch : LANAI
Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lanai was first spotted by Europeans just a few days after Captain Cook was killed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1779. In 1922, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company bought the whole island of Lanai and turned most of it into the world’s largest pineapple plantation. Since then, Lanai has been known as “The Pineapple Island”. Today, 98% of the island is owned by Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, and 2% is owned by the State of Hawaii.
A lanai is a type of veranda, and a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.
7. Novelist Uris : LEON
Leon Uris is an American writer. Uris’s most famous books are “Exodus” and “Trinity”, two excellent stories, in my humble opinion …
8. Improvise on stage : AD LIB
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar.
9. Algebra type : BOOLEAN
In elementary algebra, the variable used can represent any number. In Boolean algebra, the variables can only have the values of 1 or 0 i.e. true or false.
11. Pantry pest : ANT
The word “pantry” dates back to 1300 when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.
19. The first “N” of CNN : NEWS
CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980 by the Turner Broadcasting System, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.
21. __-cone : SNO
A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.
25. Stomach woe : ULCER
Until fairly recently, a peptic ulcer was believed to be caused by undue amounts of stress in one’s life. It is now known that 70-90% of all peptic ulcers are in fact associated with a particular bacterium.
29. White symbol on Switzerland’s flag : CROSS
The flag of Switzerland is the very distinctive white cross on a red background. Unlike most national flags, the Swiss flag is a square, although the version used as the Swiss naval ensign is rectangular.
32. Storybook sister who pushed the hag into the oven : GRETEL
“Hansel and Gretel” is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds and so the children do indeed become lost. But eventually they do all live happily ever after …
36. Polio vaccine developer : SABIN
Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine. Sabin’s vaccine was a “live” controlled vaccine. The equally famous Salk vaccine was a “killed” vaccine.
38. Mystical letters : RUNES
A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.
49. Autumnal equinox mo. : SEP
An equinox is a phenomenon dictated by the tilt of the earth’s axis. Twice every year, that tilt “evens out” and the sun is equidistant from points at the same latitude both north and south of the equator. It is as if the earth has no tilt relative to the sun. The term “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal night”, inferring that night and day are equally long, as the effect of the earth’s “tilt” is nullified. Equinoxes occur around March 21st and September 23rd each year.
54. Nincompoop : DUNCE
John Duns Scotus was a theologian and scholar in the Middle Ages, responsible for many writings that were used as textbooks in British universities of the day. New ideas developed during the English Renaissance, but Duns Scotus and his followers resisted the changes. The word “dunse” came into use as a way of ridiculing those refusing to learn anything new, a precursor to our modern usage of “dunce”.
The word “nincompoop”, meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.
55. Taxi calculator : METER
We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.
60. Republican org. : GOP
The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.
61. Shapiro of NPR : ARI
Ari Shapiro was the very able White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) for several years. He became a co-host of network’s drive-time program “All Things Considered” in 2015.
63. Moose kin : ELK
The elk (also known as the wapiti) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …
The moose is the largest species in the deer family. The name “moose” is used in American English for the animal called an “elk” in British English. What Americans call an elk is also known as the wapiti. A mature male moose is called a bull, a female a cow, and an immature moose is a calf.