Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers an ACTION that might be taken by a CLASS in a school:
- 57A. Group lawsuit … and what each answer to a starred clue is? : CLASS ACTION
- 18A. *Annual kids’ competition aired by ESPN : SPELLING BEE
- 24A. *Excursion that may require permission slips : FIELD TRIP
- 37A. *Evacuation exercise : FIRE DRILL
- 50A. *Year-end hurdle : FINAL EXAM
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Place for fuzzy navels : BAR
The cocktail known as a fuzzy navel was invented in the eighties by bartender Ray Foley, the founder of “Bartender Magazine”. The basic drink is made with equal parts of peach schnapps and orange juice, with the “fuzzy” referring to the texture of the skin of a peach, and the “navel” referring to the navel in a navel orange. A variant of the drink is made by adding a splash of vodka, giving a hairy navel. The more vodka, the hairier the cocktail.
10. Animated internet pics : GIFS
A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.
14. Whopper, but not a Big Mac : LIE
The iconic Big Mac sandwich was introduced nationally by McDonald’s in 1967. It was the creation of a Pittsburgh franchisee who offered it on the menu as a response to the very similar “Big Boy” sandwich offered by the competing Big Boy restaurant chain.
16. “You said it, sister!” : AMEN!
The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.
17. Safari find : URL
Safari is Apple’s flagship Internet browser, one that is mainly used on its Mac line of computers. Personally, I use Google Chrome …
18. *Annual kids’ competition aired by ESPN : SPELLING BEE
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is sponsored and managed by the E. W. Scripps Company. ESPN has been televising the latter rounds of the National Spelling Bee since 2006.
20. Kazan who directed Marlon in his first Oscar role : ELIA
Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.
Actor Marlon Brando really hit the big time with his Oscar-winning performance in the 1951 movie “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Brando went on to win another Best Actor Oscar for his performance in 1972’s “The Godfather”, which gave him the platform to establish himself as a political activist. He turned down the award and didn’t attend the ceremony. Instead he sent a Native American rights activist called Sacheen Littlefeather who made a speech protesting the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood movies. Brando wasn’t the first person to refuse an Oscar. George C. Scott did the same thing when he won for playing the title role in 1970’s “Patton”. Scott just didn’t like the whole idea of “competing” with other actors.
22. Crème de la crème : ELITE
The “crème de la crème” is the elite, the best of the best. The term is French and translates as “cream of the cream”.
23. Neruda’s “__ to Common Things” : ODE
Pablo Neruda was the pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Basoalto chose the name as a homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.
31. Bridal bio term : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
32. Reader at Mass : LECTOR
Lector” is Latin for “reader”.
36. Pigs out (on), briefly : ODS
41. Balkan first-timer in the 2016 Olympics : KOSOVO
The country name “Kosovo” is an adjectival form of the Serbian word “kos” meaning “blackbird”. The name commemorates the “field of the blackbirds” the site of a 1389 battle between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. The dispute over Kosovo technically dates back to the implosion of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The capital of Kosovo is Pristina.
45. Oasis visitors : CAMELS
An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake.
47. Urbana-Champaign “Fighting” team : ILLINI
The Illini (or the Fighting Illini) are the athletic teams and marching band of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The name Illinois is a French name that was given to the people who lived in the area (called Illiniwek).
49. What might make a Cardinal an Oriole : TRADE
The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.
The Baltimore Orioles are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.
54. Maine college town : ORONO
The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine, founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers. The town of Orono is named after Joseph Orono, a chief of the Penobscot Nation. The school’s athletic teams are named the Maine Black Bears.
61. Homeric outburst : D’OH!
“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”
63. Crunchy breakfast : MUESLI
“Muesli” is a Swiss-German term describing a breakfast serving of oats, nuts, fruit and milk. “Muesli” is a diminutive of the German word “Mues” meaning “puree”. Delicious …
64. “Just sayin’,” in texts : IMO
In my opinion (IMO)
66. Out in a hammock? : ASLEEP
Our word “hammock” comes via Spanish from Haiti, evolving from a word used there to describe a fishing net.
67. Empire St. paper : NYT
“The New York Times” (NYT) has been published since 1851. These days a viable alternative to buying the paper is to read the news online. NYTimes.com is the most popular online newspaper website in the country.
The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.
1. Much sushi- and sashimi-grade tuna : BLUEFIN
Bluefin tuna is one of those species (actually there are three species of bluefin) that has been overfished, and is no longer found in some parts of the world.
2. Southwest, e.g. : AIRLINE
Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest low-cost passenger airline. I’ve always admired the Southwest operation and found that the company knows to keep costs under control while maintaining a high level of customer service. One strategy the company used for decades was only to operate Boeing 737 aircraft, which kept maintenance and operating costs to a minimum.
4. Corp. symbols : TMS
5. Eschew the doorbell : RAP
“To eschew”, meaning “to avoid, shun” comes from the Old French word “eschiver” that means the same thing.
6. Like __ in the headlights : A DEER
There may be some truth to the idea that a deer can freeze when “caught in the headlights” of a car. This is because the anatomy of a deer’s eye, like many animals, is such that its night vision is very effective. That extra night sensitivity can be a disadvantage when a deer is suddenly illuminated by a strong light like that from a headlamp. Such illumination can be blinding and perhaps bewildering, causing the deer to freeze.
7. Ma’s strings : CELLI
Yo-Yo Ma is a marvelous American cellist who was born in Paris to Chinese parents. Ma started studying the violin when he was very young, working his way up (in size) to the viola and finally to the cello. He has said that he wanted to play the double bass, but it was just too big for his relatively small frame.
8. Showy April bloom : TULIP
We usually associate the cultivation of tulips with the Netherlands, but they were first grown commercially in the Ottoman Empire. The name “tulip” ultimately derives from the Ottoman Turkish word “tulbend” which means “muslin, gauze”.
9. Shish kebab holder : SPIT
The term “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.
12. Birdseed buffets : FEEDERS
Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.
19. Fiddling emperor : NERO
The Great Fire of Rome raged for five and a half days in 64 AD. Of the fourteen districts of Rome, three were completely destroyed and seven more suffered serious damage. The emperor at the time was Nero, although reports that he fiddled, played his lyre or sang while the city burned; those accounts are probably not true. In fact, Nero was staying outside of Rome when the fire started and rushed home on hearing the news. He organized a massive relief effort, throwing open his own home to give shelter to many of the citizens who were left living on the street.
21. Liston opponent : ALI
Sonny Liston won the heavyweight boxing championship in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round. Liston suffered a first round defeat himself in 1965, to Muhammad Ali. The picture of Ali standing over Liston was featured on the cover of a special “Sports Illustrated” edition featuring “The Century’s Greatest Sports Photos”.
25. Where heros are made : DELI
“Hero” is another name for a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.
26. Sexy dance moves : TWERKS
Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.
28. Mil. no-show : AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).
30. “Jeopardy!” fare : TRIVIA
Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …
33. VIP with a corner office, perhaps : CEO
Chief executive officer (CEO)
34. NFL six-pointers : TDS
35. Guatemala gold : ORO
Guatemala in Central America became independent from Spain in 1821, first becoming part of the Mexican Empire, and then becoming completely independent two years later.
37. Mister Rogers : FRED
The “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show starred Fred Rogers. It was the second-longest running series on PBS television after that other iconic children’s show “Sesame Street”.
39. Mrs. Smith’s rival : SARA LEE
In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit and he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day, as does Ms. Sara Lee herself who now goes by the name Sara Lee Schupf.
The company known as Mrs. Smith’s Pies was founded by Amanda Smith and her son in the 1920s. The Smiths started the company to take advantage of increasing demand for her own fruit pies that she sold at a local YMCA lunch counter in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
43. Gray area? : ANATOMY
“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (note “Grey” vs. Gray”) is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.
44. Drummer’s sound after a one-liner : RIMSHOT
A rimshot is a sound made when a drummer hits the head of a drum and the rim at the same time. It’s a sound often used by comics to help punctuate a gag.
45. Med. imaging procedure : CT SCAN
A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful, causing damage that is cumulative over time.
50. Prepare to shoot with a Canon : FOCUS
The Japanese company called Canon is largely known in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.
51. Maker of chips : INTEL
Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips. The company was founded in 1968, and the name “Intel” is a derived from the term “int(egrated) el(ectronics)”. Recognition of the Intel brand has been greatly helped by the success of the “Intel Inside” campaign that started back in 1991.
52. Cacophony : NOISE
“Cacophony” is such a lovely word, one used to describe a harsh or jarring sound. The term arises from the Greek “kakos” (bad) and “phone” (voice).
55. Major Hindu deity : RAMA
In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has seven different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.