Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase with a letter N inserted:
- 23A. Designated meditation area? : CHANT ROOM (from “chat room”)
- 25A. Key to a discography including “Purple Rain”? : PRINCE INDEX (from “price index”)
- 46A. Vacant look, e.g.? : TRANCE ELEMENT (from “trace element”)
- 69A. Tirade from an underground worker? : SEWER RANT (from “sewer rat”)
- 90A. Elegant knight’s accoutrement? : SATIN AND LANCE (from “satin and lace”)
- 112A. New Englander from Lhasa? : TIBETAN YANK (from “Tibetan yak”)
- 114A. Viper’s bar order? : SNAKE PINT (from “snake pit”)
- 32D. What to click in response to an offensive tweet? : RESENT BUTTON (from “reset button”)
- 42D. Insufficient medley? : SCANT SINGING (from “scat singing”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9. Chapter XXVIII of “Moby-Dick” : AHAB
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.
13. Creator of a quirky cartoon family : ADDAMS
Chas Addams was a cartoonist. Addams didn’t draw a cartoon strip but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. His most famous characters were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.
19. Island veranda : LANAI
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.
20. Old cereal box no. : RDA
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.
21. __ Alto : PALO
The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for “the tall stick”) that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall and over a thousand years old.
25. Key to a discography including “Purple Rain”? : PRINCE INDEX (from “price index”)
“Purple Rain” is a 1984 song by Prince that is the title track from an album of the same name. The album in turn was a soundtrack, of the film “Purple Rain”. The song reached #2 in the charts in 1984, but then made it to #1 soon after Prince’s death in 2016.
27. Writer known for his surprise endings : O HENRY
The O. Henry Award has been given annually since 1919 and honors exceptional short stories. “O. Henry” was the pen name of writer William Sydney Porter from Greensboro, North Carolina. O. Henry is famous for his witty short stories that have a clever twist in the tail.
28. Old lemon : EDSEL
The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel Ford, son of Henry. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.
30. Longtime TV host Carol : BURNETT
The comedienne and actress Carol Burnett is perhaps best known for “The Carol Burnett Show” which ran on television for over ten years from 1967 to 1978. My favorite of Burnett’s performances is in the 1981 film “The Four Seasons”.
34. Lhasa __: small dog : APSO
The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.
36. Dots in l’océan : ILES
In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “l’océan” (the ocean).
45. Purity meas. : KTS
A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.
46. Vacant look, e.g.? : TRANCE ELEMENT (from “trace element”)
In dietary terms, a trace element is a mineral that is needed in minute quantities to support life. There are five major mineral requirements for humans: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium.
49. Annual report VIP : CEO
Chief executive officer (CEO)
53. Oral dozen : MOLARS
Molars are grinding teeth. The term “molar” comes from the Latin “mola” meaning “millstone”.
57. “Platoon” setting : NAM
“Platoon” is a 1986 movie written and directed by Oliver Stone. The storyline comes out of Stone’s own experiences in Vietnam as an infantryman. It is gritty stuff, and is Stone’s response to the more “glamorous” movie “Green Berets” starring John Wayne. And that famous piece of classical music included the soundtrack, that is “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber.
60. Atlantic and Pacific, e.g. : TIME ZONES
Local solar time was replaced with standard time zones due to the increasing use of rail travel and telecommunications as the variations in local solar times became somewhat inconvenient. Time zones in the US vary in hourly increments, but in some parts of the world a 30-minute or even 15-minute difference can apply.
62. Lincoln in-law : TODD
Mary Todd moved in the best of the social circles in Springfield, Illinois and there met the successful lawyer Abraham Lincoln. The path to their marriage wasn’t exactly smooth. The engagement was broken once but reinstated, with the couple eventually marrying in 1842.
66. __ Reader : UTNE
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984 by Eric Utne, with management taken over by Eric’s wife Nina Rothschild Utne in 1990.
67. Southampton sword : SABRE
A saber (sometimes “sabre”) is a sword with a curved blade and a relatively large hand guard. It is thought that the term originated with the Hungarian verb “szabni” meaning “to cut”.
Southampton is a major port city on the south coast of England. Today, that port is home to some of the largest luxury cruise ships in the world. Historically, the port is known as the departure point for the RMS Titanic, and as one of the departure points for the D-Day landings of WWII.
83. Emcee responsibilities : INTROS
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.
84. Opposite of pref. : SUF
A prefix (pref.) is the opposite of a suffix (suf.).
94. Tap choice, for short : IPA
India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.
95. Lombardy Castle city : ENNA
The city of Enna sits very high up in the hills of Sicily, overlooking the whole island below. Enna is the capital of the province that bears its name, which is the highest province in the whole of Italy. Some of the important buildings in and around the city are Lombardy Castle and the Duomo (cathedral).
97. USO show audience : GIS
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.
99. Tech news website : CNET
c|net is an excellent technology website. c|net started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as host of a c|net show.
100. Browning, e.g. : POET
Robert Browning met fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett in 1845. Elizabeth was a sickly woman, confined to her parents’ house in Wimpole Street in London, largely due to the conservative and protective nature of her father. Robert and Elizabeth eventually eloped in 1846, and lived in self-inflicted exile in Italy. Away from the country of his birth, Browning was moved to write his now famous “Home Thoughts, From Abroad”, the first line of which is “Oh, to be in England …”
102. Rocky areas?: Abbr. : MTNS
North America’s Rocky Mountains stretch from the very north of British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the US. The length of the range is over 3,000 miles. The highest point is Mount Elbert in Colorado, which has an elevation of 14,440 feet.
105. Unemotional : STOIC
Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). And yes, we get our adjective “stoic” from the same root.
108. Farewell that’s bid : ADIEU
“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.
112. New Englander from Lhasa? : TIBETAN YANK (from “Tibetan yak”)
The term “Yankee” originated back in the 1600s when Dutch settlers used to call English colonists “Jankes”, a disparaging term meaning “Little Johns”.
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.
118. Storied restaurant : ALICE’S
Arlo Guthrie is most famous for his epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”, a song that lasts a full 18m 34s. In the song Guthrie tells how, after being drafted, he was rejected for service in the Vietnam War based on his criminal record. He had only one incident on his public record, a Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering and being a public nuisance when he was 18-years-old.
120. Fallen space station : MIR
The Russian Mir Space Station was a remarkably successful project, with the station still holding the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at just under ten years. Towards the end of the space station’s life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in 2001. “Mir” is a Russian word meaning “peace” or “world”.
121. Rink fakes : DEKES
A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.
123. Hires competitor : DAD’S
Dad’s root beer was developed by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns in 1937, and was given the name “Dad’s” in honor of Klapman’s father who used to make root beer for his family at home.
Hires Root Beer was introduced way back in 1876, making it the longest continuously-made soft drink in the country. The basic formulation was developed by Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires.
124. BART stop, e.g. : STA
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a commuter rail system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.
1. Comfort during a tough time, for short : TLC
Tender loving care (TLC)
2. Bleachers sound : RAH!
At a sports event one might sit in the bleachers. “Bleachers” is a particularly American term used to describe the tiered stands that provide seating for spectators. These seats were originally wooden planks, and as they were uncovered they would be “bleached” by the sun, giving them the name we use today. Sometimes the fans using the bleachers might be referred to as “bleacherites”.
3. California’s Santa __ River : ANA
The Santa Ana River rises in the San Bernardino Mountains and empties into the Pacific Ocean 96 miles downstream. It is the largest river in Southern California.
4. Camera choices : CANONS
The Japanese company called Canon is largely known in the US for producing quality cameras. The company started out as Precision Optical Industry Laboratory in 1937 making camera bodies. The name was changed in 1947 to Canon.
5. 10% donation : TITHE
Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church. The words “tithe” and “tenth” have the same roots.
8. Reminiscent of venison : GAMY
Venison is the meat of a deer. In days of yore, the term applied not just to deer, but to any large game. The word “venison” ultimately derives from the Latin “venare” meaning “to hunt”.
11. Posh party invitees : A-LIST
No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that “posh” is actually an acronym standing for “port out, starboard home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.
15. Longtime rubber company : DUNLOP
John Boyd Dunlop was an inventor and veterinary surgeon from Scotland who spent most of his life in Ireland. He is most remembered for developing the first practical pneumatic tire, for which a patent was awarded in 1888. Dunlop’s patent was eventually invalidated, as others in the US and France had patented similar inventions. Regardless, Dunlop partnered with Dublin-born financier Harvey du Cros to found the Dunlop Rubber company and essentially established the pneumatic tire industry.
18. Suggestive message : SEXT
Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie …?
26. Shannon’s county : CLARE
One of my favorite counties in Ireland is Clare. Clare is home of the Burren, a beautiful and desolate landscape, as well as the world-famous Cliffs of Moher that greet the Atlantic Ocean.
The town of Shannon in the west of Ireland is named for the nearby River Shannon. The town is home to Shannon Airport, which used to be the most convenient stopping point for flights between North America and Europe. Shannon Airport is home to the longest runway in Ireland, and was designated by NASA as an authorized emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle.
30. Yamaha user : BIKER
The Japanese company Yamaha started out way back in 1888 as a manufacturer of pianos and reed organs. Even though the company has diversified since then, Yamaha’s logo still reflects it musical roots. Said logo is made up of three intersecting tuning forks, and can even be seen on Yamaha motorcycles.
38. ICU personnel : RNS
Registered nurses (RNs) are considered very important people (VIPs) in an intensive care unit (ICU).
42. Insufficient medley? : SCANT SINGING (from “scat singing”)
Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.
46. Time for una siesta : TARDE
“Tarde” is Spanish for “afternoon”.
We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, and imported the word into English from Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at “the sixth hour” after dawn.
54. Title name that “Every little breeze seems to whisper,” in a Chevalier song : LOUISE
“Louise” is a 1929 song written for the film “Innocents of Paris”. It was performed by Maurice Chevalier in the movie, and became Chevalier’s first US hit song.
Maurice Chevalier was an actor and singer from Paris who had a remarkably successful career in Hollywood, particularly in the late fifties and early sixties. Chevalier’s most memorable roles were perhaps in “Gigi” (1958), “Can-Can” (1960) and “Fanny” (1961).
58. Iowa State city : AMES
Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.
59. Spring time : MARCH
March is the third month in our Gregorian calendar. It takes its name from the Latin “Martius”, the first month of the earliest Roman calendar. In turn, Martius was named for Mars, the Roman god of war.
63. Serious foe : NEMESIS
Nemesis was a Greek goddess, the goddess of retribution. Her role was to make pay those individuals who were either haughty or arrogant. In modern parlance, one’s nemesis (plural “nemeses”) is one’s sworn enemy, often someone who is the exact opposite in character but someone who still shares some important characteristics. A nemesis is often someone one cannot seem to beat in competition.
64. De Matteo of “The Sopranos” : DREA
Drea de Matteo is an actress who is most familiar to me for playing Adriana la Cerva on HBO’s wonderful series “The Sopranos”. De Matteo also played Joey’s sister on the short-lived “Friends” spin-off called “Joey”, and the character Angie Bolen on “Desperate Housewives”.
68. Program with steps : AL-ANON
Al-Anon and Alateen are fellowships of relatives and friends of alcoholics. Alateen specifically supports teens who are affected by another’s drinking, whereas Al-Anon focuses on people of all ages.
69. Green eggs advocate : SAM
Dr. Seuss’s famous children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham” was first published in 1960. “Green Eggs and Ham” now ranks twelfth in the list of top selling children’s books. By the way, “Harry Potter” books hold the top four slots in that list. The text of “Green Eggs and Ham” has a lot of “I am” going on. It starts with:
I am Sam
I am Sam
Sam I am
and ends with:
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
70. Namibia neighbor : ANGOLA
Angola is a country in south-central Africa on the west coast. It is the fourth largest diamond exporter in Africa, after Botswana, the Congo and South Africa. Such a valuable export hasn’t really helped the living standard of the country’s citizens as life expectancy and infant mortality rates are among the poorest on the continent.
The Republic of Namibia is a country in southern Africa on the Atlantic coast. The Namibian War of Independence fought from 1966 to 1988 eventually resulted in independence for Namibia from South Africa, and a transition from white minority apartheid rule.
71. Author who wrote “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” : WILDE
Oscar Wilde’s 1891 essay “The Decay of Lying – An Observation” takes the form of a Socratic dialogue. The author uses a conversation between two characters, Vivian and Cyril, to expound on Wilde’s view of Romanticism over Realism. Perhaps the most oft-quoted words from the dialogue are:
Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. It follows as a corollary that external Nature also imitates Art.
75. Cereal brand since 1955 : SPECIAL K
We’ve been eating Special K since 1956. One has to give credit to the marketing folks at Kellogg’s, as I am sure we all view special K as a diet breakfast cereal. In fact, there is more fat in Special K than Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, and just one less calorie per serving.
80. “Archie Bunker’s Place” co-star : ANNE MEARA
Anne Meara married fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. The couple’s children are actors Ben and Amy Stiller. Meara co-starred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the eighties sitcom “Archie Bunker’s Place”, a spinoff from “All in the Family”.
81. Plains dwelling : TEPEE
A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.
82. Dublin-born poet : YEATS
Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.
87. Sound file suffix : WAV
WAV files are in the Waveform Audio File Format. WAV is the principal format used on the Windows platform for the storage of uncompressed audio files.
91. Business baron : TITAN
The Titans were a group of twelve older deities in Greek mythology, the twelve children of the primordial Gaia and Uranus, Mother Earth and Father Sky. In the celebrated Battle of the Titans, they were overthrown by the Olympians, who were twelve younger gods. We use the term “titan” figuratively to describe a powerful person, someone with great influence.
92. Cold War protest sign slogan : NO NUKES!
The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
93. They don’t play the field: Abbr. : DHS
In baseball, designated hitters (DHs) might replace the pitcher (P) at bat.
102. Mazda sports car : MIATA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.
107. Kimono holders : OBIS
The lovely Japanese kimono is a garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono” translates simply as “thing to wear”, with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing”.
110. Mil. awards : DSMS
The Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) is the highest non-valorous decoration awarded for services to the US military.
111. Quart, say : UNIT
The quart unit of volume is so called because it is one quarter of a gallon.
115. ’50s White House nickname : IKE
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhowers used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.
116. 1995 Tony honoree for Excellence in the Theatre: Abbr. : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …