Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers starts with something that CARRIES NO WEIGHT, or very little!
- 64A. Has little significance … and to all intents and purposes, what the first word of 17-, 27- and 48-Across does : CARRIES NO WEIGHT
- 17A. Exploit a situation for personal wealth : FEATHER ONE’S NEST
- 27A. Textured overhead interior feature in some homes : POPCORN CEILING
- 48A. Large final loan remittance : BALLOON PAYMENT
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Plastering strip : LATH
The words “lath” and “lattice” have the same root in Old French. Laths are thin strips of wood that are nailed across a frame forming a backing to which plaster can be applied to finish a wall. The term is also used for the main elements in a trellis, or the lengths of wood in a roof to which shingles are nailed.
14. “Wonderfilled” cookie : OREO
Nabisco launched an ad campaign for the Oreo brand of in 2012, telling us that the cookie is “wonderfilled”, that the modest little Oreo cookie can bring about a positive change of perspective and create a sense of wonder. I think that’s the idea …
15. Arizona county or its seat : YUMA
The city and county of Yuma, Arizona take their name from the Quechan (aka “Yuma”) Native American tribe that inhabited the area.
16. Decoratively patterned fabric : TOILE
Toile fabric can be used as upholstery, or as a wallpaper, or even as a fabric for clothing.
21. Black & Decker rival : SKIL
The Skil Power Tools company sold its first “Skilsaw” back in 1924, for $160. Despite almost a century of inflation, a Skilsaw can be purchased today for a fraction of that original price.
25. Range above tenor : ALTO
In choral music, an alto (plural “alti”) is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus made up of soprano, contr(alto), tenor and bass. The word “alto” describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing-voice, whereas the term “contralto” describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male’s voice (not a boy’s) with the same range as an alto is called a “countertenor”.
A tenor is a male with a singing voice higher than a countertenor, and lower than a baritone. “Tenor” comes from the Latin “tenere” meaning “to hold”. The term is rooted in medieval polyphonic music, when it described the voice that sang (held) the sustained melody, around which all other voices were arranged.
35. Director Kazan : ELIA
Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.
36. Walk-on role : 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.
45. Yr.-end consultants : CPAS
Certified public accountant (CPA)
48. Large final loan remittance : BALLOON PAYMENT
A balloon payment is a large payment made at the end of a loan. Balloon payments usually aren’t a good idea as the later one makes payments, the more interest accrues.
52. iPod download : TUNE
iTunes is a very, very successful software application from Apple. It’s basically a media player that works on platforms like the iPad, iPhone and iPod. It connects seamlessly to the iTunes store, where you can spend all kinds of money.
53. Tofu source : SOY
Tofu is another name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has “curdled”. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it …
67. German steel town : ESSEN
Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany.
68. “I’ve got the tab” : ON ME
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.
1. Artist’s digs : LOFT
“Digs” is short for “diggings” meaning “lodgings”, but where “diggings” came from, no one seems to know.
3. Drinks with crumpets : TEAS
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 …
7. Wild way to run : AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …
8. Hit song from “Flashdance” : MANIAC
“Maniac” is a hit song written for the 1983 movie “Flashdance”. It was performed and co-written by Michael Sembello. Paramount Pictures executives asked Sembello for songs to potentially include in the film. Sembello’s wife included “Maniac” on the tape by accident.
“Flashdance” is a 1983 romantic drama film about a young welder at a steel plant who aspires to become a professional dancer. The movie’s soundtrack was also a big hit and features songs like “Maniac” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling”. The latter was performed by Irene Cara, and won the Best Original Song Oscar for that season.
9. Extra NFL periods : OTS
In overtime (in OT)
10. Ski resort transports : GONDOLAS
The word “gondola” was originally limited to the famous boats that travel along the canals of Venice. When man started to fly through the air in hot air balloons, “gondola” was used for the basket in which the passenger(s) traveled. By extension, the structure carrying passengers and crew under an airship is also called a gondola, as are the cars suspended from a cable at a ski resort.
11. “In __ of gifts … ” : LIEU
As one might perhaps imagine, “in lieu” comes into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum”, also meaning “place”. So, “in lieu” means “in place of”.
19. Couture monthly : ELLE
“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.
24. Beverage nut : KOLA
The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.
27. Former “American Idol” judge Abdul : PAULA
Paula Abdul is primarily a singer and dancer, and someone who endeared herself even more to the American public in recent years as a judge on “American Idol”. Abdul had a famous husband for a couple of years, as she was married to actor Emilio Estevez from 1992-94.
28. Roger of NBC News : O’NEIL
Roger O’Neil is a news reporter who has been working for NBC for over 30 years.
30. Anti-discrimination org. : NAACP
The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. The date chosen for the founding of the NAACP was February 12th, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the man most visibly associated with the emancipation of African-American slaves.
38. Like foods for a low-sodium diet : SALT FREE
Sodium is a mineral that plays an essential role in the body, and has a major impact on blood volume and blood pressure. There seems to be a lot of evidence that the typical American diet includes levels of sodium that above the maximum considered healthy by the medical community. Apparently, most of the sodium in the typical diet comes from processed food.
44. Not worth a __ : SOU
A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.
46. Camper’s dessert : S’MORE
S’mores are treats peculiar to North America that are usually eaten around a campfire. A s’more consists of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. The earliest written reference to the recipe is in a 1927 publication called “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts”. Girl Scouts always did corner the market on cookies and the like!
50. Willie of country : NELSON
Country singer, actor and activist Willie Nelson was born during the Great Depression in Abbott, Texas. He wrote his first song at the age of seven and joined his first band at the age of ten, and he is still going strong. Nelson has a ranch in Texas but now spends most of his time in Maui, where he lives in a largely self-sustaining community alongside neighbors such as Kris Kristofferson, Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson.
54. Golf rarities : ACES
One well-documented hole-in-one (ace) was during a round of the British Open in 1973. American golfer Gene Sarazen achieved the feat that day, at the age of 71. A less well-documented series of holes-in-one was reported by the North Korean press in a story about the Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The report was that Kim Jong-il scored 11 holes-in-one in his one and only round of golf.
58. Celebrity chef Burrell : ANNE
Anne Burrell is co-host of the show “Worst Cooks in America” that airs on the Food Network. Yet another celebrity chef …
59. Fleshy fruit : POME
The Latin word for “fruit” is “pomum”, which gives us the botanical term “pome” that is used for a group of fleshy fruits, including apples and pears.
61. Isla surrounder : AGUA
In Spanish, “agua” (water) surrounds an “isla” (island).
62. Advanced degrees: Abbr. : PHDS
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for an earned PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.
65. State Farm’s bus. : INS
State Farm started out in 1922 as an auto insurance company specializing in providing insurance for farmers, hence the name. The jingle the company uses, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there”, was written in 1971 by Barry Manilow.