Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s grid includes four sets of circled letters. When rearranged, each set of circled letters spells out a number. Each of those numbers is a PERFECT SQUARE, an integer that is the square of an integer:
- 36A. With some unscrambling, the contents of each set of circles : PERFECT SQUARE
The unscrambled PERFECT SQUARES spell out:
- SIXTY-FOUR (64 = 8 x 8)
- THIRTY-SIX (36 = 6 x 6)
- FORTY-NINE (49 = 7 x 7)
- EIGHTY-ONE (91 = 9 x 9)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Port initials : USB
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.
4. Fallon’s predecessor : LENO
“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:
- Steve Allen (1954-57)
- Jack Paar (1957-62)
- Johnny Carson (1962–92)
- Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
- Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
- Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)
13. Late July arrival : LEO
Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.
16. Going rate? : TAXI FARE
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”.
18. Younger daughter of Hi and Lois, in comics : TRIXIE
“Hi and Lois” is a comic strip that first appeared in 1954 and is still running today. The strip was created by Mort Walker (also known for “Beetle Bailey”) and was originally illustrated by Dik Browne (also known for “Hägar the Horrible”). The title characters Hi and Lois Flagstone first appeared in “Beetle Bailey”. Lois is Beetle’s sister, and the characters occasionally show up in each other’s strip.
22. Baseball’s Wills and TV’s Povich : MAURYS
Maury Wills is a former baseball player and manager who is very much associated with the tactic of stealing bases. In 1962, Wills stole a record 104 bases, which was more bases stolen than the whole of any other team that season.
Maury Povich has his own daytime talk show called “Maury”. He has famous family connections. Maury’s father was Shirley Povich, a columnist and sports reporter for the Washington Post, and his wife is Connie Chung the news anchor.
24. __ zone: shallowest oceanic region that sunlight doesn’t reach : BATHYAL
An ocean’s bathyal zone extends from a depth of 3,300 to 13,000 feet below the surface. It is the shallowest zone receiving no sunlight, leading to the nickname “midnight zone”. Due to the lack of sunlight, there are no plants in the bathyal zone. Also, many of the species of fish found in the zone lack eyes.
27. Co. once led by Baryshnikov : ABT
American Ballet Theatre (ABT)
Mikhail “Misha” Baryshnikov started his dancing career with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad before defecting to Canada in 1974. The only time my wife ever lined up to get an autograph was when she did so outside the stage door after seeing Baryshnikov dance in Syracuse, New York many moons ago. The man is a god in her eyes …
28. Sap sucker : APHID
Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids in my experience is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called ladybirds in Ireland!).
32. Suffix with Bieber : -MANIA
Justin Bieber is a young pop singer from London, Ontario. Bieber was actually discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Brown. Fans of Bieber call themselves “Beliebers”. Personally, I’m no believer in Bieber …
34. Like aged cheddar : SHARP
Cheddar cheese takes its name from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Over 50% of the cheese sold in the UK is cheddar. Here in the US cheddar is the second most popular cheese sold, behind Mozzarella.
36. With some unscrambling, the contents of each set of circles : PERFECT SQUARE
A square number is sometimes referred to as a perfect square. A square number is an integer, and integer that is square of an integer. Examples are 1 (= 1 x 1), 4 (= 2 x 2), 9 (= 3 x 3).
42. Once-sacred snake : ASP
The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.
43. Straight sides of a pizza slice, e.g. : RADII
“Radius” (plural “radii”) is a Latin word, as one might expect, meaning “spoke of a wheel”. Makes sense, huh …?
48. Low-down prank? : HOT FOOT
The hot foot “prank” involves someone setting fire to a victim’s shoe laces.
51. __ torpedo: “Star Trek” weapon : PHOTON
When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …
54. Symbol of complementary principles : YIN-YANG
The yin and the yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.
58. Bakery-café chain : PANERA
Panera Bread is a chain of bakery/coffeehouses. A Panera restaurant a good place to get online while having a cup of coffee. Back in 2006 and 2007, Panera was the largest provider of free Wi-Fi access in the whole of the US.
60. Man of steel? : CARNEGIE
Andrew Carnegie was an industrialist and philanthropist from Scotland who made his fame and fortune in the US steel industry. He founded the Carnegie Steel Company in 1892, which was destined to become US Steel. After he sold Carnegie Steel, making his fortune, Carnegie devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy. Famously, he built Carnegie Hall in New York, founded Carnegie Mellon University in PIttsburgh, and set up several charitable trust funds that are still doing valuable work today.
62. “Wild” author Strayed : CHERYL
The author Cheryl Strayed has written several successful books, most notably her 2012 memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”. “Wild” was adapted into a 2014 film starring Reese Witherspoon as Strayed. I haven’t seen the film yet, but my wife had and really enjoyed it …
63. Actor Baldwin : ALEC
Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.
64. Tillis of country : MEL
Mel Tillis is a country singer who had most of hits in the seventies. Notably, Tillis has a speech impediment, but this does not affect his singing at all.
65. “Sonatine Bureaucratique” composer : SATIE
Erik Satie was a French composer most famous for his beautiful composition, the three “Gymnopédies”. I have tried so hard to appreciate other works by Satie but I find them so very different from the minimalist simplicity of the lyrical “Gymnopédies”.
1. Word’s last syllable : ULTIMA
In the world of linguistics, the last syllable in a word is called the ultima. The second last syllable is known as the penult.
2. Aquanaut’s base : SEALAB
SEALAB I, II and II were man-made habitats built by the US Navy designed to advance the technology needed for humans to live and work underwater for extended periods. SEALAB I was lowered to a depth of just under 200 feet off the coast of Bermuda in 1964. Four divers stayed in SEALAB for 11 days, before the experiment was halted due to the approach of a tropical storm.
5. Actress Longoria : EVA
Eva Longoria is a fashion model and an actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis.
6. Soft toy brand : NERF
Nerf is soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.
7. Russian city where Turgenev was born : OREL
Orel (also Oryol) is a city lying on the Oka River, just over 200 miles SSW of Moscow. Orel was one of the cities occupied by Germany during WWII. It was liberated in 1943, but had been almost completely destroyed.
Ivan Turgenev was a Russian novelist and playwright. Turgenev’s most famous works are a collection of short stories called “A Sportsman’s Sketches” (1852) and the novel “Fathers and Sons” (1862).
9. “Fighting” Indiana team : IRISH
The athletic teams of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana are known as the Fighting Irish. There are several debated etymologies for the moniker “Fighting Irish”, with the most generally accepted being that it was applied by the press in the 1920s, reflecting the team’s’ fighting spirit and grit, determination and tenacity. I guess “grit, determination and tenacity” are characteristics often associated with the Irish.
15. Fine fiddle : STRAD
Generations of the Stradivari family produced violins, the most famous of which were constructed by Antonio Stradivari.
21. Sapporo sash : OBI
Sapporo is the fourth largest city in Japan, and lies on the island of Hokkaido. The city and surrounding area was home in 1972 to the first Winter Olympic Games to be held in Asia. For the beer drinkers out there, Sapporo is also home to Sapporo Brewery, with the Sapporo beer being one of the more internationally recognizable.
30. Word repeated twice in a Roger Ebert title about bad movies : HATED
“I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie” is a collection consisting of a couple of hundred of Roger Ebert’s most acerbic and negative film reviews. Included are reviews of “Armageddon” (1998), “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1993) and “Police Academy” (1984).
32. Injured pro’s test, perhaps : MRI
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate images that can be used by medical professionals to diagnose injury and disease.
34. “What’s doin’?” : SUP
I think that “sup” is slang for “what’s up?”
35. Haberdasher’s item : HAT
Back in the 14th century a haberdasher was a dealer in small wares. By the late 1800s, the term had evolved to mean a purveyor of menswear, and in particular was associated with the sale of hats.
36. Latin American capital : PESO
The coin called a “peso” is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.
37. Like some late-game hockey goals : EMPTY NET
In the sport of hockey, a team might pull the goaltender out of the game in the final minutes in order to place an extra attacker on the ice. If that team’s opponents score in that situation, it is referred to as an empty net goal.
38. Hindu title : SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.
45. Mark of shame : STIGMA
A stigma (plural “stigmata), in a social sense, is a distinguishing mark of disgrace. For example, one might have to suffer the stigma of being in prison. The term derives from the Greek “stigma”, which was a mark or brand.
46. Paid (up) : PONIED
“To pony up” means “to pay”. Apparently the term originated as slang use of the Latin term “legem pone” that was once used for “money”. “Legem Pone” was the title of the Psalm that was read out on March 25 each year, and March 25 was the first payday of the year in days gone by.
49. Guy in the kitchen : FIERI
Guy Fieri is a restaurant owner and television personality. Fieri is known as “the face of the Food Network” as his television series on that channel is very popular.
55. Indiana-based sports org. : NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.
56. Chutzpah : GALL
Our word “chutzpah” meaning “nerve, gall, impudence” is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.
58. Best Buy buys : PCS
Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.
61. Flying Cloud, for one : REO
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.