Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers a hidden word, right in the MIDDLE, that is shown by the circled letters in the grid. That hidden MIDDLE word is a type of AGE:
- 61A. Period after young adulthood … and a hint to each set of circles : MIDDLE AGE
- 17A. Beverage from a German vineyard : RHINE WINE (giving “New Age”)
- 27A. Unauthorized recording : BOOTLEG ALBUM (giving “legal age”)
- 44A. Nuclear power : ATOMIC ENERGY (giving “ice age”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Stinging insect : WASP
While the wasp is considered to be a nuisance by many, the insect is very important to the agricultural industry. Wasps prey on many pest insects, while having very little impact on crops.
5. Storied broom riders : HAGS
“Hag” is a shortened form of the Old English word “haegtesse” meaning, “witch”.
14. Govt. workplace monitor : OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.
15. Yemen neighbor : OMAN
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.
16. Copier need : TONER
The key features of a laser printer (or copier) are that it uses plain paper and produces quality text at high speed. Laser printers work by projecting a laser image of the printed page onto a rotating drum that is coated with photoconductors (material that becomes conductive when exposed to light). The areas of the drum exposed to the laser carry a different charge than the unexposed areas. Dry ink (toner) sticks to the exposed areas due to electrostatic charge. The toner is then transferred to paper by contact and is fused into the paper by the application of heat. So, that explains why paper coming out of a laser printer is warm, and sometimes powdery.
17. Beverage from a German vineyard : RHINE WINE (giving “New Age”)
The majority of German wines are produced in vineyards located along the river Rhine, or along tributaries of the Rhine. Such wines are usually referred to as “Rhine wines”.
New-Age music is created to provide a relaxing and stress-free atmosphere. The New Age movement is often said to have begun with the release of an album called “Spectrum Suite” by Steven Halpern in 1975.
19. Wheel spokes, geometrically : RADII
“Radius” (plural “radii”) is a Latin word, as one might expect, meaning “spoke of a wheel”. Makes sense, huh …?
20. Triangular Greek letters : DELTAS
Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. We are most familiar with an upper-case delta and its distinctive triangular shape. The letter’s shape has influenced terms such as “deltoid muscle” and “river delta”. The upper-case delta is also used in mathematics and science to indicate a change in value. The lower-case delta looks a bit like our lower-case D, and indeed the Greek letter delta gave us our Latin letter D.
23. French fashion monogram : YSL
Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …
26. Anteater’s slurp in the comic “B.C.” : ZOT
“B.C.” is a comic strip that was drawn by Johnny Hart, and now since Hart’s passing, is produced by his grandson. Hart introduced “B.C.” in 1958. One of the non-human characters in the strip is the Anteater, who sucks up ants with his sticky tongue making a “ZOT” sound. Hart’s Anteater is the inspiration for Peter the Anteater, the team mascot for UC Irvine. Johnny Hart’s other famous comic strip is the brilliant “The Wizard of Id”.
27. Unauthorized recording : BOOTLEG ALBUM (giving “legal age”)
“To bootleg” is to make or smuggle alcoholic drinks illegally. The term arose in the late 1800s as slang for the practice of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot. The term has been extended to mean the illegal production and sale of just about anything.
36. Like Cheerios : OATY
Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, Cheerios were known as CheeriOats.
38. Medical ins. plan : HMO
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
44. Nuclear power : ATOMIC ENERGY (giving “ice age”)
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.
48. Put the kibosh on : NIX
The use of “nix” as a verb, meaning “to shoot down”, dates back to the early 1900s. Before that “nix” was just a noun meaning “nothing”. “Nix” comes from the German “nichts”, which also means “nothing”.
Kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.
49. Klutz : OAF
A klutz is an awkward individual, and the term comes from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.
50. Noah’s boat : ARK
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.
53. One of a group of versifiers that included Wordsworth : LAKE POET
The Lake Poets were a group of Romantic poets who lived in the Lake District of northern England in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The three most prominent members of the group were William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey.
The great English poet William Wordsworth is intrinsically linked with the Lake District in the north of England, where he lived from much of his life. The Lake District is a beautiful part of the country, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Dove Cottage in Grasmere a couple of times, where Wordsworth lived with his wife Dorothy …
60. Whitney Houston’s “__ Always Love You” : I WILL
“I Will Always Love You” is a fabulous song written, and originally recorded, by Dolly Parton. Parton wrote the song on the occasion of her professional breakup with Porter Wagoner, with whom she sang as part of a duo for six years. Famously, Whitney Houston recorded a highly successful rearranged cover version of “I Will Always Love You”, primarily for the soundtrack of “The Bodyguard”. Houston starred in the movie “The Bodyguard” alongside Kevin Costner.
Whitney Houston is the only singer to have a run of seven consecutive Billboard number-one hits. Houston’s recording of the wonderful Dolly Parton song “I Will Always Love You”, from the soundtrack of 1992’s “The Bodyguard”, is the best-selling single for a female artist in the history of recorded music. Houston died at the age of 48 in 2012, drowning in her bathtub.
65. On a yawl, say : ASEA
A yawl is a two-masted sailing vessel. There is a main mast forward, and a smaller mizzen mast close to the stern. A yawl is similar to a ketch, in that both rigs have two masts. The mizzen mast is forward of the rudderpost in a ketch, and after of the rudderpost in a yawl.
66. Small hippo type : PYGMY
The pygmy hippopotamus and the much larger common hippopotamus are the only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae. Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa, and are nocturnal beasts. One of the more famous examples of the species was Billy the pygmy hippo, a beast that Harvey Firestone of Firestone Tires fame presented to President Calvin Coolidge for Washington Zoo in 1927. Most pygmy hippos in zoos around the country today are related to Billy.
67. Trillion: Pref. : TERA-
The prefix “tera-” signifies a trillion, and comes from the Greek word “teras” meaning “monster”.
3. Con man’s setup man : SHILL
A shill is someone planted, perhaps in an audience, with the job of feigning enthusiasm.
13. Pre-calc math course : TRIG
Trigonometry (trig) is a branch of mathematics dealing with triangles, and calculations based on the relationships between a triangle’s angles and the lengths of its sides.
Remember doing calculus at school, and all those derivatives and integrals? Well, you probably also remember that an integral calculates the area under a curve (for example), and a derivative calculates the slope of a tangent at a particular point on a curve.
22. Get dolled (up) : TOG
The verb “tog up”, meaning to dress up, comes from the Latin “toga”, the garment worn in Ancient Rome. “Tog” can be also be used as an informal word for a coat or a cloak. Back in Ireland, togs are what we call swimming shorts.
27. __ buddy : BOSOM
“Bosm” is an Old English word for breast, which came into English as “bosom” meaning “breast, chest” without any association with either gender. It was only in the late fifties that the meaning narrowed to mean a woman’s breasts”. Terms like “bosom-friend” have been around since the late 16th century, and “bosom buddy” since the 1920s.
29. Senseless : LOONY
Something described as “loony” is insane, crazy. “Loony” is short for “lunatic”, an adjective “lunatic” is now considered offensive. The term arose in the late 1400s, when it meant “affected with periodic insanity”, i.e. insanity attacks brought on by the cycles of the moon. “Lunatic” comes from the Latin “luna” meaning “moon”.
30. South Pacific resort island : BALI
Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.
31. Sport-__: versatile vehicles : UTES
A utility vehicle is often called a “ute” for short. Nowadays one mainly hears about sports utes and crossover utes.
32. Classic PC game : MYST
In the days when I played the occasional video game, the best of the bunch was undoubtedly Myst. It is a game full of puzzles with the player wandering through a beautifully-designed (for its day) interactive world.
35. Partnership for Peace international gp. : NATO
The Partnership for Peace (PfP) program is a NATO initiative that dates back to 1994. The intent of the PfP is to foster trust between NATO and the former Soviet Union.
40. “Baa Baa Black Sheep” wool unit : BAGFUL
The old English nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is usually sung as:
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
The tune that accompanies the rhyme is a variant of the French melody “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman”, which we know best in English as the tune for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
46. AFL merger partner : CIO
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886, making it one of the first federations of unions in the country. Over time the AFL became dominated by craft unions, unions representing skilled workers of particular disciplines. In the early thirties, John L. Lewis led a movement within the AFL to organize workers by industry, believing this would be more effective for the members. But the craft unions refused to budge, so Lewis set up a rival federation of unions in 1932, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The two federations became bitter rivals for over two decades until finally merging in 1955 to form the AFL-CIO.
51. Bright Orion star : RIGEL
Rigel is the sixth brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. If you can imagine the stars in Orion laid out, Rigel is at his left foot. The name “Rigel” is an abbreviated version of the Arabic term for “Left Foot of the Central One”.