Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers includes the hidden letter string BAT. However the order of the letters is BROKEN, changed:
- 58A. Cause of wood splinters in the infield … and what each set of puzzle circles represents : BROKEN BAT
- 17A. Popular pool game : EIGHT-BALL
- 32A. Nearly : JUST ABOUT
- 40A. Bulletin board sticker : THUMBTACK
- 5D. Healthful cereal : OAT BRAN
- 42D. Doctor’s order : LAB TEST
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
14. Andes beast of burden : LLAMA
Many female mammals lick off their newborn. That’s not an option for llamas as their tongues only reach out of their mouths about half an inch. Instead llama dams nuzzle their young and hum to them.
16. Flashy display : ECLAT
“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.
17. Popular pool game : EIGHT-BALL
Eight-ball and nine-ball are arguably the most popular variants of pool played in North America. In eight-ball, one player sinks the striped balls, and the other the solid balls. The first to sink all his or her balls, and then the black 8-ball, without fouling wins the game. In nine-ball, each player must hit the lowest numbered ball on the table first with the cue ball. The first player to sink the 9-ball wins. Sinking the nine ball can happen when first hitting the lowest bowl on the table, or possibly when balls numbered 1-8 have been sunk.
21. Spinach-eating sailor : POPEYE
The cartoon character Popeye the Sailorman is very fond of spinach, eating cans of the vegetable through his pipe and garnering great strength from it.
22. College dorm VIPs : RAS
RAs are resident assistants or resident advisers, the peer leaders found in residence halls, particularly on a college campus.
23. Loo : LAV
Our word lavatory (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.
24. Blame for the crime : RAP
A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.
25. Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?,” e.g. : SLOGAN
Capital One is a financial services company based in McLean, Virginia. The company is known for its mass marketing of credit cards. In fact, it is one of the US Post Office’s largest customers due to the volume of direct mail solicitations sent out.
29. Great Wall continent : ASIA
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications that was built and rebuilt over the centuries to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. Most of the existing wall was reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty. This Ming wall is about 5,000 miles long. There is an urban myth that the Great Wall is visible from the Moon, or from space. NASA has shown that the Great Wall can only be discerned from low Earth orbit (about 100 miles), and that is no more or less visible than any other man-made structure.
31. Singer Rimes : LEANN
LeAnn Rimes has been a country music star since she was 13 years old. In 2008 she disclosed publicly that she suffered from the autoimmune disease psoriasis. She has been active since then in raising money to fight the disease and helping fund cancer research as well. So, not only did Rimes win three Grammy Awards in 1997, she also won a 2009 Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Country Music.
37. Eduardo’s eight : OCHO
In Spanish, “ocho” is “eight”.
38. Brown-toned photo : SEPIA
Sepia is that lovely rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish.The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.
42. Doone of Exmoor : LORNA
The novel “Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.
43. Israeli statesman Abba : EBAN
Abba Eban was an Israeli diplomat and politician, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban in Cape Town, South Africa. While working at the United Nations after WWII, Eban changed his given name to “Abba”, the Hebrew word for “father”. He made this change as reportedly as he could see himself as the father of the nation of Israel.
44. Poland’s capital : WARSAW
The capital city name “Warsaw” in Polish means “belonging to Warsz”. Legend has it that Warsz, was a fisherman who fell in love with a mermaid called Sawa. It’s a nice story, but actually Warsz was a nobleman from the 12th or 13th century who owned a local village.
45. Sophs, two yrs. later : SRS
The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.
48. Milk buys: Abbr. : QTS
The unit of volume “quart” is so called because it is one quarter of a gallon.
50. Bernadette of “Into the Woods” : PETERS
Bernadette Peters is perhaps best known as a Broadway actress, and in particular for her performances in works by Stephen Sondheim. Off the stage and screen, Peters was noted for her 4-year relationship with Steve Martin in the seventies.
“Into the Woods” is Stephen Sondheim musical that premiered in 1986. The storyline uses characters from several fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella”. The borrowed characters are held together with an underlying original tale about a baker and his wife who long to have a child, but cannot due to a curse placed on them by a witch.
52. Surprise winner of fable : TORTOISE
“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.
57. Japanese mushroom : ENOKI
Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.
60. Tibetan beast of burden : YAK
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.
63. Ambulance initials : EMS
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
2. Et __: and others : ALII
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).
4. Texter’s “If you ask me” : IMHO
In my humble opinion (IMHO)
6. Neuters : SPAYS
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.
9. Classical guitarist Andrés : SEGOVIA
Andrés Segovia was a classical guitar player from Andalusia in Spain.
11. Advertising handout : FLIER
Fliers are notices that are circulated. The original fliers (also “flyers”) were police bulletins that were “scatter-broadcast”.
18. Lima or fava : BEAN
The lima bean is also known as the butter bean. The lima bean was introduced to Europe from the area around Lima, Peru, hence the name.
Fava bean is an alternative name for the broad bean. “Broad bean” is used “broadly” (pun!) in the UK, whereas “fava bean” is common in the US. “Fava” is the Italian name for the broad bean.
21. Linguine or tortellini : PASTA
Linguine is a type of pasta that is similar to spaghetti, except that in cross-section linguine is elliptical whereas spaghetti is round. The correct name for the dish is “linguine” meaning “little tongues” in Italian. That said, the misspelling “linguini” is given in some dictionaries as an acceptable Americanized variant..
Tortellini are stuffed pasta that are ring-shaped, or navel shaped. In fact tortellini can also be called “umbellico”, the Italian for “belly button”.
23. Eye surgery acronym : LASIK
LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.
26. Peace Nobelist Walesa : LECH
Lech Walesa worked as an electrician in the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland. Walesa was active in the trade union movement in the days when unions were not welcome behind the Iron Curtain. His efforts resulted in the founding of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in Soviet-controlled territory. For his work, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and in 1990 he became the first democratically elected President of Poland. He has lost support in Poland in recent years, but he is a very popular booking on the international speaking circuit.
27. Honolulu’s island : OAHU
Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii, and the state capital. Located on the island of Oahu, the name “Honolulu” translates from Hawaiian as “place of shelter, calm port, sheltered bay”.
28. Pointy-hatted garden decoration : GNOME
In English folklore, the fairy’s anti-hero is the diminutive gnome, an evil ugly character. Over the centuries, the gnome has become more lovable so we now have garden gnomes, and even the Travelocity Gnome.
32. Lees on your legs : JEANS
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.
The Lee company that’s famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.
33. Scannable mdse. bars : UPC
Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code (UPC)
35. Pres. Carter’s alma mater : USNA
President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter (JEC) is a graduate of the US Naval Academy (USNA). Carter served in the Navy on surface ships and submarines, and chose to pursue a career in the submarine service as he was interested in nuclear power and believed it had a great future in submarine design. As a result, he became an expert in nuclear propulsion. In 1952, the Navy sent the young Carter to the Chalk River Laboratories in Canada to lead the US effort to shutdown the reactor after an accident and partial meltdown of a reactor core. He and his team had to be lowered into the leaking reactor core for mechanical disassembly, staying there for only seconds at a time to minimise exposure to radiation. Decades later as US President, it was this experience that influenced Carter’s decision not to complete the development of the neutron bomb.
The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.
46. Actress Zellweger : RENEE
Renée Zellweger’s big break came in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”. A few years later, Zellweger followed that up with a string of successes in “Bridget Jones Diary” (2001), “Chicago” (2002) and “Cold Mountain” (2003). My wife and I love watching her play Bridget Jones, and as someone coming from the British Isles, I have to say that Zellweger does a remarkable job with the accent. She worked hard to perfect that accent, and of course she had a voice coach. She also went “undercover” and worked as a temp in an office for three weeks fine-tuning her skills.
58. “Ciao!” : BYE!
“Ciao” is the Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.