Edited by: Rich Norris
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We are ILL doing to day’s puzzle, UNDER THE WEATHER. The circled letters in the grid spell out the word ILL right UNDERNEATH a WEATHER phenomenon:
- 64A. Not up to par … or, aptly, what this puzzle’s circled letters are : UNDER THE WEATHER
- 17A. Overindulge (someone) at birthday time : SHOWER WITH GIFTS
- 20A. Warble : TRILL
- 34A. Last-ditch gridiron pass : HAIL MARY
- 39A. Nabisco snack brand : NILLA
- 45A. “I’m Moving On” country singer : HANK SNOW
- 50A. Road incline : HILL
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Crawling carpenters : ANTS
Carpenter ants can wreak havoc in a wooden structure. They burrow into damp wood creating galleries and pathways that form a complex network of nests. Unlike termites though, carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood.
14. Sport for the supersized : SUMO
Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.
15. “Unfaithful” co-star Richard : GERE
Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.
“Unfaithful” is a 2002 drama film with leads played by Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The Hollywood movie is a remake of a French film called “La Femme infidèle” (The Unfaithful Wife).
24. Tarzan player Ron : ELY
Ron Ely is most famous for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series in the sixties. Years later, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 “Miss America” pageants right after longtime host Bert Parks retired, before the job was taken over by Gary Collins. And Ely is a successful mystery novelist. He wrote “Night Shadows” and “East Beach” in the mid-nineties, both of which featured his private eye Jake Sands.
34. Last-ditch gridiron pass : HAIL MARY
A Hail Mary pass (also called “the long bomb”) is a desperation move in American football in which a long pass is thrown with very little chance of a success, right at the the end of a game or at the end of a half. The term dates back to thirties, and was probably first used at Notre Dame. The “Hail Mary” is a prayer in the Christian tradition that is of particular significance Roman Catholicism.
36. Periodic pay : SALARY
It has been suggested that out term “salary” comes from the Latin “sal” meaning “salt”. The idea is that a Roman soldier’s “salarium” might have been an allowance to purchase salt.
39. Nabisco snack brand : NILLA
As one might expect, “Nilla” is a shortened form of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla brand cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, which is synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?
42. Avant-garde jazzman who named himself after an Egyptian god : SUN RA
“Sun Ra” was the stage name of jazz composer and performer Herman Blount. Sun Ra was a bit “out there”, and claimed that he wasn’t from Earth, but rather was of the Angel Race from the planet Saturn.
People described as avant-garde are especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.
43. Country Style Steak Fries maker : ORE-IDA
Ore-Ida frozen foods are all made using potatoes. The company is located in Oregon, just across the border from Idaho. “Ore-Ida” is a melding of the two state names.
45. “I’m Moving On” country singer : HANK SNOW
Hank Snow was a country music star from Nova Scotia. Snow regularly performed at the Grand Ole Opry, and in 1954 insisted on using a young Elvis Presley as his opening act. It was Snow who introduced Presley to Colonel Tom Parker, who famously managed Elvis for his whole singing career.
47. Pindar work : ODE
Pindar was an ancient Greek poet who is best known perhaps for composing a series of Victory Odes that celebrated triumph in competition, most notably the Olympian Games of the day.
48. Charlotte __: creamy dessert : RUSSE
Charlotte Russe is a cold dessert consisting of Bavarian cream set in a mold layered with ladyfingers. The dessert was named by its creator in honor of Princess Charlotte, daughter of British King George IV, and in honor of Czar Alexander I of Russia (“russe” is French for “Russian”).
52. Crumpets companion : TEA
I do love a nice crumpet. Crumpets are made from flour and yeast, with baking soda added to make the characteristic holes in the surface. Served hot, with butter melted into the holes, nothing better …
54. Head honcho : TOP BANANA
The expression “top banana” is used to mean “the main guy” or “Mr. Big”. The first person to use “top banana” was supposedly Vaudeville performer Harry Steppe in 1927, who applied it to the top comic on the bill. The phrase comes from a comedy routine in which three comics struggle to share two bananas.
“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a “hancho” is a squad (han) leader (cho).
59. Starbucks flavor : MOCHA
Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave it’s name to the mocha brown color, and to the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.
67. Steal, for slate: Abbr. : ANAG
The word “steal” is a anagram (anag.) of the word “slate”.
70. “So Sick” R&B singer : NE-YO
“Ne-Yo” is the stage name of R&B singer Shaffer Chimere Smith.
1. Sibilant “Yo!” : PSST!
“Sibilant” is a lovely word describing a sound of speech, the sound of an “s” or “z”, a hissing sound. The word “sissies”, for example, has three sibilant sounds.
2. River to the Rhine : RUHR
The Ruhr is a river in Germany that flows into the lower Rhine. The river gives its name to the Ruhr River Valley and the Ruhr district, the largest urban agglomeration in the country.
3. Mine, in Metz : A MOI
“À moi” (literally “to me”) is French for “mine”.
The city of Metz is in the northeast of France, close to the German border. Given the proximity to Germany, Metz has both a strong German tradition and a strong French tradition. Metz was handed over to the French following WWI, after nearly 50 years of German rule. It quickly fell back into German hands in 1940 during WWII, with many German officers delighted to have back the city of their birth. Perhaps because of this long association with Germany, the US Army under General Patton encountered stiff resistance when liberating Metz in 1944. The cathedral in Metz is home to the largest expanse of stained glass in the world, almost 70,000 square feet in all.
5. Dept. concerned with rural development : AGR
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually dates back to 1862 when it was established by then-president Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln referred to the USDA as the “people’s department” as our economy had such a vast agrarian base back then.
6. Reuters, for one : NEWS WIRE
The Reuters news agency was formed way back in 1851 by German-born, British entrepreneur Paul Julius Reuter. Reuter had checked the feasibility of a news service for a couple of years prior to launching the agency, and the technologies he used for his study were the telegraph and carrier pigeons!
7. Folk’s Kingston __ : TRIO
The Kingston Trio is a folk and pop music group from San Francisco that formed in 1967. The original lineup disbanded in 1967, although there there is a derivative lineup still performing today. The Kingston Trio’s biggest is 1958’s “Tom Dooley”, which was also their first hit.
8. Couch kin : SETTEE
“Settee” is another word for a couch. The term come from the Old English “setl”, which was a long bench with a high back and arms.
9. Mobster Siegel : BUGSY
The mobster Bugsy Siegel became an infamous underworld figure in New York City during and after Prohibition. In 1936, three years after Prohibition was repealed, Siegel moved to California. There he grew his racketeering business, while moving in the most respected Hollywood social circles. In the mid-1940s, Siegel was a driving force in the development of the Las Vegas Strip. He was murdered in 1947 in the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend Virginia Hill. That crime remains unsolved to this day. There is a memorial to Bugsy Siegel outside the wedding chapel of the Flamingo Las Vegas, a hotel that he opened and owned for several years.
12. Bluesy James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.
18. Trains over the street : ELS
Elevated railroad (El)
26. Egyptian capital : CAIRO
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.
28. Kate’s TV sidekick : ALLIE
The sitcom “Kate & Allie” ran from 1984 to 1989, starring Susan Saint James as Kate, and Jane Curtin as Allie. Jane Curtin won two Emmy awards for her work on the series, while Susan Saint James … did not.
30. Nessie and Bigfoot, by most accounts : MYTHS
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.
The sasquatch or bigfoot is our North American equivalent of the yeti, the ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayas. Bigfoot is supposedly hiding out mainly in the Pacific Northwest of North America.
32. New Age composer : YANNI
Yanni is a remarkable Greek musician, very successful in the world of New Age music. What I find so remarkable is that he is a self-taught musician. Yanni was born Yiannis Chryssomallis in Kalamata, Greece and moved to the US in 1972 to attend the University of Minnesota.
33. Flynn of film : ERROL
Actor Errol Flynn was born 1909 in Tasmania, Australia where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn’s non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.
38. Two-masted boat : YAWL
A yawl is a two-masted sailing vessel. There is a main mast forward, and a smaller mizzen mast close to the stern. A yawl is similar to a ketch, in that both rigs have two masts. The mizzen mast is forward of the rudderpost in a ketch, and after of the rudderpost in a yawl.
41. Robinson Crusoe, notably : CASTAWAY
When Daniel Defoe wrote his marvelous 1719 novel called “Robinson Crusoe”, he was likely thinking of real-life Scottish castaway, Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk was marooned and lived alone on the Pacific Island called “Mas a Tierra” off the coast of Chile, for four years. The island was officially renamed in 1966, and is now called Robinson Crusoe Island.
46. Society page word : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
49. Pioneer Day celebrant : UTAHAN
Pioneer Day is a state holiday celebrated on July 24th in Utah. The holiday commemorates the arrival into the Salt Lake Valley of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers on 24 July 1847. Some members of the LDS Church celebrate by walking portions of the Mormon Trail.
51. King or Bird : LARRY
The television and radio host Larry King is from Brooklyn, New York and got his first job in radio in Miami Beach. Back then, he was using his real name, which is Larry Zeiger. It was suggested that he change his family name for use on air, just before he started to broadcast. Larry quickly opted for “King”, prompted by an ad for King’s Wholesale Liquor that he noticed in the “The Miami Herald”.
Larry Bird played basketball for the Boston Celtics from 1978 to 1992. Bird has a lot of very loyal fans, and some might even be described as fanatical. In 2005 an Oklahoma City man was convicted of a crime involving a shooting. On being sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, the guilty man requested that the sentence be changed to 33 years so that it matched the number on Larry Bird’s jersey. The judge obliged …
53. Physicians’ org. : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)
55. Draft designation : ONE-A
The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).
56. Some email attachments : PDFS
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.
58. Aloha State bird : NENE
The bird called a nene is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.
The official nickname for Hawaii is “The Aloha State”. Hawaii is also referred to as “Paradise of the Pacific” and “The Islands of Aloha”.
60. Germany’s von Bismarck : OTTO
Germany first became a country of her own in 1871 when the Princes of the various independent German states met at Versailles outside Paris to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as the Emperor of the German Empire. The man behind this historic development was Wilhelm’s Ministerpräsident, Otto von Bismarck. Von Bismarck was a powerful figure in Prussia and indeed on the world stage, earning him the nickname of the “Iron Chancellor”.
61. African lake in four countries : CHAD
Lake Chad is a very large and shallow lake in Africa, one that changes size dramatically in a very short space of time. Lake Chad shrank by a massive 95% from 1963 to 1998, but has been recovering ever since. Parts of the lake lie within the four countries Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.
65. Freudian focus : EGO
Sigmund Freud created a structural model of the human psyche, breaking it into three parts: the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is that part of the psyche containing the basic instinctual drives. The ego seeks to please the id by causing realistic behavior that benefits the individual. The super-ego almost has a parental role, contradicting the id by introducing critical thinking and morals to behavioral choices.