Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers comprises two words. The second word of the answer is the first word with the letters “IT” DROPPED:
- 40D. “That’ll be enough of that subject” … and a hint to solving the answers to starred clues : DROP IT
- 17A. *Royal passing rubber checks? : KITING KING
- 25A. *English Einstein? : BRITAIN BRAIN
- 47A. *Pack animal carrying a Mexican treat? : BURRITO BURRO
- 62A. *Gdansk gentleman? : POLITE POLE
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Physicist Newton : ISAAC
Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential people in history, the man who laid the groundwork for all of classical mechanics. The story about an apple falling on his head, inspiring him to formulate his theories about gravity, well that’s not quite true. Newton often told the story about observing an apple falling in his mother’s garden and how this made him acutely aware of the Earth’s gravitational pull. However, he made no mention of the apple hitting him on the head.
6. Maker of TimeCutter riding mowers : TORO
Toro is a manufacturer of mainly lawn mowers and snow removal equipment based in Bloomington, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1914 to build tractor engines.
10. Crimson Tide, to fans : ‘BAMA
The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.
16. “Don’t have __!”: “Calm down!” : A COW
The phrase “don’t have a cow” originated in the fifties, a variation of the older “don’t have kittens”. The concept behind the phrase is that one shouldn’t get worked up, it’s not like one is giving birth to a cow.
17. *Royal passing rubber checks? : KITING KING
Check kiting is illegal. The idea behind kiting is to write a check, even though there are insufficient funds to cover the amount. The con artist then writes another check, also with insufficient funds, from another bank’s account to cover the original check. I am not sure it would work nowadays, but then I am as honest as the day is long! Oh, and I think the term “kiting” comes from the older phrase “go fly a kite”, the idea being that the bad check is floated on air (non-existent funds).
23. Sign of a Broadway hit : SRO
Standing room only (SRO)
24. International accord : ENTENTE
An “entente cordiale” (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place 1904.
25. *English Einstein? : BRITAIN BRAIN
After Albert Einstein moved to the US in 1933, he became quite a celebrity and his face was readily recognizable. Einstein was frequently stopped in the street by people who would naively ask him if he could explain what “that theory” (i.e. the theory of relativity) was all about. Growing tired of this, he finally learned to tell people that he was sorry, but folks were constantly mistaking him for Albert Einstein!
32. Ten sawbucks : C-NOTE
“Sawbuck” is slang for a ten dollar bill. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the bill) resembles the end of sawhorse.
41. The “Y” of YSL : YVES
Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …
42. Lesley of “60 Minutes” : STAHL
Lesley Stahl has worked on “60 Minutes” since 1991. She is married to author “Aaron Latham”. As a journalist, it was Latham who wrote the article that inspired the movie “Urban Cowboy”.
47. *Pack animal carrying a Mexican treat? : BURRITO BURRO
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.
The wild donkey that we know as a burro was introduced into the Grand Canyon in the late 1800s, where they used the animal to help pack out mined copper, asbestos and lead. When the miners moved on, they left the burros to roam free. Feral burros essentially overran the Grand Canyon in subsequent years, leading to the forced removal of 500 of them in the early eighties by the National Park Service. Burros wreak havoc on the canyon’s ecosystem, and in particular compete with native bighorn sheep. The bighorn sheep population has rebounded since the number of wild donkeys has dropped.
57. Weather map line : ISOBAR
An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.
61. “In the Valley of __”: 2007 Tommy Lee Jones film : ELAH
Tommy Lee Jones is an actor from San Saba, Texas. Relatively recently, Jones received much acclaim for an excellent supporting performance as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in “Lincoln”. However, my favorite of Jones’s performances were in 1993’s “The Fugitive” and in 2012’s “Hope Springs” opposite Meryl Streep.
“In the Valley of Elah” is a film starring Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron that was released in 2007. The movie tells of a military father searching for his son who recently returned from service in Iraq. On finding the son’s murdered body, the father then searches for the killers. The film is based on real events. The title “In the Valley of Elah” is a reference to the location where David killed Goliath according to the account in the Bible.
62. *Gdansk gentleman? : POLITE POLE
Gdańsk is a port city on the Baltic coast of Poland and is the country’s biggest seaport. Gdańsk was where the European Solidarity movement was born, with Lech Wałęsa in the leadership position. Wałęsa was an electrician working in the Gdańsk shipyards.
64. Brand with a Swoosh logo : NIKE
I remember seeing a lady named Carolyn Davidson on the television show “I’ve Got a Secret”. Davidson created the Nike “swoosh” back in 1971 when she was a design student at Portland State. She did it as freelance work for Blue Ribbon Sports, a local company introducing a new line of athletic footwear. The “swoosh” is taken from the wing of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Years later, BRS changed its name to Nike, so I suppose the company should be grateful to Carolyn for both the great design, and a great company name.
68. __ Martin Cognac : REMY
Remy Martin is my favorite brand of cognac (remember that when it’s my birthday!). In China, the name Remy Martin is not used, but rather the more colorful moniker, “man-headed horse”, describing the centaur logo on the bottle.
69. Fills fully : SATES
“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.
7. Hodgepodge : OLIO
“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.
“Hochepot” is an Old French word for stew or soup, and this gave rise to an Anglo-French legal term for a collection of property that was gathered prior to being divided up. This became our “hodgepodge” in the early 1400s.
9. Princess Leia’s last name : ORGANA
The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.
10. Metaphorical coin that keeps turning up : BAD PENNY
The phrase “a bad penny always turns up” might be restated in modern parlance as “what goes around comes around”. The essence of the idiom dates back centuries. The idea is that someone who creates a bad (counterfeit) penny will find himself or herself being cheated with the same coin before long.
12. Painter Claude : MONET
French artist Claude Monet was one of the founders of the Impressionist movement, and indeed the term “Impressionism” comes from the title of his 1872 painting “Impression, Sunrise”. That work depicts the port of Le Havre, which was Monet’s hometown. Later in his life, Monet purchased a house in Giverny, and famously installed lily ponds and a Japanese bridge in the property’s extensive gardens. He spent two decades painting the water lily ponds, producing his most famous works.
22. Bic Clic __ pen : STIC
Société Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.
26. More than a melee : RIOT
Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.
27. “Casablanca” heroine : ILSA
Ilsa Lund was played by Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie “Casablanca”. I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: “She paints his face with her eyes”. Wow …
28. Word before maiden names : NEE
“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.
29. “The Godfather” enforcer Luca : BRASI
Luca Brasi is one of Don Corleone’s most loyal “enforcers” in Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”. Brasi comes to a violent end, garroted while his hand is pinned to a wooden bar with a knife. Famously, the Corleone family learn of his demise when they receive Brasi’s bulletproof vest wrapped around dead fish. The message is that he “sleeps with the fishes”. In the big screen adaptation of “The Godfather”, Luca Brasi is played by ex-wrestler and professional bodyguard Lenny Montana. The role launched a very successful television character-acting career for Montana.
37. Pooh Bear’s lament : OH, BOTHER
Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author, best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.
39. Police rank: Abbr. : DET
43. “Superstar” rapper __ Fiasco : LUPE
Lupe Fiasco is the stage name of rap artist Wasalu Muhammad Jaco. Jaco uses his real name when performing with rock band Japanese Cartoon.
50. Thomas More’s perfect world : UTOPIA
The word “Utopia” was coined by Sir Thomas More for his book “Utopia” published in 1516 describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More’s use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek “ou” meaning “not” and “topos” meaning “place”. By calling his perfect island “Not Place”, More was apparently making the point that he didn’t think that the ideal could actually exist.
51. Chirpy birds : WRENS
A wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.
52. Sun: Pref. : HELIO-
Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology. Helios was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night be travelling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.
53. Honshu port : OSAKA
The Japanese city of Osaka used to be called Naniwa, with the name changing to Osaka sometime before 1500. “Osaka” can be translated either as “large hill” or “large slope”. Osaka is sometimes referred to as “the Chicago of Japan” as it is a major center of commerce and industry. The city has also been named the “nation’s kitchen”, and was a center for Japan’s rice trade for centuries.
56. Theoretical matter involved in the Big Bang : YLEM
Back in the 1940s, cosmologists George Gamow and Ralph Alpher used the term “ylem” to describe the primordial plasma that was presumed to exist right after the Big Bang.
59. On the quiet side, at sea : ALEE
“Alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing “aweather”.
60. Cincinnati team : REDS
The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with “Reds”.