Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase, but with a letter T inserted at the start of the last word:
- 20A. Place to mingle on the slopes? : SINGLES T-BAR (T in “singles bar”)
- 34A. Misplace a casual top? : LOSE YOUR T-SHIRT (T in “lose your shirt”)
- 39A. Take Rover to Ruth’s Chris? : GIVE A DOG A T-BONE (T in “give a dog a bone”)
- 53A. Dinosaur family drama? : OEDIPUS T. REX (T in “Oedipus Rex”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Six-footers at parties : SUBS
Submarine sandwich (sub)
9. Parakeet quarters : CAGES
Parakeets are a group of bird species that are small parrots. The most common type of parakeet that we see in pet stores is the budgerigar.
We use the term “quarters” for a place of abode, especially housing for military personnel. Back in the late 16th century, quarters were a portion (quarter) of a town reserved for a military force.
15. St. Paul’s architect : WREN
The famous and very beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. St. Paul’s was completed in 1708 and was constructed as part of a rebuilding program necessary after the devastation of the Great Fire of London of 1666. St. Paul’s is the second largest church building in the country, after Liverpool Cathedral.
16. Important fruit in the Mediterranean diet : OLIVE
The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional regime that is based on the traditional diets consumed in Greece, and the southern parts of Italy, France and Spain. Central to the Mediterranean diet are relatively high proportions of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables. Oh, and the odd glass of red wine.
17. Novelist Morrison : TONI
The writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for coining the phrase, “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.
18. Zaragoza’s river : EBRO
The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the “Iber” river that gives the “Iberian” Peninsula its name.
Zaragoza is the capital city of the autonomous community of Aragon in Spain. The city’s name evolved from the name used by the ancient Romans: Caesaraugusta.
20. Place to mingle on the slopes? : SINGLES T-BAR (T in “singles bar”)
A T-bar is a type of ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.
23. Legal deg. : LLB
Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is a an undergraduate degree in law. The abbreviation “LLB” stands for Legum (“LL”, for the plural “laws”) Baccalaureus (B, for Bachelor).
25. Gobble (up) : SNARF
To snarf down is to gobble up, to eat voraciously. “Snarf” is a slang term that is probably related to “scarf”, which has the same meaning.
27. Octet since 2006 : PLANETS
There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets” which doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood”. The most oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.
31. Shakespearean call to arms : ALARUM
“Alarum” is an archaic spelling of our contemporary “alarm”, and a spelling oft used by William Shakespeare in his plays.
36. “I saw the opening __ of hell”: “Moby-Dick” : MAW
“Maw” is a term used to describe the mouth or stomach of a carnivorous animal. “Maw” is also used as slang for the mouth or stomach of a greedy person.
The full title of Herman Melville’s novel is “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”. Note that the convention is to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” in the title, as that was how the book was first published, in 1851. However, there is no hyphen in the name of the whale “Moby Dick” as reproduced throughout the text.
37. “Straight Outta Compton” role, familiarly : DRE
NWA was a hip hop group from Compton, California. The original five group members included rappers who have made a name for themselves as solo acts, including: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The story of NWA is told in a 2015 film, also called “Straight Outta Compton”. I hear that the movie was well received, although hip hop is not my cup of tea …
39. Take Rover to Ruth’s Chris? : GIVE A DOG A T-BONE (T in “give a dog a bone”)
“This Old Man” is an English nursery rhyme that dates back at least as far as the 1870s.
This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on his drum;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a huge chain of fine-dining restaurants, with well over 100 establishments. The company was started by a single mother of two called Ruth Fertel. In 1965 Fertel bought the Chris Steak House in New Orleans, and under the agreement governing the purchase, she had to retain the name “Chris”. So Fertel added her own name in front of the existing name, and Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses were born.
48. Doone of fiction : LORNA
The novel “Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.
50. NBA tiebreakers : OTS
In overtime (in OT)
51. Balderdash : ROT
“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids, like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!
53. Dinosaur family drama? : OEDIPUS T. REX (T in “Oedipus Rex”)
The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.
59. Major mess : SNAFU
SNAFU is an acronym standing for Situation Normal: All Fouled Up (well, that’s the “polite” version!). As one might perhaps imagine, the term developed in the US Army, during WWII.
61. Universal donor’s type, briefly : O-NEG
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.
63. One with a strict diet : VEGAN
A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.
68. Singer 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.
2. Mine, in Marseille : A MOI
Marseille (often written “Marseilles” in English) is the second largest city in France, after Paris. Marseille is also the largest commercial port in the country. I used to live nearby, and can attest that Marseille and environs is a great place to visit …
3. The Quakers of the Ivy League : PENN
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) was founded in 1740 by by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, or sometimes the Red & Blue.
4. Conundrums : ENIGMAS
Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.
“Conundrum” is a relatively new word, even though it sounds like Latin. It was coined in the late 16th century in Oxford University, England as a slang, pseudo-Latin word meaning “pedant”. Somehow, this meaning evolved into “riddle, puzzle” in the late 18th century.
5. “American Gods” leprechaun Mad __ : SWEENEY
“American Gods” is a 2001 fantasy novel by English author Neil Gaiman. The book has been adapted into a TV series, with the first season airing on Starz in 2017. It’s all about gods and mythological creatures in contemporary America. Not my cup of tea, although there is a leprechaun named Mad Sweeney in the mix …
7. Muppet with a unibrow : BERT
The muppet character named Bert usually plays the straight man to his partner character Ernie. Bert has a unibrow, while Ernie has no brows at all.
8. Elitists : SNOBS
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.
9. Western pens : CORRALS
“Corral” is the Spanish word for an enclosure for livestock, and is a word we’ve imported into English. Ultimately, the term comes from the Vulgar Latin “currale” meaning “enclosure for carts”, itself coming from “currus”, the Latin for “cart”.
12. Robbie’s daredevil father : EVEL
Daredevil Evel Knievel contracted hepatitis C from the many blood transfusions that he needed after injuries incurred during stunts. He had to have a liver transplant as a result, but his health declined after that. Knievel eventually passed away in 2007.
Robbie Knievel is a stunt performer, and a son of the famed Robert “Evel” Knievel. Robbie first performed with his dad when he was only 8 years old.
13. Many a Montenegro resident : SERB
Montenegro is a country in Southeastern Europe that once was part of Yugoslavia. “Montenegro” is a historical Italianate translation of “black mountain”.
21. One-fifth of a limerick : LINE
No one knows for sure how the limerick got its name, although there does seem to be agreement the name does indeed come from the city or county of Limerick in Ireland. Try this one for size:
There was a young lady named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way,
and came back the previous night.
22. Art school subj. : ANAT
36. British racing cars : MGS
My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget roadster in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by the MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979, with the MG abbreviation standing for “Morris Garages”.
40. Old name of Tokyo : EDO
Edo is the former name of the Japanese city of Tokyo. Edo was the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate, a feudal regime that ruled from 1603 until 1868. The shogun lived in the magnificent Edo Castle. Some parts of the original castle remain and today’s Tokyo Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor of Japan, was built on its grounds.
42. Unit of force : DYNE
A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning “power, force”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy needed to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.
44. Cricket clubs : BATS
Cricket is the national game of England. The term “cricket” apparently comes from the Old French word “criquet” meaning “goalpost, stick”.
49. Southwestern brick : ADOBE
The building material known as adobe has been around a long time, and has been used in dry climates all over the world. The original form of the word “adobe” dates back to Middle Egyptian times, about 2000 BC. The original spelling is “dj-b-t”, and translates as mud (sun-dried) brick.
51. Invitation letters : RSVP
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer please”.
52. Scott Turow memoir : ONE L
Scott Turow is an author and lawyer from Chicago. Turow has had several bestselling novels including “Presumed Innocent”, “The Burden of Proof” and “Reversible Errors”, all three of which were made into films. He also wrote the autobiographical book “One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School”.
54. Getting pictures of the Hollywood sign, say : IN LA
The iconic HOLLYWOOD sign located in the hills overlooking the Los Angeles district of Hollywood was erected in 1923. The sign originally read “HOLLYWOODLAND” and was placed as an advertisement for a new housing development with that name. The plan was for the sign to stay in place for 18 months, but as it became associated with the growing film industry, it was left in place. The sign was refurbished in 1949 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, with the stipulation that the “LAND” be dropped. A new version of the sign using more permanent materials was unveiled in 1978.
58. “Hercules” character who got her own show : XENA
The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.
60. Drone regulator: Abbr. : FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was set up in 1958 (as the Federal Aviation Agency). The agency was established at that particular time largely in response to an increasing number of midair collisions. The worst of these disasters had taken place two years earlier over the Grand Canyon, a crash between two commercial passenger airplanes that resulted in 128 fatalities.