Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers starts with a word meaning “just not the same”.
- 23A. Phrase of individuality : DIFFERENT STROKES
- 38A. American flag component, e.g. : CONTRASTING COLORS
- 58A. Plot device in TV’s “Fringe” : ALTERNATE UNIVERSE
- 87A. Brainstorming process : DIVERGENT THINKING
- 103A. Fallback plans : OTHER ARRANGEMENTS
- 123A. They often follow “also” in dictionaries : VARIANT SPELLINGS
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Fern seed : SPORE
Spores are produced by many bacteria, fungi and non-flowering plants. A spore is a reproductive body encased in a protective shell that is highly resistant to damage, and resistant to heat in particular.
6. Posh hotel amenity : ROBE
No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that POSH is actually an acronym standing for “Port Out, Starboard Home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.
19. Secret rival : ARRID
Arrid is an antiperspirant deodorant brand introduced in the thirties. Slogans associated with Arrid have been “Don’t be half-safe – use Arrid to be sure”, “Stress stinks! Arrid works!” and “Get a little closer”.
21. Tom Sawyer’s aunt : POLLY
Mark Twain’s famous character Tom Sawyer had a few family members. He had an Aunt Polly, an Aunt Sally Phelps, a cousin Mary and half-brother Sid.
23. Phrase of individuality : DIFFERENT STROKES
Different strokes for different folks.
26. “__ the Woods” : INTO
“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.
28. Hawaii County seat : HILO
Hilo is the largest settlement on the big island of Hawai’i, with a population of over 43,000 (that’s not very many!). I love the Big Island …
31. Math function : SINE
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”
35. Blog feed format letters : RSS
Many websites and blogs publish content in a format known as Rich Site Summary (RSS). The “feed” can be read using an RSS reader. The advantage of using an RSS reader, is that the user doesn’t have to check the website for new content. That new material is fed to the RSS reader as soon as it is published.
38. American flag component, e.g. : CONTRASTING COLORS
Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first stars and stripes.
44. Sorority letters : ETAS
Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.
47. Suffix meaning “country” : -STAN
The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”. One example is “Pakistan”, the Place of the Pure. “Pakistan” is a relatively recent name, first coined in 1933. It comes from the abbreviation PAKSTAN, standing for Punjab – Afghan Province – Kashmir – Sindh – BaluchisTAN, all regions in the north of India. The “I” was added to Pakistan to make it easier to pronounce, and to fit the translation “Land of the Pure”.
48. Notes from a loser, maybe : IOUS
I owe you (IOU)
49. Brownish grays : TAUPES
Taupe is a dark, gray-brown color. The word “taupe” comes from the Latin name of the European Mole, which has skin with the same color.
52. “My Way” lyricist : ANKA
The song “My Way” has lyrics that were written by Paul Anka in 1969, but the tune itself was composed two years earlier by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. The song had been released with completely different lyrics in France as “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”). When Anka heard the song on television in Paris he sought out and obtained the rights to use it himself, for free. Supposedly, “Comme d’habitude” has been recorded in more languages, by more artists, than any other song in the contemporary repertoire.
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
54. GPS displays : MAPS
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The modern GPS system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. President Reagan was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.
57. Captain Hansen of “Deadliest Catch” : SIG
Sig Hansen is one of the fishermen featured on the reality show “Deadliest Catch”. Hansen claims to adhere to “the fisherman’s diet” while in command of his vessel in the Bering Sea. That diet consists of coffee, chocolate and cigarettes. Hansen suffered a heart attack while at sea in 2017, all recorded by the cameras.
58. Plot device in TV’s “Fringe” : ALTERNATE UNIVERSE
“Fringe” is a sci-fi TV show that originally aired from 2008 to 2013. The show is about a team of FBI agents (in the Fringe Division) that use “fringe science” to solve mysterious occurrences related to a parallel universe.
62. Tolkien tree creature : ENT
Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.
67. “Mi casa __ casa” : ES SU
“Mi casa es su casa” translates from Spanish as “My home is your home”.
72. Timberlake’s old group : NSYNC
Justin Timberlake got his break by appearing on TV’s “Star Search” from which he was given a starring role in “The New Mickey Mouse Club”. It was on “The New Mickey Mouse Club” that he met his future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well JC Chasez who would join Timberlake in the lineup of the boy band NSYNC.
74. Small amt. of time : MSEC
A millisecond is one thousandth of a second, and is often abbreviated to “msec”. However, the more correct abbreviation for millisecond is “ms”.
78. Dental brand suffix : -PIK
Waterpik is a brand of oral irrigator, a device that uses a stream of water to remove food debris and dental plaque from the teeth. There are claims made that water irrigators are more effective than dental floss.
80. Title character inspired by Hearst : KANE
1941’s “Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, and considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.
William Randolph Hearst got into publishing when he took over “The San Francisco Examiner” from his father George Hearst. Beyond his work in the newspaper business, William Randolph Hearst was also a politician and represented a district of New York in the US House. His life was the inspiration for the lead role in the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles playing the Hearst-like character. If you’re ever driving along the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’d recommend a stop at Hearst Castle, William Randolph’s magnificent estate located near San Simeon.
84. __-12 Conference : PAC
Pac-12 an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.
92. “Respect for Acting” author Hagen : UTA
“Respect for Acting” is a textbook used in acting classes that was written by actress and teacher Uta Hagen and first published in 1973. Hagen published a follow-up textbook in 1991 called “Challenge for the Actor”.
94. Pasternak heroine : LARA
The heroine of Boris Pasternak’s epic novel “Doctor Zhivago” is Lara. The Lara character was inspired by Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya.
96. Comic strip about a high schooler : ZITS
“Zits” is a popular cartoon strip written by Jerry Scott and illustrated by Jim Borgman. The strip debuted in 1997, and features a teenage boy called Jeremy Duncan as the main character.
98. Gateway Arch designer Saarinen : EERO
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn’t started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch, intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch alright, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment …
101. Kipling title orphan : KIM
“Kim” is a novel by Rudyard Kipling that was first published in serial form, from 1900 to 1901. The title character, whose full name is Kimball O’Hara, is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier who lives like a vagabond in India during the days of the British Raj. The boy grows up to become a spy working for the British.
102. Artist Magritte : RENE
Belgian artist René Magritte was a surrealist. His most recognized work maybe is “The Son of Man”, a painting he created as a self-portrait. It is the work that shows a man in a bowler hat with his face covered by an apple. The image features prominently in a great movie, the 1999 remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair”.
112. Cooks with fat : LARDS
Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.
117. Father or son actor : ALDA
Alan Alda has had a great television career, especially of course on “M*A*S*H”. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He won his most recent Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.
Actor Robert Alda was the father of Alan Alda. Robert Alda’s most famous role was probably George Gershwin in the 1945 movie “Rhapsody in Blue”. Robert appeared twice in “M*A*S*H”, alongside his son.
118. “The Chronicles of Barsetshire” author : TROLLOPE
Anthony Trollope was an English novelist who is best remembered for his “Chronicles of Barsetshire” series of novels. Trollope lived for several years in Ireland, and wrote four novels set there. However, these Irish works did not bring him success. It was the “Barsetshire” novels written on his return to England that helped establish Trollope’s reputation as an author.
122. Clapton on guitar : ERIC
Can you believe that the great Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974, Clapton released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff” and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself. Clapton is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a member of the Yardbirds, once as a member of the supergroup Cream, and once as a solo artist.
131. Durbeyfield daughter : TESS
In Thomas Hardy’s novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, the heroine and title character is Tess Durbeyfield. Her father is an uneducated peasant and when he hears that his name is a corruption of the noble name of “D’Urberville”, the news goes to his head.
132. __ Island Red: chicken : RHODE
The Rhode Island Red is a breed of chicken that was developed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts from the Malay chicken, and as such, the new chickens were originally named Red Malays. The Rhode Island Red was made the state bird of Rhode Island in 1954.
133. Duma denial : NYET
“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.
A “duma” is a representative assembly in Russia. The word “dumat” in Russian means “to think, consider”.
134. University town near Bangor : 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.
1. Anti-DWI org. : SADD
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) was founded in Massachusetts in 1981. SADD’s aim is to prevent road traffic accidents by urging students to avoid potentially destructive decisions (such as driving under the influence of alcohol).
2. __-dieu : PRIE
“Prie-dieu” literally means “pray (to) God” in French. A prie-dieu is basically a padded kneeler, with an armrest in front and a shelf on which one placed books of prayer.
3. German composer Carl : ORFF
Carl Orff was a German composer whose most famous piece of music is the dramatic cantata from 1937 called “Carmina Burana”.
6. German candy brand : RIESEN
Riesen is a brand of chocolate that is produced and sold mainly in Germany, but is also sold here in the US. Riesen introduced a recipe for a hot chocolate drink in 2007. The recipe calls for melting the chocolate candy over heat in a saucepan, then adding one cup of milk per candy piece. Sprinkle nutmeg to taste.
9. Funny couple? : ENS
There are a couple of letters N (ens) in the word “funny”.
12. Northeast Nevada city : ELKO
The city of Elko, Nevada came into being in 1868 as a settlement built around the eastern end of a railway line that was constructed from California and that was destined for Utah. When that section of the line was completed, the construction crews moved on towards the Nevada/Utah border, and the settlement was left behind to eventually form the city of Elko
14. Connecticut coastal tourist town : MYSTIC
The village of Mystic, Connecticut sits on the Mystic River. Mystic River isn’t actually a river, but rather an estuary. Mystic is home to the largest maritime museum in the world: the Museum of America and the Sea.
15. “Marines’ Hymn” city : TRIPOLI
Tripoli is the capital city of Libya and sits on the Mediterranean Coast. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC and was originally called Oea.
The “Marines’ Hymn” is the official hymn of the US Marine Corp, and the oldest official song of any of the US armed forces. The hymn’s famous line “To the shores of Tripoli” is a reference to the Battle of Derne in 1805, an action in the First Barbary War. In said battle, US Marines led a recruited mercenary army to victory against a much larger enemy force.
17. Piedmont wine area : ASTI
Asti is a city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.
18. Lowly laborer : PEON
A peon is a lowly worker with no real control over his/her working conditions. The word comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.
24. Western Nevada city : RENO
Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.
32. Long-necked bird : CRANE
The magnificent birds known as cranes have long legs and long necks. The species called the Sarus Crane is the world’s tallest flying bird.
33. Specifically designed poem : HAIKU
A haiku is a very elegant form of Japanese verse. When writing a haiku in English we tend to impose the rule that the verse must contain 17 syllables. This restriction comes from the rule in Japanese that the verse must contain 17 sound units called “moras”, but moras and syllables aren’t the same thing. What the difference is though, is not so clear to me. Here’s an example of a Haiku:
Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense
37. Cooks in a pan : SAUTES
“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.
43. U.S. Army E-6 : SSGT
Staff sergeant (SSgt)
50. Fraction of a joule : ERG
An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, as there are 10 million ergs in one joule. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.
James Joule was an English physicist who spent much of his life working in the family brewing business. Joule used his work in the brewery to study the relationship between heat and mechanical work. In honor of his achievements, his name is used for the unit of energy in the International System of Units (i.e. the joule).
60. Former Saturn model : ION
The Saturn Ion was produced by GM from 2003 to 2007. It was the longest (in length) of any car sold in North America to be marketed as a “compact”.
61. Bugs that roll : VWS
VW stands for Volkswagen, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.
71. Series with Capt. Picard, to fans : TNG
When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …
When Gene Roddenberry was creating the “Star Trek” spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, I think he chose a quite magnificent name for the new starship captain. “Jean-Luc Picard” is imitative of one or both of the twin-brother Swiss scientists Auguste and Jean Felix Piccard. The role of Picard was played by the wonderful Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart.
73. Kabuki kin : NOH
Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, including the female parts.
Kabuki is a Japanese form of theater involving dance and drama. In the original Kabuki theater, both male and female parts were played by women. In contrast, the Noh dramas have the male and female parts played by men.
75. Curveball relative : SLIDER
That would be baseball.
76. Climate-disrupting current : EL NINO
When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more that half a degree centigrade, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.
77. Baby swan : CYGNET
An adult male swan is called a “cob”, and an adult female is a “pen”. Young swans are called “swanlings” or “cygnets”.
79. Director Lupino : IDA
Actress Ida Lupino was also a successful director, in the days when women weren’t very welcome behind the camera. She had already directed four “women’s” shorts when she stepped in to direct the 1953 drama “The Hitch-Hiker”, taking over when the original director became ill. “The Hitch-Hiker” was the first film noir movie to be directed by a woman, and somewhat of a breakthrough for women in the industry.
83. African bovine : GNU
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. Wildebeest is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.
84. “The Godfather” novelist : PUZO
The novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, that latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).
86. Mass group : CATHOLICS
The principal act of worship in the Roman Catholic tradition is the Mass. The term “Mass” comes from the Late Latin word “missa” meaning “dismissal”. This word is used at the end of the Latin Mass in “Ite, missa est” which translates literally as “Go, it is the dismissal”.
89. Like a jaybird? : NAKED
The phrase “naked as a jaybird” dates back at least to 1943. Before that, back into the late 1800s, the equivalent phrase was “naked as a robin”. Going back further in time, the phrase “naked as a needle” was used in the late 1500s.
104. Wonder Dog of comics : REX
Rex the Wonder Dog is a canine crime fighter in the DC Comics universe who first appeared in print in 1952. Rex is a white German Shepherd, and a veteran of the US Army’s K-9 Corps who was injected with a super-soldier serum.
108. “The __ llama, / He’s a beast”: Nash : TWO-L
The poet Ogden Nash is well known for his light and humorous verse. Try this one for size:
The one-L lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-L llama,
He’s a beast.
And I would bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
116. __ Lackawanna Railway : ERIE
The Erie Lackawanna Railway operated between New Jersey and Chicago, and ran from 1960 to 1976. Although some of the routes are still in service today, the original company went bankrupt in the seventies, partly due to the completion of Interstate 80.
117. 2012 Best Picture : ARGO
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …
118. Rd. often named for a state : TPKE
Back in the 15th century, a turnpike (tpke.) was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travelers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.
120. PC scrolling key : PGDN
Page Down (PGDN)
121. Petrol station sign : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.
Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.
125. 20 hundredweight : TON
Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton or sometimes a “long ton”. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a “short ton”. To further complicate matters, there is also a “metric ton” or “tonne”, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. Personally, I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …
In America, a hundredweight is 100 pounds, whereas in the UK, a hundredweight is 112 pounds. The hundredweight is also called a centum weight, which explains the abbreviation used: cwt.