Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers each start with words formed from the letters I-V-E-L:
- 17A. Tendency to explode in anger : VILE TEMPER
- 25A. Demons and such : EVIL SPIRITS
- 36A. Cover for mysterious doings : VEIL OF SECRECY
- 49A. Blue jeans pioneer : LEVI STRAUSS
- 59A. Real-time media transfer : LIVE STREAM
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Bun or beehive : HAIRDO
That distinctive “beehive” hairstyle is also called a B-52, because the round, beehive-shape also resembles the bulbous nose of a B-52 bomber! The style originated in 1958, and is credited to Margaret Vinci Heldt, the owner of a hair salon in downtown Chicago. I’m not a fan of the beehive, but I do have to say that Audrey Hepburn carried it off in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, as did Dusty Springfield in her heyday.
7. Faux __: social goof : PAS
The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).
14. Free from stress by heating, as metal : ANNEAL
One anneals glass or metal by exposing to a very specific temperature profile, resulting in a tougher or less brittle product.
15. Theater chain initials : AMC
The AMC theater chain used to go by the name American Multi-Cinema Inc., hence the initialism “AMC”.
16. Golfer’s mulligan, e.g. : REDO
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive account for the origin of the term “Mulligan”, most often used for a shot do-over in golf. There are lots of stories about golfers named Mulligan though, and I suspect one of them may be true …
19. Banjo ridge : FRET
A fret is a metal strip embedded in the neck of a stringed instrument, like a guitar perhaps. The fingers press on the frets, shortening a string and hence changing the note played. The note increases by one semitone as a finger shortens a string by one fret.
The instrument that we know today as the banjo is a derivative of instruments that were used in Africa.
23. Genetic letters : RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.
28. Graduates : ALUMNI
An “alumnus” (plural … alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural … alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.
49. Blue jeans pioneer : LEVI STRAUSS
Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.
53. Roman goddess of peace : PAX
Pax was the Roman goddess of peace, and was the daughter of Jupiter (the god of the sky and thunder) and Justitia (the goddess of justice). The Greek equivalent to Pax was Eirene.
54. Wash. neighbor : IDA
Idaho has the nickname the Gem State, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state. I’d go for the potatoes over the gems, but that’s probably just me …
56. Beaujolais or Burgundy : WINE
Beaujolais is a red wine made from the Gamay grape that is produced in the Beaujolais historical province that is part of the Burgundy wine-making region.
57. Red __: spicy candies : HOTS
Red Hots are cinnamon-flavored candy pieces. I just found out that Red Hots are sometimes used in apple sauce …
62. “The Mammoth Hunters” novelist 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.
“The Mammoth Hunters” is the third title in Jean Auel’s “Earth’s Children” series of historical fiction novels.
63. Dictator Amin : IDI
Idi Amin received most of his military training in the British armed forces, eventually achieving the highest rank possible for a Black African in the British Colonial Army in 1959, that of Warrant Officer. On his return to Uganda Amin joined his country’s military and quickly rose to the rank of Deputy Commander of the Army. During that time he was quite the athlete. He was a noted rugby player and swimmer, and for nine years held the Ugandan national light-heavyweight boxing title. By the early seventies, Amin was commander of all the armed forces of Uganda and in 1971 seized power in a military coup, displacing the country’s president Milton Obote. There followed seven years of brutal rule by Amin during which it is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were murdered. Amin was ousted from power in 1979 after a war with Tanzania, and fled to Libya where he stayed for a year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he was financially supported by the Saudi Royal Family for the remainder of his life. Amin died in 2003.
66. Broadband option, briefly : DSL
The abbreviation “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.
1. “Our Man in __”: Graham Greene novel set in Cuba : HAVANA
“Our Man in Havana” is a marvelously entertaining novel by Graham Greene, first published in 1958. It’s all about a British vacuum cleaner salesman who lives in Havana, Cuba. The salesman is recruited by the British secret service, and then sends fake information to London, just to get paid. The novel was adapted into a fabulous film of the same name in 1959, starring Alec Guinness.
Graham Greene was a writer and playwright from England. Greene wrote some of my favorite novels, including “Brighton Rock”, “The End of the Affair”, “The Confidential Agent”, “The Third Man”, “The Quiet American” and “Our Man in Havana”. Greene’s books often feature espionage in exotic locales. Greene himself worked for MI6, the UK’s foreign intelligence agency. In fact, Greene’s MI6 supervisor was Kim Philby, the famed Soviet spy who penetrated high into British intelligence.
3. Instead (of) : IN 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”.
4. Film critic Rex : REED
Rex Reed is a film critic who used to co-host “At the Movies”, the show that originally featured Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.
5. “Who __?”: New Orleans Saints fans’ chant : DAT
The entire community of fans of the New Orlean Saints are sometimes referred to as the “Who Dat Nation”. The name comes from a popular chant heard at a Saints game:
Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?
7. Like a visit from the Bishop of Rome : PAPAL
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The term “pope” comes from the Latin “papa”, and ultimately from the Greek “pappas”, with both terms being a child’s word for “father”.
8. Congregational replies : AMENS
The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.
9. Paper bits for collages : SCRAPS
A collage is a piece of artwork that is made by assembling pieces of paper and objects that are glued onto paper or canvas. The term “collage” comes from the French “coller” meaning “to glue”.
18. Med. scan : MRI
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.
26. Corleone family head : VITO
Mario Puzo created the Corleone Mafia family in his 1969 novel “The Godfather”. The head of the family is Vito Corleone (whose birth name was Vito Andolini), a native of Corleone in Sicily. He was given the name Corleone by immigration officers at Ellis Island.
29. Rum cocktail : MAI TAI
The mai tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but the drink was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice and then a float added of 6 parts dark rum. “Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”.
33. White House foreign policy gp. : NSC
The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.
34. Old Prizm automaker : GEO
Geos were small vehicles manufactured by General Motors mainly in the nineties. Geos were designed to compete head-to-head with the small imports that were gaining market share at the time in the US. Some Geo models that you might remember are the Metro, the Prizm and the Storm. The cars were actually built as joint-ventures with Japanese manufacturers. The Prizm was a GM/Toyota project, the Metro was GM/Suzuki, and the Storm was GM/Isuzu.
38. Taxpayer ID users : CPAS
Certified public accountant (CPA)
40. Bloody Mary’s solo : BALI HA’I
The song “Bali Ha’i” is from the musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Bali Ha’i is the name of a volcanic island that neighbors the island on which the story takes place. The matriarch of Bali Ha’i is a character named Bloody Mary, and it is Bloody Mary who sings the song in the musical.
43. Chinese food additive : MSG
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …
47. Island verandas : LANAIS
A lanai is a type of veranda, and a design that originated in Hawaii. A kind blog reader tells me that the etymology of “lanai” seems unclear, but that the island name of “Lana’i” is not related.
51. Analgesic brand : ADVIL
Advil is Wyeth’s brand of ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.
56. Birdhouse singer : WREN
A wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.
60. Sunscreen letters : SPF
In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …