Edited by: Rich Norris
Quicklink to comments
Each of today’s themed answer starts with a C or C-sound:
- 17A. Legendary terror of the deep : SEA MONSTER
- 36A. Honor roll student’s disappointment : C-PLUS
- 54A. “Doesn’t matter to me” : SEE IF I CARE
- 11D. “Forget You” singer who was a coach on “The Voice” : CEELO GREEN
- 27D. “Aye, lass,” in Acapulco : SI, SENORITA
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Pet adoption agcy. : SPCA
Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.
5. West Indies tribe for which a sea is named : CARIB
The Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies. While most of the Carib population live on islands such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, there are several Carib communities on the mainland of Central and South America in countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and Belize. The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Carib people.
10. “Rhyme Pays” rapper : ICE-T
Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.
14. Boxers Laila and Muhammad : ALIS
Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali and is a very capable boxer in her own right. Laila’s professional record is an impressive 24 wins, including 21 knockouts. Now retired, she never lost a fight, and nor did she ever draw. One of those victories was against Jackie Frazier-Lyde, daughter of her father’s nemesis Joe Frazier. Laila is not a bad dancer either, coming in third place in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.
Muhammad Ali won 56 professional fights, 37 of which were knockouts. He lost 5 fights, 4 being decisions and one being a technical knockout (TKO). The TKO-loss was Ali’s second-last fight, against Larry Holmes. By the time Ali took on Holmes, he was already showing signs of Parkinson’s Syndrome, although the diagnosis would not come until four years later.
15. Carne __: burrito filling : ASADA
The name of the dish called “carne asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.
A burrito is a common dish served in Mexican cuisine. It is a flour tortilla filled with all sorts of good stuff. The term “burrito” is Spanish for “little donkey”, the diminutive of “burro” meaning “donkey”. It’s thought that the name was applied as a burrito looks like a bedroll or pack that might be carried by a donkey.
16. Benelux country: Abbr. : NETH
Back in 1944, the three neighboring European countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg made a customs cooperation agreement. This was known as the Benelux Agreement, with “Benelux” coming from the first two-three letters of the participating countries’ names. The term “Benelux” is now used to describe several more agreements and structures shared by the three nations.
19. __ blocker : BETA
Beta blockers are drugs used primarily to manage cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension. Basically, beta blockers interfere with the fight-or-flight response.
20. Action hero Jason in three Ludlum novels : BOURNE
“The Bourne Identity” is a great spy novel written by Robert Ludlum, and first published in 1980. It has been ranked as the second best spy novel of all time, just behind the even more enjoyable “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carre. I’ll agree with that sentiment. Ludlum wrote two sequels, and all three parts of the Bourne Trilogy have been made into very successful movies now, starring Matt Damon in the title role. Ludlum died before he could write more than three novels featuring Jason Bourne, but five more titles in the series have been published, written by Eric Van Lustbader. I must check them out …
21. Swedish vodka brand : ABSOLUT
I must admit, if I ever do order a vodka drink by name, I will order the Absolut brand. I must also admit that I do so from the perspective of an amateur photographer. I’ve been swayed by the Absolut marketing campaign that features such outstanding photographic images. I’m sure you’ve come across examples …
26. “__ the Sheriff”: Clapton hit : I SHOT
“I Shot the Sheriff” is a 1973 song released by Bob Marley & the Wailers, one that was also written by Marley.
Can you believe that the great Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974, Clapton released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff” and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself. Clapton is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a member of the Yardbirds, once as a member of the supergroup Cream, and once as a solo artist.
32. Like most people : ASIAN
Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.
34. Label for Elvis : RCA
Elvis Aron Presley (aka “the King”) was the younger of two identical twins. His brother was stillborn, delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, although born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.
35. “Supervixens” director Meyer : RUSS
Film producer and director Russ Meyer was a controversial character. Many of the movies that he wrote and produced fall into genre of “sexploitation”. Meyers died in 2004 and his grave is located in Stockton, California. Written on his gravestone are the words “King of the Nudies” and “I was Glad to Do It”.
39. Celebrated chef Ducasse : ALAIN
Alain Ducasse is a chef whose most famous restaurant is called Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, which is located in the celebrated hotel in London. Ducasse was born and lived in France, In 2008, he relinquished his French citizenship to become a citizen of Monaco, so that he could take advantage of the principality’s lower rate of income tax.
43. Get big on Twitter : TREND
In the world of Twitter, a phrase that is getting “tagged” by users more than other phrases is said to be “trending”.
44. Gumbo pod : OKRA
Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.
45. Sierra Nevada lake : TAHOE
Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.
47. Ginger’s “Gilligan’s Island” hutmate : MARY ANN
Mary Ann Summers is the “wholesome” young lady on the sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”, played by actress Dawn Wells.
The actress Tina Louise is best known for having played the character Ginger Grant on the iconic TV show “Gilligan’s Island”. Louise had been a celebrated pinup girl in the late fifties, but her goal was to be an actress. She took the role of Ginger on “Gilligan’s Island” in 1964, after it was turned down by none other than Hollywood legend Jayne Mansfield.
The iconic sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” ran for only three seasons, although that added up to a total of 98 episodes. The show is about a small band of castaways who are trying to escape their island and return to Hawaii. The last episode originally aired in 1967. The castaways did eventually get off the island in a 1978 TV movie called “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island”, but ended up back on the island at the end of the film.
57. Old film dog : 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.
58. “Family Matters” misfit : URKEL
Steve Urkel is a character on the TV show “Family Matters” that originally aired in the late eighties and nineties. The Urkel character was the archetypal “geek”, played by Jaleel White. Urkel was originally written into the show’s storyline for just one episode, but before long, Urkel was the show’s most popular recurring character.
62. Sunday benches : PEWS
A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.
1. Airline to Oslo : SAS
SAS was formerly known as Scandinavian Airlines System and is the flag carrier of three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. SAS is based at Stockholm Arlanda Airport located just north of the Swedish capital.
2. Working class Roman : PLEB
In ancient Rome, the patricians were the members of the families in the ruling classes. Those Romans who were not patricians by birth were known as plebs.
3. Padua parting : CIAO
“Ciao” is the Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.
The city of Padua is in northern Italy, and not far from Venice. Padua has many claims to fame. For example, Galileo was one of the lecturers at the University of Padua, and William Shakespeare chose the city as the setting for his play “The Taming of the Shrew”.
6. Equipment, in a ledger : ASSET
A ledger is an account book. The term comes from the Middle English “leggen” meaning “to lay”. The original ledger was a large book “laid” in one particular place permanently, an example being a breviary in a church.
9. Rihanna’s home country : BARBADOS
The singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. “Rihanna” is her stage name, as she was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”.
11. “Forget You” singer who was a coach on “The Voice” : CEELO GREEN
“CeeLo Green” is the stage name of rapper Thomas DeCarlo Callaway. Apparently Green is one of the coaches for the contestants on the singing TV show “The Voice”. That’s all I need to know …
“Forget You” is the cleaned-up title for CeeLo Green song that was released in 2010 using a title that included a more controversial “F word”.
12. Caesar’s last question : ET TU
It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?), in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on on the steps of the Senate in Rome.
18. Lightweight synthetic : ORLON
Orlon is the brand name used by the DuPont Corporation for the acrylic fibers the company developed in 1941.
22. Elite Navy fighter : SEAL
“SEAL” is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counterguerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.
26. Rodeo automaker : ISUZU
Isuzu is a Japanese auto manufacturer that is very successful in the medium and heavy truck market in particular. You’ll be seeing fewer and fewer Isuzu passenger cars on American roads though, as the company exited the US passenger car market in 2008.
The Rodeo is a compact SUV that was produced by Isuzu for the North American market. At the same time, the Isuzu Rodeo name was used on compact pickup trucks sold in Japan.
27. “Aye, lass,” in Acapulco : SI, SENORITA
The Mexican city of Acapulco is on the southwest coast of the country, in the state of Guerrero. The name “Acapulco” translates from the local language into “at the big reeds”.
39. Big name in razors : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.
40. Rice-__ : A-RONI
Rice-A-Roni was introduced in 1958 by the Golden Grain Macaroni Company of San Francisco. The company was run by an Italian immigrant and his four sons. The wife of one of the sons created a pilaf dish for the family diner they owned. It was a big hit, so her brother-in-law created a commercial version by blending dry chicken soup mix with rice and macaroni. Sounds like “a San Francisco treat” to me …
42. Airport porter : SKYCAP
A skycap is an airport porter, with the name coming from the term “redcap” that is used for a railroad porter.
43. 1986 horror film in which a man becomes an insect : THE FLY
The 1986 sci-fi horror film “The Fly” stars Jeff Goldblum as a scientist who gradually turns into a fly-like creature as the result of a teleportation experiment that goes awry. The 1986 film is loosely based on a 1957 short story by George Langelaan. I saw the original 1958 movie adaptation of that story when I was just a lad, and it really scared me. I’ve managed to avoid the two sequels and the 1986 remake …
47. Repast : MEAL
Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.
48. Church area behind an altar : 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.
49. Detective Wolfe : NERO
Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: “Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937). One of Wolfe’s endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.
56. Golf Hall of Famer Ernie : ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).