Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers starts with a word that often has COLD in FRONT:
- 111A. It ushers in lower temperatures … and what the answers to starred clues can have : COLD FRONT
- 23A. *Filled pastry : CREAM PUFF (giving “cold cream”)
- 29A. *Protective sports gear : SHOULDER PADS (giving “cold shoulder”)
- 41A. *Prop in an iconic “Psycho” scene : SHOWER CURTAIN (giving “cold shower”)
- 66A. *Ragtime dance : TURKEY TROT (giving “cold turkey”)
- 68A. *Flower named for a legendary beast : SNAPDRAGON (giving “cold snap”)
- 89A. *Contents of an abandoned one may be sold at auction : STORAGE LOCKER (giving “cold storage”)
- 104A. *What will fix misteaks? : SPELLCHECKER (giving “cold spell”)
- 15D. *2017 Broadway musical based on the rivalry between Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein : WAR PAINT (giving “Cold War”)
- 81D. *Lawyer’s backlog : CASELOAD (giving “cold case”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Grand-scale poetry : EPOS
“Epos” is the Greek word for a story or a poem. We have absorbed the term into English with the same meaning. We also use it in English to mean “epic”, describing a long narrative poetic work featuring heroic deeds and ventures.
9. Mariner org. : NASA
NASA’s Mariner program was a series of probes launched into space to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury. There were ten Mariner probes launched in all (three were lost, though), with the planned Mariner 11 and 12 evolving into the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft.
19. An 80-footer is a long one : PUTT
Very long …
22. Old propeller site : BEANIE
The propeller beanie was introduced in drawings in the 1940s by high school student Ray Nelson as an emblem for fans of science fiction. Propeller beanies were embraced by comic strip artists, and eventually turned up on the head of Beany, one of the title characters in the animated cartoon series “Beany and Cecil” aired by ABC in the sixties. It’s this propeller beanie that led to our usage of the somewhat pejorative term “propellerhead” for someone who is technically able or perhaps computer savvy.
26. “And God Created Woman” (1956) star : BARDOT
Brigitte Bardot is a former model and actress, as well as a noted animal rights activist. Perhaps her best-known screen performance is in the 1956 French film “And God Created Woman” that was directed by her then husband, Roger Vadim.
27. Done, for Donne : O’ER
John Donne is one of England’s most celebrated poets, and was active at the start of the 17th century. He spent much of his life in poverty and even spent a short time in prison for having married his wife without procuring the appropriate permissions. After his release, his wife bore him 12 children in 16 years, passing away a few days after the twelfth child was born.
33. Wickiup, e.g. : HUT
The terms “wickiup” and “wigwam” are generally synonymous, with the former used mainly in the Southwest and West, and the latter used in the Northeast and Canada. Wickiups/wigwams are domed structures with a frame made from arched poles, and covered with a roofing material such as grass, bark, reeds, hide or cloth.
34. Name of 12 popes : PIUS
There have been twelve popes named Pius, the latest being Pope Pius XII who led the Roman Catholic Church until his death in 1958.
35. Most common draw in Scrabble : AN E
The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.
36. Hanukkah toy : DREIDEL
A dreidel is a spinning top with four sides, often associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each of the four sides on a dreidel bears a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (nun, gimel, hei and shin). The four letters are the initials of the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” meaning “a great miracle happened there”. According to tradition, children would be taught Torah while hiding in caves away from the Greeks. When Greek soldiers approached, the children would hide their torah scrolls and play with their dreidels instead.
38. Pope output : POEM
Alexander Pope was an English poet who was famous for his own compositions as well as for a translation of Homer’s works. One of Pope’s most notable poems is “Ode on Solitude” that opens with:
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.
Pope wrote that when he was just twelve years old!
39. Intolerant type : BIGOT
“Bigot” is a French word that back in the late 1500s meant “sanctimonious person, religious hypocrite”. We use the term today to describe someone who is biased towards his or her own group, and who is intolerant of those outside of that group.
41. *Prop in an iconic “Psycho” scene : SHOWER CURTAIN (giving “cold shower”)
The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho” released in 1960 is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. When “Psycho” was making its initial run in theaters, latecomers were not granted admission, abiding by a policy instigated by Hitchcock himself. He felt that anyone missing the opening scenes would not enjoy the film.
45. Janvier, across the Pyrenees : ENERO
“January” translates in French as “janvier”, and into Spanish as “enero”.
The Pyrénées is a mountain range that runs along the border between Spain and France. Nestled between the two countries, high in the mountains, is the lovely country of Andorra, an old haunt of my family during skiing season …
46. Old TV knob : HOR
Remember the “horizontal hold” (HOR) and “vertical hold” (VER) on old TV sets? Our kids have no idea what we had to go through …
47. Gather in bundles : SHEAVE
To sheave is to collect into a sheaf, into a bundle.
48. Quick-getaway auditorium seat site : LAST ROW
“Auditorium” (plural “auditoria”) is the Latin word for a lecture room, and translates literally as a “place where something is heard”. “Auditorium” is derived from “audire” the Latin for “to hear”.
53. Actor Cage, in tabloids : NIC
The actor Nicolas “Nic” Cage was born Nicolas Coppola. Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, both of whom are his father’s siblings.
54. CBS golf analyst Baker-Finch : IAN
Ian Baker-Finch is a professional golfer from Queensland, Australia who now lives in Florida. Baker-Finch is best known for winning the British Open in 1991.
66. *Ragtime dance : TURKEY TROT (giving “cold turkey”)
The turkey trot is a dance step that was popular in the early 1900s, often performed to ragtime music. It was a dance denounced by the Vatican, as some of the positions assumed were deemed suggestive and offensive.
The phrase “cold turkey” surfaced in 1910 with the meaning “without preparation”. We started to use the phrase in the early 1920s in the sense of unprepared withdrawal from an addictive substance. The underpinning notion is that cold turkey is a food requiring little preparation.
68. *Flower named for a legendary beast : SNAPDRAGON (giving “cold snap”)
Snapdragons are so called because the plant’s flower is said to resemble that of a dragon. The snapdragon genus is “antirrhinum”, which is derived from the Greek for “like a nose”.
70. __ facto : IPSO
“Ipso facto” is Latin, meaning “by the fact itself”. Ipso facto describes something that is a direct consequence of particular act, as opposed to something that is the result of some subsequent event. For example, my father was born in Dublin and was an Irish citizen ipso facto. My son was born in California and is an Irish citizen by virtue of being the son of an Irish citizen (i.e. “not” ipso facto).
71. Military camps : ETAPES
“Étape” is the French word for stage, as in a “stage” in the Tour de France. The term is used in English military circles to describe where troops halt overnight, but can also describe the section of the march itself. So, a march can be divided into stages, into étapes.
74. Hogwash : ROT
“Hogwash” means “rubbish, of little value”. Hogwash was originally the name of the swill fed to pigs.
75. Photog’s item : NEG
A negative serves as the master for a photograph.
78. Dentist’s find : ABSCESS
An abscess, often on the skin, is a collection of pus that has built up, and is usually the result of a bacterial infection. The term comes from “abscessus”, the Latin name for the condition. “Abscessus” translates literally as “departure”, reflecting the belief that damaging humors in the body “depart” through the pus in the swollen tissue.
83. Fusion, for one : ECOCAR
Ford introduced the Fusion midsize car in 2006. A hybrid version of the Fusion came out in 2010, and a plug-in hybrid in 2012.
87. Rap music article : THA
I guess “tha” is slang for “the” in the world of rap …
88. Westernmost African capital : DAKAR
The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar. Dakar is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, thus making it the westernmost capital on the African mainland.
93. Ukrainian port, to locals : ODESA
The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.
94. Bowser’s brand : IAMS
Iams dog food was introduced by the animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.
98. Hammett hound : ASTA
Asta is the wonderful little dog in the superb “The Thin Man” series of films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called “Skippy”. Skippy was also the dog in “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of “The Thin Man” films.
100. DNA component : ADENINE
Nucleobases are molecules that form the backbone of DNA and RNA chains. It is the sequence of these bases in the DNA chain that makes up the so-called “genetic code”. In DNA, the four bases are adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cytosine (C). The same bases are found in RNA, except that thymine is replaced by uracil (U). In DNA, the nucleobases exist in “base pairs”.
107. Cry to Silver : HI-YO!
“The Lone Ranger” was both a radio and television show, dating back to its first radio performance in 1933 on a Detroit station. The line “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!” was a device used in the storyline to signal that a riding sequence was starting, so cue the music!
Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was called Silver and Tonto’s mount was named Scout. In the earlier shows, Tonto rode a horse called White Feller.
115. Bailiwick : AREA
“Bailiwick” is a word dating back to the mid-1600s. The term originally meant “district of a bailiff”.
116. Ray, for one : ALER
American League (AL)
The Tampa Bay Rays are a relatively young franchise, having been formed in 1998. The initial name of the franchise was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While known as the Devil Rays, the team finished last in the league in almost every year. The name was changed to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and I am told the Rays started into a streak of winning seasons soon after.
117. Hopper and Gabler : HEDDAS
Hedda Hopper was a gossip columnist who was famous for her long-running feud with her rival gossip columnist Louella Parsons.
“Hedda Gabler” is a play by the great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen that was first published in 1890. Considered one of the greatest theater roles, the title character of Hedda Gabler is sometimes referred to as the female Hamlet.
119. Not : NARY
The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul”.
120. Italian noble family : ESTE
Este is a town in the Province of Padua in the north of Italy. The town gave its name to the House of Este, a European princely dynasty. Members of the House of Este were important patrons of the arts, especially during the Italian Renaissance. The House of Hanover, that ruled Britain from 1714 to 1901 when Queen Victoria died, was perhaps the most notable branch of the House of Este.
1. Spaceship Earth site : EPCOT
EPCOT Center (now just called “Epcot”) is the theme park beside Walt Disney World in Florida. EPCOT is an acronym standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and is a representation of the future as envisioned by Walt Disney. Walt Disney actually wanted to build a living community for 20,000 residents at EPCOT, but he passed away without that vision being realized.
Spaceship Earth is perhaps the structure that comes to mind when we think of Epcot in the Walt Disney World Resort. It is the large, white, 18-story geodesic sphere.
3. Ferrell’s “SNL” cheerleading partner : OTERI
Cheri Oteri was the SNL (“Saturday Night Live”) cast member who regularly appeared with Will Ferrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.
4. Penn, e.g.: Abbr. : STA
Penn Station in New York City may have been the first Pennsylvania Station, but it’s not the only one. The Pennsylvania Railroad gave that name to many of its big passenger terminals, including one in Philadelphia (now called 30th Street Station), one in Baltimore, one in Pittsburgh, one in Cleveland, as well as others.
7. Dope : INFO
Our use of the word “dope” to mean “inside information” probably comes from horse racing. The idea is that a better might have information about which horse has been drugged (doped) to influence its performance.
9. Morgen’s opposite : NACHT
“Guten Tag” is German for “hello, good day”. “Guten Morgen” means “good morning”, “guten Abend” means “good evening”, and “guten nacht” means “goodnight”.
10. Currency exchange fee : AGIO
The term “agio” derives from the Italian “aggio” meaning “exchange rate, discount, premium”. Most often, the agio is defined as the difference between the actual exchange rate and the nominal exchange rate for two currencies. That difference is mainly made up of the service fee for making the exchange.
12. Ross Sea penguin : ADELIE
The Adélie penguin is found along the Antarctic coast, and are named after the Antarctic territory called Adélie Land that is claimed by France. Adélie Land was discovered by French explorer Jules Dumont D’Urville in 1840, and he named the territory after his wife Adèle.
15. *2017 Broadway musical based on the rivalry between Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein : WAR PAINT (giving “Cold War”)
“War Paint” is a stage musical that premiered in 2016 in Chicago. The show is about the rivalry between cosmetics entrepreneurs Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, and is based on the 2004 book of the same name by Lindy Woodhead.
17. Former Spanish Sahara territory that is neither a river nor has any gold : RIO DE ORO
“Rio de Oro” is Spanish for “Gold River”, and was the name of one of the two territories owned by Spain that made up the province of Spanish Sahara. When Spain surrendered control of the area in 1975, ownership of the land was disputed, sparking a violent conflict between Mauritania and Morocco. Although there has been a ceasefire in place since 1991, there is still conflict in the region.
24. Sierra __ : MADRE
“Sierra Madre” is Spanish for “Mother Mountain Range”, and is a name given to several mountain ranges around the world.
29. Ottoman bigwig : SULTAN
A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.
30. Doo-wop syllable : DUM
Doo-wop developed in the 1940s and can be described as a vocal-based R&B music. Even though the style has been around since the forties, the name doo-wop wasn’t introduced until the early sixties.
32. Uncle of Prince Wm. : EDW
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex is British Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest child. When Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, Buckingham Palace announced the intention that the prince will one day inherit his father’s title as Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is the elder of the two sons of Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales. As such, William is second in line to the British throne, after his father.
41. Hip sound? : SHORT I
The letter I in the middle of the word “hip” is a short letter I.
44. “We Try Harder” company : AVIS
Rental car company Avis used the tagline “We Try Harder” for five decades, starting in the early 1960s. The slogan had its roots in a 1962 ad campaign in which the company made brilliant use of its position behind market leader Hertz. The first rendition of the new tagline was “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else”. Within a year, Avis turned its first profit in over a decade, and within three years, increased the company’s market share from 29% to 36%.
51. Nevada city on I-80 : ELKO
The city of Elko, Nevada came into being in 1868 as a settlement built around the eastern end of a railway line that was constructed from California and that was destined for Utah. When that section of the line was completed, the construction crews moved on towards the Nevada/Utah border, and the settlement was left behind to eventually form the city of Elko
54. Golfer Aoki : ISAO
Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers. Aoki’s best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.
57. Four Holy Roman emperors : OTTOS
Charlemagne was the first king to use the title “Holy Roman Emperor”, even though the Holy Roman Empire was not actually founded until over a century later when Otto I was crowned Emperor. Otto was the first of an unbroken line of Holy Roman Emperors who ruled Central Europe until 1806.
62. Casa room : SALA
In Spanish, a “sala” (room) is a “división” (division) of a “casa” (house).
63. Tommy Lee Jones’ “Men in Black” role : AGENT K
“Men in black” (MIB) are said to have appeared in the past whenever there have been reports of UFO sightings. Supposedly, these men are government agents whose job it is to suppress reports of alien landings. The conspiracy theorists got their day in the movies with the release of a pretty good sci-fi comedy in 1997 called “Men in Black”, starring Will Smith (as Agent J) and Tommy Lee Jones (as Agent K).
64. “Faust” author : GOETHE
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer (among many other things!). Goethe’s most famous work is probably his play “Faust”. This epic work was published in parts, starting in 1808. The work was only published in toto after his death in 1832.
69. NFL ball carriers : RBS
In football, running backs (RBs) and wide receivers (WRs) often score touchdowns (TDs).
72. Spanish wine descriptor : SECO
“Seco” is Spanish for “dry”.
80. Like kebabs : SKEWERED
The term “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.
82. Stat for Aroldis Chapman : ERA
Aroldis Chapman is a baseball pitcher who defected from Cuba in 2009 while playing for his national team in a tournament in the Netherlands. After establishing residency in Andorra, he moved the US to play with the Cincinnati Reds, and became an American citizen in 2016. Chapman holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest pitch, at 105.1 mph.
85. Govt. prosecutors : AGS
Attorneys General (AGs) head up the Department of Justice (DOJ). When the office of the Attorney General was created in 1789 it was a part-time job, with no departmental support. The Department of Justice came into being in 1870.
90. Singer Billie Holiday’s nickname : LADY DAY
Billie Holiday was a jazz singer from Philadelphia who was born Eleanora Fagan. Holiday had a tough life, which she described in her 1956 autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues”. She recorded an album, also called “Lady sings the Blues”, that was released at the same time as the autobiography. The book was the bases of the 1972 film of the same name starring Diana Ross in the title role. The “Lady” in the title is a nod to Holiday’s nickname “Lady Day”.
92. Moving supply: Abbr. : CTN
99. Playwright Wasserstein : WENDY
Wendy Wasserstein was a playwright who won a Tony and Pulitzer for her 1988 play “The Heidi Chronicles”.
102. Good-sized chamber group : NONET
A nonet is a piece of music requiring nine musicians for a performance. The term is also used for the group itself.
103. Between, in Brest : ENTRE
Brest is a port city in northwest France, and is the second largest military port in the country. Brest was an important base for German U-boats during WWII when France was occupied by the Nazis. Brest is the most westerly city in the whole country.
105. Spewed magma : LAVA
Magma is the molten material below the Earth’s surface. When magma cools, it forms igneous rock. “Magma” is a Greek term used for a thick ointment.
106. Double-decker game piece : KING
In the game of checkers, when a “man” reaches the other side of the board, it is promoted to “king”. The king is a marked by placing a second piece on top of the first.
107. Bar mitzvah dance : HORA
The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.
A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.
112. Actress Charlotte : RAE
Charlotte Rae is an American actress best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties: “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life”. Towards the end of the series, the Edna Garrett character operated her own gourmet food shop called “Edna’s Edibles”.