Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers includes two pairs of circled letters: AC/DC.
- 56A. Influential pairing, and a hint to the circles in four puzzle answers : POWER COUPLE
- 17A. Tennessee whiskey cocktail : JACK AND COKE
- 23A. Fruity dessert : PEACHES AND CREAM
- 35A. One above criticism : SACRED COW
- 49A. Pre-employment investigation : BACKGROUND CHECK
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. One taken for a fool : DUPE
A dupe is someone who is easily fooled, a “live one”, one who is easily the victim of deception.
11. Game show hosts : MCS
The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.
14. Camped in a trailer, for short : RVED
Recreational vehicle (RV)
17. Tennessee whiskey cocktail : JACK AND COKE
I used to live in Tennessee, and one weekend took a tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg. After watching all the whiskey being produced, we were brought to a room for “refreshments”. We were given lemonade and no samples of the whiskey were offered, because the distillery is located in Moore County, Tennessee, a dry country …
19. MLB’s Indians, on scoreboards : CLE
The Cleveland baseball franchise started out in 1869 as the Forest Citys named after Forest City, the nickname for Cleveland. After a number of transitions, in 1914 the team took on the name “Indians”. The media came up with name “Indians” after being asked for suggestions by the team owners. “Indians” was inspired by the successful Boston team of the day, the Boston Braves.
20. __ Alamos : LOS
The town of Los Alamos, New Mexico takes its name from the Spanish for “the poplars” or “the cottonwoods”. Famously, it is home to Los Alamos National Laboratory which was founded during WWII to work on the Manhattan Project, the development of the first atomic bomb. The town of Los Alamos didn’t exist as such, until it was planned and constructed to support the employees working on development of the bomb.
22. Aquatic plant : ALGA
Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.
31. “Othello” antagonist : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.
35. One above criticism : SACRED COW
A sacred cow is something that is immune from criticism or questioning. The phrase alludes to the reverence for cows in the Hindu tradition. The use of figurative idiom seems to have originated in the late 1800s in the US.
41. MMDX ÷ V : DII
In Roman numerals, MMDX ÷ V = DII (2,510 ÷ 5 = 502)
44. Actor Estevez : EMILIO
Emilio Estevez is one of the members of Hollywood’s famous “Brat Pack”, having appeared in “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire”. Estevez’s father (and can’t you tell it from looking at him?) is actor Martin Sheen. Estevez decided to keep his father’s real name, and not the stage name of “Sheen”. Charlie Sheen is Emilio’s brother, and Charlie’s real name is Carlos Estevez.
46. Stump speech : ORATION
“To stump” can mean to go on a speaking tour during a political campaign. This peculiarly American term dates back to the 19th century. Back then a “stump speech” was an address given by someone standing on a large tree stump that provided a convenient perch to help the speaker get his or her message across to the crowd.
55. Yale alum : ELI
Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.
61. President pro __ : TEM
Pro tempore can be abbreviated to “pro tem” or “p.t.” “Pro tempore” is a Latin phrase that best translates as “for the time being”. It is used to describe a person who is acting for another, usually a superior. The President pro tempore of the US Senate is the person who presides over the Senate in the absence of the Vice President of the US. It has been tradition since 1890 that the president pro tem is the most senior senator in the majority party. The president pro tem ranks highly in the line of succession to the presidency, falling third in line after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.
62. __ Jug: British Open trophy : CLARET
The winner of the British Open golf tournament has been award a trophy known as the Claret Jug since 1872. The prior award was known as the Challenge Belt, but it had to be replaced when it was presented permanently to Scottish golfer Young Tom Morris after he won the the Open three years in a row.
64. Most GRE takers : SRS
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.
65. Iran, once : PERSIA
Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was called Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.
66. Holy recess : APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.
1. Hall of Fame Sixer, familiarly : DR J
Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.
The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team is one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. “The Sixers” were formed in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the name 76er was chosen in a fan contest, a name that honors the men who fought for the country’s independence in 1776.
2. Charlottesville sch. : UVA
The University of Virginia (UVA) was founded by Thomas Jefferson, who then sat on the original Board of Visitors alongside former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land near Charlottesville that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.
3. Course that makes you sweat, briefly? : PE CLASS
Physical education (PE)
4. “How’m I doing?” New York mayor : ED KOCH
When Ed Koch was Mayor of New York, he would often ask the city’s residents “How’m I doing?” While still in office, Koch used the phrase for the title of a book “How’m I doing?: The wit and wisdom of Ed Koch”.
5. Hr. segment : MIN
The hour is subdivided into 60 parts, each of which was known as a “pars minuta prima” in Medieval Latin, translating as “first small part”. This phrase “pars minuta prima” evolved into our word “minute”. The “pars minuta prima” (minute) was further divided into 60 parts, each called a “secunda pars minuta”, meaning “second small part”. “Secunda pars minuta” evolved into our term “second”.
6. Swing voter: Abbr. : IND
7. Actor __ Baron Cohen : SACHA
Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m not a fan …
10. Pupil’s place : EYE
The pupil of the eye is the hole located in the center of the iris through which light enters the retina. The term “pupil” came into English via French from the latin “pupilla”, which is the diminutive form of “pupa” meaning “girl, doll”. The term came about due to the tiny doll-like image that one can see of oneself when looking into the center of another’s eyes.
11. Magic Eraser spokesman : MR CLEAN
The board cleaner sold as Magic Eraser is a pad made from melamine foam , a material that is also used for insulating pipes and ducts, and for soundproofing. At a microscopic level, the foam is very hard and abrasive, and so acts like very fine sandpiper. Because melamine foam is so porous, on a larger scale it feels very soft.
12. Palmolive’s corporate partner : COLGATE
The Colgate company, of toothpaste fame, was started by Englishman William Colgate in 1806 as a soap and candle factory in New York City. As the Colgate family prospered, they spent decades providing financial support to Madison University in Hamilton, New York. In recognition of this support, the school was renamed in 1890 to Colgate University.
13. Cooks, as broccoli : STEAMS
The Italian term “broccolo” is used to describe the flowering crest of a cabbage. We use the plural form of the same word “broccoli” as the name of the edible green plant in the cabbage family.
18. Tennis legend who wrote “Days of Grace” : ASHE
The great American tennis player Arthur Ashe spent the last years of his life writing his memoir called “Days of Grace”. He finished the manuscript just a few days before he passed away, dying from AIDS caused by a tainted blood transfusion.
24. LAX posting : ETA
Expected time of arrival (ETA)
Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.
25. Lindros in the Hockey Hall of Fame : ERIC
Eric Lindros is a retired Canadian hockey player. During his NHL career he played for the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars.
27. Former Labor secretary Elaine : CHAO
When President George W. Bush appointed Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor, he made a bit of history as Chao became the first Chinese American in history to hold a cabinet post. It turned out that Chao became the only cabinet member to hold her post for President Bush’s full eight years in office. In 1993, Chao married Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader of the US Senate.
32. Prefix with caching : GEO-
Geocaching is a game rather like hide and seek that is played outdoors using hi-tech equipment. The idea is that someone places a waterproof container in a specific location with known GPS coordinates. The container has a logbook inside, so that players who find the “cache” can record their discovery along with any notes of interest. The location of the container is listed on special sites on the Internet for anyone to access. You can check out caches near you at www.geocaching.com. You will probably be surprised at how many there are! I know I was …
33. Uses too much : ODS ON
35. Jockey’s wear : SILKS
The colorful clothing made from silk that is worn by a jockey is known as “racing silks”. The specific colors and pattern of racing silks are registered to particular owner or trainer.
37. Wood measure : CORD
A cord of wood has a volume of 128 cubic feet. More commonly it’s a neat stack measuring 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep.
42. Summer Games org. : IOC
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894, and has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
43. Tattoo, in slang : INK
The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are also sometimes referred to as “ink”.
44. __ Field: Brooklyn Dodgers’ home : EBBETS
Ebbets Field was home to the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 to 1957. The stadium was also home to three NFL teams: the NY Brickley Giants (1921), the Brooklyn Lions (1926) and the Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers (1930-1944)
45. Colorful songbird : ORIOLE
The songbird called an oriole builds an interesting nest. It is a woven cup-like structure that is suspended from a branch like a hammock.
47. Height: Pref. : ACRO-
Our prefix “acro-” comes from the Greek “akros” meaning “at the top”. Examples are “acrophobia” (fear of heights) and “Acropolis” (“city at the top”).
48. Where Springsteen was born? : THE USA
“Born in the USA” is a 1984 song (and album) written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen. The song was written three years earlier as the title song for a movie, but was never used. That film ultimately was released as “Light of Day” starring Michael j. Fox. The original intention was for Springsteen to star in the film himself.
50. Tug __ : OF WAR
Tug-of-war is a strength competition between two teams who pull on opposite ends of a rope, vying to pull the opponents over a marked line. The sport was an event in the Summer Olympic Games from 1900 until 1920. The USA teams won all three medals for the tug-of-war at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis.
56. Angel dust, for short : PCP
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as “PCP” or “angel dust”.
57. Outdoor gear retailer : REI
Sporting goods company REI introduced a #OptOutside campaign starting on Black Friday in 2015. The initial focus of the campaign was to encourages customers and employees alike to head out into nature instead of swamping retail outlets on the day that kicked off the holiday shopping season. REI actually closed its doors on Black Friday 2015, rather than participate in the annual shopping frenzy.
58. Transp. group in the Loop : CTA
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as the Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system. An alternative theory is that term only arose with the construction of the elevated railway “loop” that forms the hub of the city’s “L” system.
59. Scale syllables : LAS
The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.