Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers contains a hidden word, a type of ANIMAL HOUSE:
- 63A. 1978 misfit comedy … and something hidden in each answer to a starred clue : ANIMAL HOUSE
- 17A. *Felt-covered gaming equipment : CRAPS TABLES (hiding “stable”)
- 39A. *What may be moved by a fan : COOL AIR (hiding “lair”)
- 11D. *Dr Pepper Museum locale : WACO, TEXAS (hiding “cote”)
- 32D. *Result of a Merlot mishap : WINE STAIN (hiding “nest”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. Spot for a Fitbit : WRIST
Fitbits are wearable activity trackers that are mainly used to track the number of steps walked. Fitbit Inc. was founded in 2007 in San Francisco.
11. Practical joker : WAG
A “card”, “wag” or “riot” is a very amusing person.
14. __ diem : CARPE
“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”. The satirical motto of a procrastinator is “carpe mañana”, “translating” as “seize tomorrow”.
15. Shade-loving ornamental : HOSTA
The Hosta genus of plant was once classified as a lily, but is now in a family of its own and is described as “lily-like”. The plant was given the name “Hosta” in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host.
17. *Felt-covered gaming equipment : CRAPS TABLES (hiding “stable”)
If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.
19. Hoodwink : CON
“To hoodwink” has had the meaning “to deceive” since about 1600. Prior to that it meant simply “to blindfold”, and is simply a combining of the words “hood” and “wink”.
20. Reality TV host Mike : ROWE
Mike Rowe is the host of the successful reality show called “Dirty Jobs” that is broadcast by “Discovery Channel”. Rowe is also a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company in a series of television commercials. He is quite the singer too, as he sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera for a while.
22. Grey Goose rival : STOLI
Stolichnaya is a brand of Russian vodka made from wheat and rye grain. Well, “Stoli” originated in Russia but now it’s made in Latvia, which is of course a completely different country, so you won’t see the word “Russian” on the label.
Grey Goose is a vodka that is produced in France. The beverage was developed especially for the American market using resources and expertise available in the French Cognac region.
24. Coca-Cola Company headquarters : ATLANTA
Coca-Cola has used many advertising slogans over the life of the brand, including:
- The Great National Temperance Beverage (1906)
- Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality (1948)
- It’s the Real Thing (1971)
- Catch the Wave (1986, for “new Coke”)
- Red, White & You (1986, for “Coke Classic”)
26. Seuss’ shelled reptile : YERTLE
“Yertle the Turtle” is a story by Dr. Seuss. The book is noted for the inclusion of the word “burp”. Back in 1958 when it was published, “burp” was considered to be vulgar. But, no one seemed to mind!
27. Daughter of Michelle and Barack : SASHA
Sasha is the younger of the two Obama children, having been born in 2001. She is the youngest child to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. moved in with his parents as a small infant. Sasha’s Secret Service codename is “Rosebud”, and her older sister Malia has the codename “Radiance”.
29. “Hard __!”: sailor’s cry : ALEE
“Alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing “aweather”.
38. NPR’s Shapiro : 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.
45. UPS driver’s assignments : RTES
United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.
50. Home of Aleppo : SYRIA
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes it size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging since 2012.
52. Where to find wheels and deals : CASINO
The “casino” originated in the 1700s, first describing a public room for music or dancing. The name “casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.
54. Capelike garments : PONCHOS
A poncho is a typical South American outer garment that has been used by Native American peoples since pre-Hispanic times. One of the iconic uses of a poncho was by Clint Eastwood in spaghetti westerns.
59. Jessica of “Hitchcock” : BIEL
Jessica Biel is an actress who was known by television audiences Mary Camden on “7th Heaven”. Biel’s first film role was playing Peter Fonda’s granddaughter in “Ulee’s Gold”. Biel married singer and actor Justin Timberlake in 2012.
“Hitchcock” is a 2012 biographical film that gives a comedic slant to the story of famed director Alfred Hitchcock. Anthony Hopkins is in the title role, with an outstanding supporting cast that includes Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette and Jessica Biel. The film’s storyline revolves around the making of the 1960 hit “Psycho”.
62. Tazo product : TEA
The Tazo Tea Company was founded in 1994 in Portland, Oregon. Tazo was purchased in 1999 by Starbucks. Starbucks now runs tea shops that are fully dedicated to Tazo teas.
63. 1978 misfit comedy … and something hidden in each answer to a starred clue : ANIMAL HOUSE
The very funny 1978 movie “Animal House” has the prefix “National Lampoon’s …” because the storyline came out of tales that had already appeared in “National Lampoon” magazine. “Animal House” was to become the first in a long line of successful “National Lampoon” films. The main pledges in the movie are Tom Hulce (Pinto), who later played a magnificent “Amadeus”, and Stephen Furst (Flounder), who later played a regular role on television’s “Babylon 5”.
66. Nutmeg State collegian : ELI
Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.
Connecticut’s official nickname is the Constitution State, but can also be referred to as the Nutmeg State, the Provisions State, and the Land of Steady Habits.
68. Ancient Anatolian region : IONIA
The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of Ancient Greece although it wasn’t a unified state, but rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.
Asia Minor is also known as Anatolia. It is the geographic part of Asia that protrudes out into the west, towards Europe, and is roughly equivalent to modern-day Turkey.
69. Rubio’s title: Abbr. : SEN
Marco Rubio became the junior US Senator for Florida in 2011. Famously, Rubio ran for the Republican nomination for president in the 2016 race, losing out to future president Donald Trump.
1. African capital near the prime meridian : ACCRA
Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.
A meridian is a line of longitude, and the Prime Meridian is that line of longitude defined as 0 degrees. The Prime Meridian is also called the Greenwich Meridian as it passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in southeast London. Of course the line of longitude that is used to represent 0 degrees is an arbitrary decision. 25 nations formally decided in 1884 to use the Greenwich Meridian as 0 degrees as it was already a popular choice. That is all except the French, who abstained from the vote and used the Paris Meridian as 0 degrees on French charts for several decades.
2. Fortune-teller? : TAROT
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.
8. Man or Manhattan : ISLE
The Isle of Man is a large island located in the middle of the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. I used to spend a lot of time there in my youth, and a very interesting place it is indeed. The Isle of Man is classed as a British Crown Dependency and isn’t part of the United Kingdom at all. It is self-governing and has its own parliament called the Tynwald. The Tynwald was created in AD 979 and is arguably the oldest continuously-running parliament in the world. The inhabitants of the island speak English, although they do have their own language as well called Manx, which is very similar to Irish Gaeilge and Scottish Gaelic. And then there are those Manx cats, the ones without any tails. I’ve seen lots of them, and can attest that they are indeed found all over the island.
The island we know as Manhattan was inhabited by the Lenape Indians when the first Europeans explorers arrived in the area. According to the logbook of one of the officers on explorer Henry Hudson’s yacht, the island was called “Manna-hata” in the local language, from which the modern name derives.
9. Jeanne d’Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE
Joan of Arc (also “Jeanne d’Arc”, her birth name) led the French Army successfully into battle a number of times during the Hundred Years War with England. When she was eventually captured, Joan was tried in Rouen, the seat of the occupying English government in France at that time. There she was burned at the stake having been found guilty of heresy. In fact, after the fire died down, the executioner raked the coals to display the charred body, proving Joan had died, and then burned the corpse again, twice, so that relics could not be collected. The remaining ashes were then cast into the Seine River. Joan of Arc was canonized some 600 years later, in 1920, and is now one of the patron saints of France.
11. *Dr Pepper Museum locale : WACO, TEXAS (hiding “cote”)
Dr Pepper was introduced in 1885 in Waco, Texas, one year before the competing Coca-Cola was released to the market. I spent an entertaining few hours at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco a few years ago.
The Old English word “cote” was used for a small house. Our modern word “cottage” comes from “cote”. We now use “cote” to mean a small shelter on a farm for sheep or birds.
12. Ring-shaped coral reef : ATOLL
An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.
13. Garage door opener brand : GENIE
Genie is a manufacturer of garage door openers based in Alliance, Ohio.
18. Puddies, to Tweety : TATS
“I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” is a famous line uttered by Tweety Bird, the yellow canary in the “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons who is constantly stalked by various cats.
25. Certain undercover cop : NARC
“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
26. Golfer Tseng who’s the youngest player to win five major championships : YANI
Yani Tseng is a professional golfer from Taiwan. Tseng was ranked number one in the Women’s World Golf Rankings from 2011 to 2013, and is the youngest player (male or female) to win five majors.
31. Reliever’s stat : ERA
Earned run average (ERA)
32. *Result of a Merlot mishap : WINE STAIN (hiding “nest”)
Merlot is one of the main grapes used to make Bordeaux wines, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
44. Nike competitor : AVIA
The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.
47. Rocky in a Beatles title : RACCOON
“Rocky Raccoon” is a folk rock song by the Beatles that they released in 1968. The song’s title inspired the creation of Marvel Comics superhero Rocket Raccoon, who features prominently in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies.
53. Simpson of fashion : ADELE
Adele Simpson was a fashion designer working out of New York for nearly five decades starting in the 1940s. As a child, Simpson was vaudeville performer who danced with several prominent entertainers of that era, including Milton Berle.
56. Actor Davis : OSSIE
Ossie Davis was a very successful African-American actor, but also a director, poet, playwright and social activist. One of Davis’s better known performances was in the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men”, in which he played the owner of the bait shop by the lake.
60. Muslim holy man : IMAM
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.
64. Chicken vindaloo go-with : NAN
Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.
Vindaloo is a very spicy Indian curry dish, and one of my favorites. The dish’s name comes from the Portuguese dish “Carne de vinha d’alhos”, which translates as “meat with wine and garlic”. Vindaloo originated in the Indian state of Goa, which was once a Portuguese province.
65. Make tracks, old-style : HIE
“To hie” is to move quickly, to bolt.