Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answer each start with the name of a US airline:
- 55A. R. Kelly hit whose last title word is aptly rhymed with “sky” in the lyrics … and a hint to the starts of the other four longest puzzle answers : I BELIEVE I CAN FLY
- 17A. Law of the jungle, in the Old West : FRONTIER JUSTICE (giving “Frontier Airlines”)
- 23A. 1867 territorial acquisition dubbed “Seward’s Folly” : ALASKA PURCHASE (giving “Alaska Airlines”)
- 35A. 1973 Helen Reddy chart-topper : DELTA DAWN (giving “Delta Air Lines”
- 49A. Melted yellow square on a burger : AMERICAN CHEESE (giving “American Airlines”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. “Hometown Proud” market chain : IGA
IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance, a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.
4. First-string squad : A-TEAM
We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first bowstring broke.
9. Actor McGregor : EWAN
Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.
13. Election Day mo. : NOV
Election Day was chosen by Congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.
14. “Lord Jim” author Joseph : CONRAD
“Lord Jim” is a novel by Joseph Conrad that was twice adapted for the big screen. The 1925 silent film version starred Percy Marmont in the title role, and the 1965 version featured Peter O’Toole as the lead.
17. Law of the jungle, in the Old West : FRONTIER JUSTICE (giving “Frontier Airlines”)
Frontier Airlines is a passenger service based in Denver, Colorado that was founded in 1994 after Continental shut down its hub at Denver’s Stapleton Airport. The name “Frontier Airlines” had been associated with Denver since 1950. A separate company called Frontier Airlines operated out Denver from 1950 until 1986.
23. 1867 territorial acquisition dubbed “Seward’s Folly” : ALASKA PURCHASE (giving “Alaska Airlines”)
Alaska was never a profitable colony for Russia, so the empire was probably glad to receive the $7.2 million forked out by the US in 1867. The Alaska Purchase took place during the administration of President Andrew Johnson, while William H. Seward served as Secretary of State. Famously, opponents of the administration labeled the purchase “Seward’s Folly”. The US military ran Alaska for a while, until it was made into a territory in 1884. Alaska was admitted to the Union as the 49th state in 1959.
Despite the name, Alaska Airlines in based in Seattle, Washington. The company was founded as McGee Airways in 1932, and back then was based in Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska Airlines names dates back to 1944.
28. Old King Cole was a merry one : OLD SOUL
Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.
30. Southeast Asian language : LAO
Lao is the official language of Laos. Lao is also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, but there the language is known as Isan.
35. 1973 Helen Reddy chart-topper : DELTA DAWN (giving “Delta Air Lines”
The country song “Delta Dawn” uses the melody of the traditional Scottish song “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond”. “Delta Down” was a hit for Tanya Tucker in 1972, when she was just 13 years old. The following year, Helen Reddy’s recording of “Delta Dawn” hit number-one in the charts.
Delta was the world’s largest airline for a while (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008) and is also the oldest airline still operating in the US. Delta’s roots go back to 1924 before it started carrying passengers and was called Huff Daland Dusters, a crop dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name Delta Air Service was introduced in 1928.
38. CBS forensic series : CSI
The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but seems to have finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, set in Las Vegas, hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two season before being canceled in 2016.
Something described as “forensic” is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The the term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.
40. African virus : EBOLA
The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name of the virus comes from the site of the first known outbreak, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire). The disease is transmitted from human to human by exposure to bodily fluids. In nature, the main carrier of Ebola is the fruit bat.
41. ID on an auto title : VIN
Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) were introduced by the automotive industry in 1954.
49. Melted yellow square on a burger : AMERICAN CHEESE (giving “American Airlines”)
The term “American cheese” used to refer to real cheese, a type of cheddar made in the US and exported to England where it was given the name “American”. When processed cheese was developed in 1911, the term “American cheese” was applied to that “tasty” product …
54. U.S. intelligence org. : NSA
The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.
55. R. Kelly hit whose last title word is aptly rhymed with “sky” in the lyrics … and a hint to the starts of the other four longest puzzle answers : I BELIEVE I CAN FLY
“I Believe I Can Fly” is a 1996 hit that was written and performed by R&B singer R. Kelly. Notably, the song was used in the 1996 film “Space Jam”.
R. Kelly is the stage name of R&B singer Robert Kelly from Chicago. R. Kelly was named by “Billboard” as the most successful R&B singer in the past 25 years, and so I guess he has earned his nickname “King of R&B”. Kelly ran into some problems in the press when it was revealed that he had married singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 and Kelly was 27-years-old.
63. Suffix with human : -OID
A humanoid is something that has a human-like appearance, and exhibits human-like characteristics. The term was coined in the latter half of the 19th century to describe indigenous peoples encountered in areas colonized by European nations. Nowadays, we’re more likely to use the term humanoid to describe a robotic device with a human appearance.
64. Celtic language : ERSE
There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).
2. Largest living primate : GORILLA
The gorilla is the largest primate still in existence, and is one of the nearest living species to humans. Molecular biology studies have shown that our nearest relatives are in fact the species in the genus Pan (the chimpanzee and the bonobo), which split from the human branch of the family 4-6 million years ago. Gorillas and humans diverged at a point about 7 million years ago. The term “gorilla” derives from the Greek “gorillai” meaning “tribe of hairy women”. Wow!
3. Guacamole fruit : AVOCADO
Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes, and is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.
5. You, to Yves : TOI
In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.
7. Pianist Claudio : ARRAU
Claudio Arrau was a greatly respected Chilean pianist who performed for much of the twentieth century until his death in 1991. Arrau left Chile to study in Germany where he lived for many years, having married a German opera singer. During WWII, Arrau and his family left Germany and settled in New York City.
9. Little newt : EFT
Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.
11. Bow-and-arrow wielders : ARCHERS
An archer is someone who shoots with a bow and arrow. The term ultimately derives from the Latin “arcus”meaning “bow”.
12. Santa Fe’s st. : NMEX
Santa Fe is New Mexico’s capital, and the fourth most-populous city in the state (after Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Rio Rancho). Sitting at 7,199 feet above sea level, Santa Fe is the highest state capital in the US. The city’s name translates from Spanish as “Holy Faith”. The full name of the city when it was founded in 1607 was “La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís”, meaning “the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi”. It became the capital of the province Santa Fe de Nuevo México in 1610, making Santa Fe the oldest state capital in the US.
15. Dummy : DUNCE
John Duns Scotus was a theologian and scholar in the Middle Ages, responsible for many writings that were used as textbooks in British universities of the day. New ideas developed during the English Renaissance, but Duns Scotus and his followers resisted the changes. The word “dunse” came into use as a way of ridiculing those refusing to learn anything new, a precursor to our modern usage of “dunce”.
18. Monster’s loch : NESS
The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.
23. “You’ve Got Mail” ISP : AOL
The iconic phrase “You’ve got mail” was first used by AOL in 1989. The greeting was recorded by voice actor Elwood Edwards. Edwards has parlayed his gig with AOL into some other work. He appears in an episode of “The Simpsons” as a doctor who says the line “You’ve got leprosy”. Edwards also worked as a weatherman for a while and got to use the line “You’ve got hail” …
24. NBA great Bryant : KOBE
Kobe Bryant plays basketball for the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant got his name from a menu would you believe? His parents were in a Japanese restaurant and liked the name of “Kobe” beef, the beef from around the city of Kobe on the island of Honshu in Japan.
25. “The Clan of the Cave Bear” author Jean : AUEL
As Jean Auel prepared her first book in the “Earth’s Children” series, she did a lot of research about the Ice Age, the setting for her stories. She went as far as taking a survival course in cold conditions, learning to build an ice cave and how to make fire, tan leather and knap stone.
26. Place setting disc : PLATE
That would be a dinner plate.
27. Elvis __ Presley : ARON
Elvis Aron Presley (aka “the King”) was the younger of two identical twins. His brother was stillborn, delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, although born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.
32. Bill with cocktails : TAB
When we “run a tab” at a bar say, we are “running a tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.
36. Baldwin of “30 Rock” : ALEC
Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.
38. __ of commerce : CHAMBER
A chamber of commerce is a local organization of businesses that work together to further the interests of those businesses or of businesses in general. The first chamber of commerce was established in Marseille in the south of France, way back in 1599.
43. Bridal bio word : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
45. “Star Trek: T.N.G.” counselor : TROI
Deanna Troi is a character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” who is played by the lovely Marina Sirtis. Sirtis is a naturalized American citizen and has what I would call a soft American accent on the show. However, she was born in the East End of London and has a natural accent off-stage that is more like that of a true Cockney.
48. Teller’s comedy partner : PENN
The illusionist Teller, of Penn & Teller, was born Raymond Teller in Philadelphia, although has legally changed his name so simply “Teller”. Teller decided not to speak during his performances way back in his youth. He was doing magic at college fraternity parties and discovered that by remaining silent the potentially rowdy audience focused on his act and refrained from throwing beer at him!
50. Tarp, e.g. : COVER
Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.
56. Soapmaking supply : LYE
Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.
57. “Beats me,” in texts : IDK
I don’t know (IDK)