Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
The ends of today’s themed answers give us a LIST of “A” items:
- 38A. Hollywood’s crème de la crème … and where to find the ends of the answers to starred clues? : A-LIST
- 17A. *Quick checkout choice : EXPRESS LINE (giving “A-line”)
- 57A. *Wedding gown attachment : BRIDAL TRAIN (giving “‘A’ train”)
- 11D. *Social networking site with a math sign in its logo : GOOGLE-PLUS (giving “A-plus”)
- 29D. *”Want to try it?” : ARE YOU GAME? (giving “A-game”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Pose in yoga studios : ASANA
“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.
14. Bus stop : DEPOT
Our term “depot”, meaning a station or warehouse, derives from the word “dépôt”, French for “deposit” or “place of deposit”.
16. Bear, in Barcelona : OSO
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.
17. *Quick checkout choice : EXPRESS LINE (giving “A-line”)
An A-line skirt is one that fits snugly at the hips and flares toward the hem.
20. Wall St. index : NYSE
The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
22. Longtime first name in morning talk shows : REGIS
Regis Philbin is an incredibly popular television personality. Philbin is in such high demand and has had such a long career, that he holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera (in excess of 16,000 hours).
27. Flowering shrubs associated with Augusta National Golf Club : AZALEAS
Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms. Azaleas are usually grown as shrubs, but are also seen as small trees, and often indoors.
The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia was founded in 1933 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Famously, Augusta hosts the Masters Tournament each year. Augusta is very much a private club, and some of its policies have drawn criticism over the years. Prior to 1959, the club had a bylaw requiring that all caddies be African American. There were no African-American club members admitted until 1990, and no women until 2012.
30. Pocahontas’ husband John : ROLFE
John Rolfe was one of the early English settlers in America, perhaps most famous for marrying the Native American Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. For a few months before her death, Pocahontas lived with Rolfe in England. The couple had actually boarded a ship to return them to Virginia when Pocahontas became ill and had to be brought ashore on the south coast of England, where she soon passed away.
34. Asian noodle soup : PHO
“Pho” is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.
38. Hollywood’s crème de la crème … and where to find the ends of the answers to starred clues? : A-LIST
The “crème de la crème” is the elite, the best of the best. The term is French and translates as “cream of the cream”.
40. Part of LGBTQ : GAY
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ)
41. Desert plant used to make tequila : AGAVE
The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus, and isn’t related to the aloe plant either. The blue agave is used in the production of tequila.
42. Resort island near Venezuela : ARUBA
Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The country name “Venezuela” originated with the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci saw stilt houses around Lake Maracaibo that reminded him of the city of Venice, leading him to call the region “Veneziola” meaning “Little Venice”. Over time, “Veneziola” evolved into “Venezuela” as a result of Spanish influence.
45. Forest-scented cleaning product : PINE-SOL
Pine-Sol first came on the market in 1929, and is a cleaner based on pine oil.
51. Surrealist Joan : MIRO
Joan Miró was a Spanish artist. Miro immersed himself in Surrealism, so much so that Andre Breton, the founder of the movement, said that Miro was “the most Surrealist of us all”.
52. Govt. workplace watchdog : OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.
57. *Wedding gown attachment : BRIDAL TRAIN (giving “‘A’ train”)
The A Train in the New York City Subway system runs from 207th Street, through Manhattan and over to Far Rockaway in Queens. The service lends its name to a jazz standard “Take the ‘A’ Train”, the signature tune of Duke Ellington and a song much sung by Ella Fitzgerald. One version of the lyrics are:
You must take the A Train
To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem
If you miss the A Train
You’ll find you’ve missed the quickest way to Harlem
Hurry, get on, now, it’s coming
Listen to those rails a-thrumming (All Aboard!)
Get on the A Train
Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.
60. Beaver’s creation : DAM
Beavers build dams so that they can live in and around the slower and deeper water that builds up above the dam. This deeper water provides more protection for the beavers from predators such as bears. Beavers are nocturnal animals and do all their construction work at night.
62. High-end chocolatier : LINDT
The delicious Swiss chocolate sold under the Lindt brand name has its origins in a small confectionery store in Zurich in the 1840s. Lindt purchased our local chocolate company here in San Francisco (Ghirardelli) back in 1998.
65. Soap units : CAKES
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.
1. Yemen port : ADEN
Aden is a seaport in Yemen that is located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.
6. Macaroni side dish : PASTA SALAD
In many cases, the name given to a type of pasta comes from its shape. However, the name macaroni comes from the type of dough used to make the noodle. Here in the US, macaroni is usually elbow-shaped tubes, but it doesn’t have to be.
7. Brass or bronze : ALLOY
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.
9. Heavy weight : 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 …
11. *Social networking site with a math sign in its logo : GOOGLE-PLUS (giving “A-plus”)
Google+ is social media platform launched in 2011. It’s not Google’s first foray in the world of social networking, and follows Orkut, Google Friend Connect, and Google Buzz.
12. Federal humanitarian org. : USAID
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) was set up by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The agency’s mission is to end extreme poverty and promote democratic societies, while helping to advance the security and prosperity of the US.
13. Upper body : TORSO
“Torso” (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the “trunk of a statue”, and is a term that we imported into English.
18. “The Talk” co-host Gilbert : SARA
The actress Sara Gilbert really grew up playing Darlene on the sitcom “Roseanne” from 1988 to 1997. Today Gilbert appears fairly often on another hit sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory”. You can also see her on the daytime talk show called “The Talk”, a show that she herself created.
28. Virus of concern at the Rio Olympics : ZIKA
The Zika virus causes the disease known as Zika fever, and is mainly spread by the yellow fever mosquito. While the majority of cases of infection result in minor symptoms or even no symptoms at all, Zika virus infections of pregnant women may be linked to newborn microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head is smaller than normal.
30. New Year’s Day floral procession : ROSE PARADE
The first Rose Parade was staged in 1890, on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. The initial parades were organized by the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club, whose members wanted to highlight the mild winter weather in the area. The initial parades did not feature flowers, but these were added to underscore the favorable climate. It was the inclusion of the flowers that gave rise to the name “Tournament of Roses”. The first Rose Bowl football game was played in 1902.
33. Actress Ullmann : LIV
Liv Ullmann is a Norwegian, best known to us in North America as an actress (I saw her recently in the classic war movie “A Bridge Too Far”). Ullmann has also directed several films, including “Sofie” released in 1992. Ullmann lived with famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman for several years in the 1960s.
35. Boxcar hopper : HOBO
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.
36. October birthstone : OPAL
97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, about 80%.
38. “The African Queen” screenwriter James : AGEE
James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.
39. South African city where Mandela was inaugurated : PRETORIA
Pretoria is the executive capital of South Africa, one of three capital cities in the country. Cape Town is the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.
As a young man, Nelson Mandela led the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). Mandela was eventually arrested and admitted to charges of sabotage and was sentenced to life in prison in 1964. He remained behind bars for 27 years, mainly in the infamous prison on Robben Island. As the years progressed, Mandela became a symbol of the fight against apartheid. He was released in 1990, and immediately declared his commitment to peace and reconciliation with South Africa’s white minority population. Mandela was elected president of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) in 1994, an office that he held until 1999. Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013.
41. Math with x’s : ALGEBRA
Algebra (alg.) is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.
42. Santa __ winds : ANA
The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.
44. Bearded grassland grazer : 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”.
47. Madrid art museum : PRADO
The Museo del Prado is in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and has one of the finest art collections in the world. The gallery’s most famous work is “Las Meninas” By Velazquez.
48. Actress Lindsay : LOHAN
I think that actress Lindsay Lohan’s big break was in the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap” in 1998. I’ve really only enjoyed one of Lohan’s films though, “Freaky Friday” from 2003 in which she stars alongside the fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis.
49. Bathroom fixture : BIDET
“Bidet” is a French word that we imported into English. In French, the word “bidet” originally described a small horse or a pony. The bidet bathroom fixture was so called because one straddles it like a horse in order to use it.
51. Actress Kunis of “Bad Moms” : MILA
Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress, who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years, but married Ashton Kutcher, her co-star from “That 70s Show”, in 2015.
“Bad Moms” is a 2016 comedy movie about three stressed-out mothers who go on a fling, shirking their maternal responsibilities for a few days. Those “bad moms” are played by Mil Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn.
55. Picnic critters : ANTS
Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable pot-luck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.
59. Attention from Dr. Mom : TLC
Tender loving care (TLC)