Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers sounds like a common phrase, but actually makes an equine reference:
- 50D. ’60s TV personality who would especially enjoy this puzzle : MR ED
- 17A. Arabian’s head covering? : BRIDLE VEIL (sounds like “bridal veil”)
- 26A. Mounting problem at Churchill Downs? : STIRRUP TROUBLE (sounds like “stir up trouble”)
- 42A. Something well in hand at Waterloo? : REIN OF NAPOLEON (sounds like “reign of Napoleon”)
- 55A. Feature of 50-Down? : HORSE VOICE (sounds like “hoarse voice”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Unit of heat energy : THERM
A therm is a unit of heat energy. One therm is equivalent to 100,000 British thermal units (BTUs).
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.
14. Bit part : CAMEO
Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.
15. Matty of baseball : ALOU
Matty Alou played major league baseball, as did his brothers Jesus and Felipe, and as did Felipe’s son Moises.
16. Most Rembrandts : OILS
The celebrated Dutch painter’s full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (sometimes Ryn). Rembrandt is perhaps most appreciated for his portraits, and left the world a remarkable collection of self-portraits.
17. Arabian’s head covering? : BRIDLE VEIL (sounds like “bridal veil”)
The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.
19. “Concord Sonata” composer : IVES
Charles Ives was one of the great classical composers, and probably the first American to be so recognized. Sadly, his work largely went unsung (pun intended!) during his lifetime, and was really only accepted into the performed repertoire after his death in 1954.
Piano Sonata No. 2 by Charles Ives is often referred to as the “Concord Sonata”. It is so called because it was inspired by the works of the 19th-century Concord writers (such as Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson).
22. Physicist Rutherford : ERNEST
By some definitions, New Zealand-born physicist and chemist Ernest Rutherford was the first person to “split the atom”. Rutherford bombarded nitrogen with alpha particles and thereby forced neutrons out of the nucleus of the nitrogen atom. The first intentional nuclear “fission” came decades later in the 1930s, with experiments in which larger nuclei were split into smaller nuclei.
24. Arequipa’s land : PERU
Arequipa is located in the south of Peru and is the second-most populous city in the country, after the capital Lima. Arequipa has been the center of many uprisings since the city was founded in 1540, and was declared the nation’s capital on two occasions, in 1835 and in 1883.
26. Mounting problem at Churchill Downs? : STIRRUP TROUBLE (sounds like “stir up trouble”)
Churchill Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack located in Louisville, Kentucky that is famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby each year. The track is named for John and Henry Churchill who once owned the land on which the course was built.
33. 2008 TARP beneficiary : AIG
AIG is the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …
The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was a step taken by the Bush administration to strengthen financial institutions during the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. The idea was for the US government to “save” the banking sector by buying up all their bad mortgages.
36. Luges, e.g. : SLEDS
A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!
40. Midwestern tribe : OTOE
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.
41. Prairie wanderer : DOGIE
“Dogie” (sometimes “dogy”) is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.
42. Something well in hand at Waterloo? : REIN OF NAPOLEON (sounds like “reign of Napoleon”)
Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I) led a series of conflicts against several European powers from 1803 until 1815, which are referred to collectively as the Napoleonic Wars. In all, Bonaparte fought about sixty battles throughout his military career, losing seven in all. Perhaps the most significant of those defeats was as the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, after which Napoleon was exiled to the British island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died in 1821.
58. Bollywood garment : SARI
“Bollywood” is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay”, the old name for Mumbai, and “Hollywood”.
60. Triage MD : ER DOC
Triage is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on a battlefield. The term “triage” is French and means “a sorting”.
61. Writer Waugh : ALEC
Alec Waugh was the older brother of the more famous Evelyn Waugh. Both were successful novelists (Evelyn of “Brideshead Revisited” fame), but what I like about Alec is that he supposedly invented the cocktail party. He invited his friends around “for tea” in the twenties, and served them all rum swizzles instead!
1. Frozen dessert chain : TCBY
TCBY is a chain of stores selling frozen yogurt, founded in 1981 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The acronym TCBY originally stood for “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but this had to be changed due to a lawsuit being pressed by a competitor called “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt”. These days TCBY stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.
2. Overconfident fable critter : HARE
“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.
5. “Le Misanthrope” playwright : MOLIERE
Molière was the stage name of French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. It is amazing how well the comedies of Molière, written in the 1600s, entertain us on stage today. Among his best-known plays are “The Misanthrope”, “The School for Wives” and “Tartuffe or the Hypocrite”.
6. Allowed from the mound : GAVE UP
That would be baseball.
8. “You think I did it?!” : MOI?!
“Moi” is the French word for “me”. One might say “Moi?” when feigning innocence.
9. Christmas cracklers : YULE LOGS
A Yule log is a large log made from a very hard wood that is burned as part of the Christmas celebration. There is also a cake called a Yule log that is served at Christmas, especially in French-speaking parts of the world. The cake is made from sponge that is rolled up to resemble a wooden Yule log.
12. Fútbol cheers : OLES
“Fútbol” is Spanish for “football”.
18. Lampshade shade : ECRU
The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.
23. Cad : ROUE
“Roue” is a lovely word, I think, describing a less than lovely man. A roue could otherwise be described as a cad, someone of loose morals. “Roue” comes from the French word “rouer” meaning “to break on a wheel”. This describes the ancient form of capital punishment where a poor soul was lashed to a wheel and then beaten to death with cudgels and bars. I guess the suggestion is that a roue, with his loose morals, deserves such a punishment.
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.
25. “Ratatouille” director Bird : BRAD
Director Brad Bird won the Best Animated Feature Oscar for 2004’s “The Incredibles” and 2007’s “Ratatouille”, both of which were Pixar movies. Bird has also directed live-action films, included the very successful 2011 movie “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol”.
“Ratatouille” is a 2007 animated film produced by Pixar. The hero of the piece is Remy, a rat whose ambition is to become a chef. Remy was voiced by stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. The veteran actor Peter O’Toole voiced the character Anton Ego, a restaurant critic.
26. Word with brim or bean : SNAP
A snap-brim hat is one with the brim turned up in the back and down in the front, and usually with a dented crown.
Snap beans are also known as green beans and string beans.
29. Many a Belieber : TWEEN
The term “tween” is now used to describe preadolescence, the years “between” 8 and 12 years of age.
Justin Bieber is a young pop singer from London, Ontario. Bieber was actually discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Brown. Fans of Bieber call themselves “Beliebers”. Personally, I’m no believer in Bieber …
30. Refrain from singing as a child? : E-I-E-I-O
There was an American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O), that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.
34. Singer Stefani : GWEN
Gwen Stefani is the lead singer for the rock band No Doubt. She joined the band in 1986, focused on a solo career from 2004-2008, but is now back singing and working with No Doubt.
44. Blue blood, for short : ARISTO
The idiomatic phrase “blue blood” applies to someone of noble descent. The phrase is a translation from the Spanish “sangre azul”, which was applied to the royal family in Spain. The notion is that someone of noble birth does not have to work outdoors in the fields, and so has untanned skin. The veins showing in the skin had “blue blood”, whereas those veins were masked by the darker skin of the peasant classes.
45. With 7-Down, bitter brews : PALE …
(7D. See 45-Down : … ALES)
Pale ale is a beer made using mainly pale malt, which results in a relatively light color for a malted beer.
48. “Play it once, Sam” speaker : ILSA
There is a famous exchange in the movie “Casablanca” that results in the piano player Sam singing “As Time Goes By”.
Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.
Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”
Sam: Oh, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I’ll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum…
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.
50. ’60s TV personality who would especially enjoy this puzzle : MR ED
The sitcom “Mister Ed” first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed’s “voice” was that of actor Allan “Rocky” Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later made frequent appearances on the show “Green Acres”.
52. Macbeth or Macduff : SCOT
Thanes were Scottish aristocrats. The most famous thanes have to be the Shakespearean characters Macbeth (the Thane of Glamis, later Thane of Cawdor, and later King of Scotland) and MacDuff (the Thane of Fife). Other thanes in “Macbeth” are Ross, Lennox and Angus, as well as Menteith and Caithness.
53. Muscle Beach display : PECS
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.
The original Muscle Beach was located on the south side of Santa Monica Pier in Southern California. Bodybuilders started working out on the beach back in the 1930s when exercise equipment was installed there as part of the WPA program. Some of the equipment was removed in the fifties, so the bodybuilding community shifted to the Venice Beach Weight Pen. That area was developed and is now known as Muscle Beach Venice.
56. “That price is negotiable,” in ads : OBO
OBO (or best offer)