Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s themed answers are common phrases, but with the letter string YA inserted:
- 39A. Casual parting … and a hint to this puzzle’s four longest answers : SEE YA!
- 17A. Headline during an African wildfire season? : KENYA BURNS! (from “Ken Burns”)
- 61A. Collector of some Spanish art? : GOYA GETTER (from “go-getter”)
- 10D. Artist Jasper during his tropical period? : PAPAYA JOHNS (from “Papa John’s”)
- 25D. Farmer’s possible reply to “What beans are you planting this year?”? : I RECKON SOYA (from “I reckon so”)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Brewski : SUDS
Brewski, suds, beer.
5. Scrubland succulent : AGAVE
The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus, and isn’t related to the aloe plant either. The blue agave is used in the production of tequila.
16. Settled on the tarmac : ALIT
The terms “Tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call Tarmac.
17. Headline during an African wildfire season? : KENYA BURNS! (from “Ken Burns”)
Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.
Ken Burns directs and produces epic documentary films that usually make inventive use of archive footage. Recent works are the sensational “The War” (about the US in WWII) and the magnificent “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”. Burns’ latest offering is 2014’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”.
19. “¿Qué __?” : PASA
In Spanish, “que pasa?” literally translates as “what happened?” but is used to mean “how have things been going with you?”.
24. Former NASCAR Cup sponsor : SPRINT
The name of the premier NASCAR racing series has changed over the years, often as sponsors come and go. The names used have been:
- 1949: Strictly Stock Series
- 1950-1970: Grand National Series
- 1971-2003: Winston Cup Series
- 2008-2016: Sprint Cup Series
- 2017-date: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
29. Kind of key : MAJOR
Experts, unlike me, can wax lyrical on the technical differences between major and minor keys and scales. To me, music written in major keys is very strident, often very joyful and “honest”. Music written in minor keys (often my “favorite”) is more feminine, more delicate and often quite sad.
36. Tolkien villain : ORC
Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.
37. “This feels familiar” feeling : DEJA VU
“Déjà vu” is French for “already seen”.
41. Had too much : ODED
42. Satisfies, as thirst : SLAKES
“To slake” is to satisfy a craving, as in slaking one’s thirst.
46. Fable teller : AESOP
Aesop is remembered today for his famous fables. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly he was born a slave, somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. Aesop was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. He was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.
49. West Coast pro : NINER
The 49ers football team in San Francisco takes its name from the gold prospectors who flooded into Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. These “1849 prospectors” became known as the “49ers”.
55. Picture of health? : CAT SCAN
A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful, causing damage that is cumulative over time.
59. Hosp. area : ICU
Many a hospital (hosp.) includes an intensive care unit (ICU).
60. __ clarinet : ALTO
The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn’t it? The name comes from the Italian word “clarino” meaning “trumpet” with the “-et” suffix indicating “small”.
61. Collector of some Spanish art? : GOYA GETTER (from “go-getter”)
Francisco Goya was a Spanish painter, often called the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Two of Goya’s most famous works are “The Nude Maja” and “The Clothed Maja”.
65. Barn-raising sect : AMISH
The Amish are a group of Christian churches, a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.
66. Latin I word : AMAS
Amo, amas, amat” … I love, you love, he/she/it loves”, in Latin.
67. County bordering Sonoma : NAPA
The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.
Did you know that there are far more wine grapes produced in Sonoma than Napa? Within Sonoma County some of the more well-known appellations are Chalk Hill, Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley. Personally, when I want to visit the wine country, I head for the Russian River Valley as it’s far less crowded and much more fun than Napa Valley.
68. Core belief : TENET
A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.
1. Punjabi monotheists : SIKHS
Sikhism is a religion that was founded in the Punjab region, which straddles the India-Pakistan border. Even though Sikhism was established relatively recently, it is now the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak.
5. Seemingly eternal burden : ALBATROSS
An “albatross” is sometimes a metaphor for a psychological burden. This usage comes from the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the story, an albatross is following a ship, a sign of good fortune. Then the “ancient mariner” shoots the albatross with a crossbow, an act that will bring a curse on the ship. The other sailors punish the mariner by forcing him to wear the dead albatross around his neck.
6. Joint ailment : GOUT
Gout is caused by an elevation of the levels of uric acid in the blood. As a result of the high concentrations, the uric acid can crystallize out in tissue causing extreme discomfort. What we tend to call gout occurs when the crystals are deposited in the big toe.
7. Abbr. in car ads : APR
Annual percentage rate (APR)
9. Old lemon : EDSEL
The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel, son of Henry Ford. 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”.
10. Artist Jasper during his tropical period? : PAPAYA JOHNS (from “Papa John’s”)
The papaya is the fruit of the Carica papaya, a large tree-like plant that is native to southern Mexico and Central America. One traditional use of papaya is as a meat tenderizer. The fruit and sap contain the enzyme papain that breaks down meat fibers. Papain is used today as a component of powdered meat tenderizers.
Jasper Johns is a contemporary artist from Augusta, Georgia. Johns’ most famous work is called “Flag”, which he created two years after being discharged from the US Army, in 1954. “Flag” is a representation of the “Stars and Stripes” made with paint and a collage of newsprint.
Papa John’s is the third largest takeout and delivery pizza chain in the US, with Pizza Hut and Domino’s taking the top spots.
11. Cumming of “The Good Wife” : ALAN
Alan Cumming is a very versatile Scottish actor. Cumming has played some pretty “commercial” roles, like the bad guy Boris Grishenko in “GoldenEye” and Fegan Flopp in the “Spy Kids” movies. He also played the unwanted suitor in the fabulous film “Circle of Friends” and won a Tony for playing the emcee in the 1998 Broadway revival of “Cabaret”.
“The Good Wife” is a legal drama showing on CBS starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a litigator who returns to practicing the law after spending 13 years as a stay-at-home mom. I binge-watched the show some time back and found it to be well-written, with a great cast and great acting …
12. CD part : DISC
The compact disc was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.
18. “Rule, Britannia” composer : ARNE
Thomas Arne was an English composer from London. Arne wrote some iconic compositions including “Rule, Britannia!” He also wrote a version of “God Save the King” that became the British national anthem.
“Rule, Britannia!” is a poem by James Thomson, for which Thomas Arne composed the famous music.
25. Farmer’s possible reply to “What beans are you planting this year?”? : I RECKON SOYA (from “I reckon so”)
What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.
30. Green gem : JADE
Jade is actually the name given to two different mineral rocks, both of which are used to make gemstones. The first is nephrite, a mineral with a varying degree of iron content, the more iron the greener the color. The second is jadeite, a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. As well as being used for gemstones, both jade minerals can be carved into decorative pieces.
33. Badlands landform : MESA
Badlands may be “bad lands” for agriculture (hence the name), but they can be beautiful. A badlands is an extensive area from which the topsoil has been eroded by wind and water, leaving exposed rock and very little vegetation. One of the most beautiful badlands areas in the US is preserved for the nation as South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.
47. Biological map subject : GENOME
The genome is all the hereditary information needed to reproduce an organism, in other words, all of its chromosomes. When scientists unravel the human genome it takes up an awful lot of computer storage space, and yet all of this information is in almost every cell in our bodies. Each and every cell “knows” how to make a whole human being.
52. Card table request : HIT ME
“Stand” and “hit me” are instructions to the dealer in the card game Blackjack. The instruction “stand” means, I don’t want any more cards, I’ll use these. The instruction “hit me” means “please deal me another card”.
53. Where some large schools may be found : OCEAN
Oceanus was a mythical figure personifying an enormous river that the ancient Greeks and Romans believed encircled the world. It is from the name “Oceanus” that we get out modern term “Ocean”.
54. Rathskeller fare : WURST
“Wurst” is simply a German word for “sausage”.
A city hall in Germany is called a Rathaus. In days gone by there was often a restaurant located in the basement or cellar of a Rathaus, and this restaurant was given the name Rathskeller.
56. Trattoria’s “in the style of” : ALLA
The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.
A trattoria is an Italian restaurant. In Italian, a “trattore” is the keeper of an eating house.
57. Firebird roof option : T-TOP
A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.
1967 was a big year or American muscle cars. The Pontiac Firebird was introduced that year, as was the Chevrolet Camaro that shared the same platform as the Firebird. At the same time, Ford introduced the Mercury Cougar, which was built on the same platform as the Ford Mustang that went into production just three years earlier.
62. Half a cosmic whole : YIN
The yin and the yang can be explained using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.
63. Check : TAB
When we “run a tab” at a bar say, we are “running a tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.