Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s grid includes four sets of circled letters in each of the CORNERS. Those circled letters spell out types of OFFICE when read in a clockwise direction starting at the top left:
- 38A. With 41-Across, corporate status symbol … and a hint to the circled letters : CORNER …
- 41A. See 38-Across : … OFFICE
The four offices defined are:
- OVAL (office)
- HOME (office)
- TICKET (office)
- POST (office)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Sheepish? : OVINE
The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine”, meaning “like a sheep”.
15. Eliza Doolittle’s creator : SHAW
George Bernard Shaw was a very successful Irish playwright. Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature, and an Oscar. He won his Oscar for adapting his own play “Pygmalion” for the 1938 film of the same name starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. Most people are more likely to have seen the musical adaptation of “Pygmalion” that goes by the title “My Fair Lady”.
Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins’ speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.
16. Noah’s firstborn : SHEM
According to the Book of Genesis, Noah lived to a ripe old age. Noah fathered his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth when he was 500 years old, and the Great Flood took place when he was 600.
18. Big East hoopster : HOYA
The athletic teams of Georgetown University are known as the Hoyas. The name is derived from “Hoya Saxa”, a traditional cheer yelled out at Georgetown games as far back as 1893. The term is a mixture of Greek and Latin, with the Greek word “hoya” meaning “such” or “what”, and “saxa” translating from Latin as “rocks” or “small stones”. The cheer is usually rendered in English as “what rocks!”.
21. Rapper-turned-actor in “NCIS: Los Angeles” : LL COOL J
Rap star LL Cool J was born James Todd Smith. Smith’s stage name stands for “Ladies Love Cool James”. When not rapping, LL Cool J plays Special Agent Sam Hanna on TV show “NCIS: Los Angeles”.
24. Tiny, made tinier : LIL’
Lil’ is a short form of the word “little”.
28. Decadent : EFFETE
Something effete is degenerate, infertile, no longer productive. “Effete” comes from the Latin “ex-fetus”, literally “out of offspring”.
33. Gold standard : KARAT
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.
34. Univ. aides : TAS
Teaching assistant (TA)
35. Luau fare : POI
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.
37. Joyful dances : JIGS
The dance known as a “jig” is most associated with Ireland and Scotland. In traditional Irish dancing, the jig is second in popularity only to the reel. The most famous Irish jig is probably “The Irish Washerwoman”. I may not dance a jig, but I sure do know the tune of “The Irish Washerwoman” …
43. Hindu title : RANI
A ranee (also spelled “rani”) is a queen or a princess, the female equivalent of a raja in India.
47. Tennyson’s “__ Arden” : ENOCH
Alfred, Lord Tennyson published his poem “Enoch Arden” in 1864. It tells the tale of Enoch Arden who went to sea in order to support his wife and children. He gets shipwrecked, and is lost for ten years, presumed drowned. When Enoch returns, he finds his wife happily married to another man, a man who had been his lifelong rival. Sad stuff …
49. Character who debuted in “First Blood” : JOHN RAMBO
“First Blood” was the original of the four “Rambo” films starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But action all the way …
54. With 46-Across, quit working : CONKED …
(46A. See 54-Across : … OUT)
The phrase “conk out” was coined by airmen during WWI, and was used to describe the stalling of an engine.
59. Genuine, for real : SYNONYM
The word “genuine” is a synonym for “real”.
62. Bloke : LAD
“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.
63. “Rich men sin, and __ root”: “Timon of Athens” : I EAT
Timon of Athens was noted for renouncing society, for being someone who despised mankind. Timon started out life as a wealthy man, but he lost all his money by pandering to the needs of his friends. Without money, Timon’s friends deserted him. Timon became rich again when he found a pot of gold, and so his friends sought him out once more. Timon was very embittered and so drove everyone away and lived the rest of his life as a hermit. Centuries after he died, Timon of Athens was to become the title character in “Timon of Athens”, a play by William Shakespeare
68. __ stick : POGO
What we know today as a pogo stick was invented in Germany by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall. The name “pogo” comes from the first two letters in each of the inventors’ family names: Po-hlig and Go-ttschall.
69. “Beetle Bailey” pooch : OTTO
Sgt. Snorkel (“Sarge”) is Beetle Bailey’s nemesis in the cartoon strip that bears his name. Snorkel has a dog called Otto that he dresses up to look just like himself. Otto started off as a regular dog, but artist Mort Walker decide to draw him more like his owner, and soon Otto became a big hit.
70. Slice-and-dice product suffix : -MATIC
Like the Veg-O-Matic, perhaps.
71. Crimean War leader : TSAR
The Crimean War of 1855-1856 was fought between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia. One of the most famous engagements of the Crimean War was the 1854 Battle of Balaclava, which involved the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade.
72. Lamp gas : NEON
The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.
73. Walter White’s Pontiac model in “Breaking Bad” : AZTEK
The Pontiac Aztek is a mid-size crossover SUV that was made by GM from 2001 to 2005. The vehicle was also sold as the Buick Rendezvous. The Aztek was a commercial flop, although it has been getting a bit of a following in recent years as it featured in the hit TV series “Breaking Bad”.
1. Hardly a neophyte : OLD PRO
A neophyte is a recent convert to a particular doctrine or practice.
3. Emetic drug : IPECAC
Syrup of ipecac is a preparation made from the dried roots and rhizomes of the ipecacuanha plant. The syrup is used as an emetic, a substance that induces vomiting. Ipecac accomplishes this by irritating the lining of the stomach.
5. Airline since 1948 : EL AL
El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv.
8. Drop to the canvas : KAYO
A “kayo” is a knock-out (KO).
9. Marshy hollow : SWALE
A swale is a narrow tract of low-lying land that is usually wet or marshy. A swale can be naturally occurring or man-made. One might create a swale to help manage drainage of adjacent land.
10. Mentalist’s gift : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)
11. Ill-tempered : CHOLERIC
“Choler” is “anger, irritability”. Choler (also “cholera”) was one of the body’s four basic substances of medieval science, the so-called four humors. All diseases were caused by these four substances getting out of balance. The four humors were:
- Black bile (melancholia)
- Yellow bile (cholera)
- Phlegm (phlegma)
- Blood (sanguis)
23. 35th pres. : JFK
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was the son of Joe Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, hence the president’s double-barreled name.
26. Indy racer Danica or sportscaster Dan : PATRICK
Danica Patrick is a very successful auto racing driver. She won the 2008 Indy Japan 300. making her the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race. Patrick also finished third in the 2009 Indy 500, the highest finish for a woman in that race.
Dan Patrick is a sportscaster and radio personality. He is host of “The Dan Patrick Show” on the radio and is co-host of “Football Night in America” on NBC television.
29. Sizzling Tex-Mex dish : FAJITAS
“Fajita” is a Tex-Mex term that refers to grilled meat served on a tortilla. The original Mexican-Spanish term “fajita” is used to describe a small strip of chicken or beef. Nowadays, fajitas are often served on a sizzling platter with the tortillas and condiments on the side.
38. Camera named for a goddess : CANON EOS
I’ve been using Canon EOS cameras for decades now, and have nothing but good things to say about both the cameras and the lenses. The EOS name stands for Electro-Optical System, and was chosen because it evokes the name of Eos, the Titan goddess of dawn from Greek mythology.
39. Five Nations tribe : ONONDAGA
The Iroquois Confederacy was also known as the Five Nations and was comprised of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations.
40. “The Big Bang Theory” astrophysicist : RAJ
Raj Koothrappali is a character on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” who is played by British-Indian actor Kunal Nayyar. Nayyar is married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India.
42. Pelt : FUR
A pelt is the skin of a furry animal.
45. Home city of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper : TORONTO
“The Globe and Mail” is a Canadian newspaper based in Toronto and distributed nationwide. The paper is a descendant of “The Globe”, a Toronto publication founded in 1844. “The Globe and Mail” had a significant redesign and relaunch in 2010, a step made necessary I suppose by the global migration to online news reporting.
50. Muppet master : HENSON
Jim Henson was a puppeteer, and most famously the creator the Muppets characters. Henson produced his first puppets for a local television station in Hyattsville, Maryland while he was still in high school. As well as the famous Muppet characters, Henson created, operated and voiced the character Yoda in most of the “Star Wars” movies. Henson died from a streptococcal infection in 1990, on the same day that Sammy Davis, Jr. passed away.
51. Giant in Cooperstown : MEL OTT
At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.
Cooperstown is a village in New York that is famous as the home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The village was named for Judge William Cooper, Cooperstown’s founder, and the father of the noted writer James Fenimore Cooper.
52. Small cap : BEANIE
A beanie is a knitted, close-fitting hat with no brim. The name probably comes from the slang term “bean” meaning “head”.
55. Bagless vacuum pioneer : DYSON
Dyson vacuum cleaners do not use a bag to collect dust. James Dyson invented the first vacuum cleaner to use cyclonic separation in 1979, frustrated at the poor performance of his regular vacuum cleaner. As Dyson cleaners do not use bags, they don’t have to deal with collection bags that are blocked with fine dust particles, even after emptying. Cyclonic separation uses high speed spinning of the dust-containing air so that the dust particles are thrown out of the airflow into a collection bin. We have a Dyson now, and should have bought it years ago …
60. Staff member? : NOTE
The set of five horizontal line and four spaces used in Western musical notation can be called a staff or stave. Either way, the plural form is “staves”.
64. Craggy peak : TOR
A tor is a high rocky hill. “Tor” comes from the Old English “torr”, the word for a tower or rock, which in turn comes from the Old Welsh “twrr” meaning a heap or a pile.
67. Tornadic Looney Tunes spinner : TAZ
The “Looney Tunes” character known as the Tasmanian Devil, or “Taz”, first appeared in a cartoon short with Bugs Bunny called “Devil May Care” in 1954.