Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers ends with a type of CAKE:
- 57A. Simple thing to do … and what each starred clue’s answer ends with? : PIECE OF CAKE
- 20A. *Moon’s alleged makeup : GREEN CHEESE (giving “cheesecake”)
- 40A. *Indian spiced drink : CHAI TEA (giving “teacake”)
- 11D. *Pre-euro Dublin currency : IRISH POUND (giving “pound cake”)
- 29D. *Loofah : BATH SPONGE (giving “sponge cake”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
6. Computers with Apple cores : MACS
Macintosh (also “Mac”) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Mac was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …
10. Designer Ricci : NINA
The Nina Ricci fashion house was founded by Italian-born Maria “Nina” Ricci, in Paris in 1932.
14. Slip ‘N Slide maker : WHAM-O
Wham-O was founded in 1948, with the company’s first product being the Wham-O slingshot. Since then, Wham-O has market a string of hit toys including the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee, the Slip‘N Slide, Silly String, the Hacky Sack and the Boogie Board.
15. Peter Fonda’s title beekeeper : ULEE
“Ulee’s Gold” is a highly respected film from 1997 in which Peter Fonda plays the title role of Ulee. Ulee’s “gold” is the honey that Ulee produces. It is a favorite role for Peter Fonda and he has shared that playing Ulee brought to mind his father Henry Fonda, who himself kept a couple of hives. So if you see Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold” you’re witnessing some characteristics that Peter saw in his father.
17. Insurance giant : AETNA
When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the European volcano.
18. Nat or Natalie : COLE
Nat King Cole’s real name was Nathaniel Adams Coles. Cole made television history in 1956 when his own show debuted on NBC, a first for an African-American. Cole couldn’t pick up a national sponsor, so in order to save money and possibly save the show, many guest artists worked for no fee at all – the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte and Peggy Lee. The show survived for a year, but eventually Nat King Cole had to pull the plug on it himself.
Natalie Cole is the daughter of Nat King Cole. Natalie’s mother was Maria Cole, a singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The most famous version of the hit song “Unforgettable” was released in 1951 by Nat King Cole. In 1991, Natalie Cole recorded a version that was mixed with an earlier 1961 version sung by her father, creating an “unforgettable” father-daughter duet that was made 26 years after Nat King Cole had passed away.
19. Verdi title princess : AIDA
“Aida” is the famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is actually based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then of course complications arise!
24. __ Lee: dessert brand : SARA
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.
25. “South Pacific” song : BALI HA’I
The song “Bali Ha’i” is from the musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. In the musical, Bali Ha’i is the name of a volcanic island that neighbors the island on which the story takes place.
The 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific” is based on stories from the 1947 book “Tales of the South Pacific” by James A. Michener. “South Pacific” really is a classic show featuring some classic songs, like “Bali Ha’i”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”, “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Happy Talk”.
32. Fraidy-cat : WIMP
Our term “wimp”, describing a “timid person”, probably is an alteration of “whimper”, the sound that such an individual might make.
34. Billy Joel’s “__ Always a Woman” : SHE’S
Billy Joel wrote the song “She’s Always a Woman” in 1977 for his wife and business manager Elizabeth Weber Small. Elizabeth was known to be a tough negotiator, one who would “steal like a thief” and “never give in”. But Joel’s stance was that “she’s always a woman to me”.
36. Actress Deschanel of “New Girl” : ZOOEY
Zooey Deschanel is an actress and singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Zooey is the younger sister of Emily Deschanel who plays the title role on the TV show “Bones”. Now Zooey is playing Jess Day, the lead character on the sitcom “New Girl”. In the world of music, Zooey teams up with “M” Ward in the duo that goes by the name “She & Him”.
39. Cambridge sch. : MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.
40. *Indian spiced drink : CHAI TEA (giving “teacake”)
Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.
43. Old anesthetic : ETHER
Ethers are a whole class of organic compounds, but in the vernacular “ether” is specifically diethyl ether. Diethyl ether was once very popular as a general anesthetic.
45. Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN
Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he has a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.
49. Eur. realm until 1806 : HRE
The Holy Roman Empire (HRE) existed from 962 to 1806 AD and was a territory of varying size over the centuries that centered on the Kingdom of Germany. The HRE was a successor to the western half of the Ancient Roman Empire. The empire dissolved in 1806 when Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated after a military defeat by the French under Napoleon at Austerlitz.
54. 1982 Disney sci-fi film : TRON
Released in 1982, Disney’s “Tron” was one of the first mainstream films to make extensive use of computer graphics. The main role in the movie is played by Jeff Bridges. The original spawned a 2010 sequel called “Tron: Legacy”, as well as a 2012 TV show called “Tron: Uprising”.
65. Heart chambers : ATRIA
The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze the blood into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
70. Sought-after private of film : RYAN
“Saving Private Ryan” is an epic 1998 movie directed by Steven Spielberg, a real “must see”. The D-Day invasion scenes were shot over a two-month period on the southeast coast of Ireland.
1. Pirate’s booty : SWAG
“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. Swag is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.
2. One-named “Mask” actress : CHER
Cher’s real name is Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.
“Mask” is a 1985 film that is based on the real life of Rocky Dennis, a boy who had a greatly disfigured face. Rocky is played by Eric Stoltz, and Cher plays the boy’s mother. Understandably perhaps, “Mask” won that season’s Oscar for Best Makeup.
4. Official forgiveness : AMNESTY
A pardon is in effect a demonstration of pity and forgiveness for the crime. Amnesty is absolution while formally forgetting (“amnesty” is related to the term “amnesia”) that the crime took place. Further, a pardon can only be awarded to someone who has been convicted, whereas amnesty can be awarded to individuals who have not yet faced trial.
5. Animated Disney film with a Polynesian heroine : MOANA
“Moana” is a 2016 animated feature film, the 56th animated Disney movie. The title character is the daughter of a Polynesian chief who heads off in search of the demigod Maui, hoping that he can save her people.
6. Spanish girls : MUCHACHAS
In Spanish, a “niña” is a young girl, a child. The term “chica” applies to an older girl or perhaps a young woman.. The term “muchacha” applies to girls in general, I think …
8. TMZ figure : CELEB
TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip web site launched in 2005. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard.
10. Steph Curry’s org. : NBA
Steph Curry is a professional basketball player who was named the league’s MVP in 2015, the same season that he led the Golden State Warriors to their first NBA championship since 1975. Steph’s father is former NBA player Dell Curry, and the older brother of current NBA player Seth Curry.
11. *Pre-euro Dublin currency : IRISH POUND (giving “pound cake”)
The “punt” (also “Irish pound”) was the currency of Ireland until the euro went into circulation in 2002.
12. 1976 Olympics star Comaneci : NADIA
Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of a ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.
13. Arcade pioneer : ATARI
At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.
Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.
22. “My Fair Lady” role : ELIZA
Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins’ speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.
26. “I think,” in texts : IMO
In my opinion (IMO)
27. Thin coin : DIME
The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.
29. *Loofah : BATH SPONGE (giving “sponge cake”)
The loofah (also “loofa”, “lufah” and “luffa”, all Arabic words) is a vine, with fruit that’s very popular in Asia and Africa. If the fruit is allowed to mature, it can be processed to remove everything but the more rigid xylem structure (remember your high school botany class?) leaving a soft, sponge-like mass that is used as a skin polisher.
31. Mets star Hernandez who dated Elaine in a two-part “Seinfeld” : KEITH
Keith Hernandez is a former professional first baseman who played Major League Baseball mainly with the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. After retiring in 1990, Hernandez became a television broadcaster for Mets games. He also appeared in three episodes of the sitcom “Seinfeld”, including the last episode, playing himself. In the show, Hernandez dated Elaine, and became the object of Jerry’s “male crush”.
37. Oklahoma city : ENID
Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.
41. Beginning of el año : ENERO
In Spanish, we start the “año” (year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).
46. Holy spot : SANCTUM
A “sanctum” (plural “sancta”) is a private place where one can hide away without fear of intrusion. I love my sanctum …
48. Beau-to-be, hopefully : SUITOR
A beau (plural “beaux”) is the boyfriend of a belle, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.
51. Classic Ford auto : T-BIRD
Ford manufactured the Thunderbird (T-Bird) from 1955 to 2005, originally as a two-seater sporty convertible. The T-Bird was introduced as a competitor to Chevrolet’s new sports car, the Corvette.
53. Sportswear designer Ellis : PERRY
Perry Ellis was a fashion designer from Portsmouth, Virginia. Ellis was noted for his sportswear creations.
58. Thing, to Tomás : COSA
“Cosa” is Spanish for “thing”.
59. Guthrie of folk : ARLO
Arlo Guthrie is the son of Woody Guthrie. Both father and son are renowned for their singing of protest songs about social injustice. Arlo is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.
60. Bagpiper’s attire : KILT
The Scottish skirt called a “kilt” takes its name from the Middle English word “kilten” meaning “to tuck up”. The idea is that the kilt can be tucked up around the body to give freedom to the legs.
Bagpipes have been played for centuries all across Europe, in parts of Asia and North Africa, and in the Persian Gulf. However, the most famous versions of the instrument today are the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and the Irish uilleann pipes, my personal favorite (I’m biased). The bag in the Scottish version is inflated by blowing into it, whereas the Irish version uses a bellows under the arm.