Edited by: Rich Norris
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Each of today’s themed answers has been COMPRESSED. The end letters in the first word have been allowed to overlap the identical starting letters in the second word:
- 17A. Compressed “Blue Suede Shoes” as sung by Elvis? : COVERSION (“cover version” compressed)
- 21A. Compressed syntax topic? : WORDER (“word order” compressed)
- 28A. Compressed piece of hardware? : COMPUTERMINAL (“computer terminal” compressed)
- 44A. Compressed Homeland Security role? : COUNTERRORISM (“Counter-terrorism” compressed)
- 52A. Compressed carnivore? : MEATER (“meat eater” compressed)
- 57A. Compressed gastric complaints? : STOMACHES (“stomach ache” compressed)
Bill’s errors: 0
Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. African currency : RAND
The Rand is the currency of South Africa. Much of South Africa’s famed gold comes from mines around Johannesburg in the Witwatersrand (Afrikaans for “the ridge of white waters”). The Rand currency takes its name from this ridge.
5. Tater __ : TOTS
Ore-Ida’s founders came up with the idea for Tater Tots when they were deciding what to do with residual cuts of potato. They chopped up the leftovers, added flour and seasoning, and extruded the mix through a large hole making a sausage that they cut into small cylinders. We eat 70 million pounds of this extruded potato every year!
9. U.K. equivalent of an Oscar : BAFTA
The BAFTA awards are presented annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The BAFTAs are the UK equivalent of the US’s Oscar and Emmy awards, all rolled into one.
15. Heroic poetry : EPOS
“Epos” is the Greek word for a story or a poem. We have absorbed it into English as “epic”, a long narrative poetic work describing heroic deeds and ventures.
17. Compressed “Blue Suede Shoes” as sung by Elvis? : COVERSION (“cover version” compressed)
“Blue Suede Shoes” was written and first recorded by Carl Perkins, in 1955. The idea for the song was given to him by Johnny Cash. Cash had been serving with the military in Germany and there met an airman who referred to his military regulation air shoes as “blue suede shoes”. The idea was reinforced when Perkins heard a young man who was dancing say to his partner, “Don’t step on my suede shoes”. Perkins version of the song was very, very successful, actually “going gold” in sales. Elvis Presley’s 1956 cover version did even better.
27. Emerson’s “jealous mistress” : ART
The American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider, and should be wise in season and not fetter himself with duties which will embitter his days and spoil him for his proper work.
32. Nordic counterpart : ALPINE
Nordic skiing differs from Alpine skiing in the type of equipment used. Nordic ski boots are fixed to the binding so that the heel can lift off the ski, whereas Alpine ski boots are fixed to the binding along the whole sole. Alpine skiing is also known as downhill skiing, and Nordic skiing disciplines include cross-country skiing and Telemark skiing.
37. Nothing, in Nice : RIEN
The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.
39. Salinger title character with professional singing aspirations : ESME
J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor”, originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.
40. Creative singing style : SCAT
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.
42. Perfumery compound : ACETAL
Acetals are a class of organic compounds, the smaller of which are volatile solvents. The simplest of the group is named simply “acetal”, and is a solvent and ingredient used in cosmetics. A much larger example of an acetal is cellulose.
49. Lush : SOT
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.
“Lush” is a slang term for a heavy drinker. Back in the 1700s, “lush” was slang for “liquor”.
50. Tiebreakers, briefly : OTS
In overtime (in OT)
51. Old anti-Union gp. : CSA
The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government.
54. Manuscript marks : STETS
“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.
56. Austrian composer Berg : ALBAN
Alban Berg was a composer from Austria. He was one of the members of what is called the Second Viennese School, along with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Weber. This group embraced the concept of atonality, something which frankly is beyond me …
61. Author known for teddy bear stories : MILNE
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.
The stuffed toy known as a teddy bear was introduced in the early 1900s and was name after President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The toy was inspired by a political cartoon that was drawn in 1902 showing President Roosevelt on a bear hunt and refusing to kill black bear cub.
62. Amos at the piano : TORI
Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. Amos started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. She was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …
63. The last Mrs. Chaplin : OONA
Oona O’Neill dated J. D. Salinger and Orson Welles in her teens, but ended up marrying Charlie Chaplin. Oona was still quite young when she married Chaplin, much to the dismay of her famous father, playwright Eugene O’Neill. Eugene went as far as disowning 18-year-old Oona because of the marriage to 54-year-old Chaplin.
64. Latin clarifier : ID EST
“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.
1. Elephant predator of myth : ROC
The mythical roc is a huge bird of prey, reputedly able to carry off and eat elephants. The roc was said to come from the Indian subcontinent. The supposed existence of the roc was promulgated by Marco Polo in the accounts that he published of his travels through Asia.
2. Brouhaha : ADO
“Brouhaha”, meaning “ado, stir”, was a French word that back in the 1550s meant “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy” . Wow!
3. Scorpio mo. : NOV
Scorpio is a the eighth astrological sign of the Zodiac.
5. Willed? : TESTATE
Someone who dies “intestate” does so without having made a will. Someone with a will is “testate”.
6. Sleep inducer : OPIATE
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.
8. Identity thief’s target: Abbr. : SSN
Social Security number (SSN)
9. Crescent-shaped : BICORN
Something described as bicorn is crescent-shaped, or two-horned. The term comes from the Latin “cornu” meaning “horn”.
10. Purim month : ADAR
Nisan is the first month in the Hebrew ecclesiastical calendar, the month in which Passover falls. Adar is the last month in the same calendar.
Purim is a festival commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot to wipe them out by Haman the Agagite, as recorded in the Book of Esther.
11. Like a Middle Ages social system : FEUDALISTIC
Feudalism was a legal and military system that flourished in medieval Europe. Central to the system were the concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. Lords would grant fiefs (land or rights) to vassals in exchange for allegiance and service.
18. “Friends” episode, now : RERUN
When the incredibly successful sitcom “Friends” was in development it was given the working title “Insomnia Cafe”. This was changed to “Friends Like Us”, before final going to air as “Friends”.
23. Infant illness : COLIC
Baby colic is a condition in which a baby cries for no apparent reason for extended periods. At least one study has shown that breastfed babies are about half as likely to suffer from colic.
24. Like high-level treason : IMPEACHABLE
Treason is a serious crime committed against the nation (or the sovereign). One who commits “treason” is called a “traitor”. In the past, the term treason also applied to lesser crimes (like a woman killing her husband) so there was a differentiation between high treason against the king, and “petit treason”, against a more common citizen.
29. It’s spotted in Westerns : PINTO
A “pinto” is a horse with patchy markings of white mixed with another color. “Pinto” means “painted” in American Spanish.
31. “Drink __”: 2014 Luke Bryan #1 country hit : A BEER
Luke Bryan is a country music singer/songwriter. Bryan’s first success came with writing songs for Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, who were school friends.
36. 1965 march site : SELMA
The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day.
38. Target : BUTT
To be the butt of the joke is to be the jokester’s target. Indeed, back in the 1600’s, a “butt” was a target used in archery practice.
42. Diana’s Greek counterpart : ARTEMIS
Artemis was an ancient Greek goddess, the equivalent of the Roman goddess Diana. Artemis was a daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo.
45. Early online forum : USENET
Remember the good old days, when you read messages online in “newsgroups”? Well, that system of aggregating public messages is known as Usenet, and it’s still around today. Usenet started operating in 1980, some ten years before the World Wide Web was introduced (which system has displaced Usenet in terms of popularity). Usenet definitely played a significant part in the history of the Internet. For instance, the terms “FAQ” and “spam” were both born on Usenet.
46. Chopper parts : ROTORS
“Chopper” is an informal term used for a helicopter.
Our term “helicopter” was absorbed from the French word “hélicoptère” that was coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. d’Amécourt envisioned aircraft that could fly vertically using rotating wings that “screwed” into the air. He combined the Greek terms “helix” meaning “spiral, whirl” and “pteron” meaning “wing” to give us “helicopter”.
47. Savory taste : UMAMI
Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.
48. Very cold : GELID
“Gelid” is such a lovely word, with the meaning “icy cold”. “Gelid” derives from the Latin “gelum” meaning “frost, intense cold”.
54. Portico for Pericles : STOA
A stoa was a covered walkway in Ancient Greece. A stoa usually consisted of columns lining the side of a building or buildings, with another row of columns defining the other side of the walkway. The columns supported a roof. Often stoae would surround marketplaces in large cities.
“Portico” is an Italian word that describes a porch or roofed walkway leading to the entrance of a building.
Cleon and Pericles were both statesmen in Ancient Greece, specifically in the city-state of Athens. Pericles and Cleon were political opponents, with Pericles falling foul to the maneuvers of Cleon, and eventually dying of the plague.
55. Conan Doyle, for one : SCOT
The Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is most closely associated with his wonderful character Sherlock Holmes. Doyle also wrote a series of science fiction stories featuring the character Professor Challenger. The first book in which Challenger appears is the famous “The Lost World”, a story about prehistoric creatures that are found living in the modern age on an isolated plateau in South America.
57. The CSA’s eleven : STS
The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government. The original seven secessionist slave states were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina seceded soon after the start of the Civil War, with Missouri and Kentucky later joining the confederacy.
58. The sixth W? : HOW
The Five Ws (or “Five Ws and one H”) is a journalistic concept used for gathering information. For a story to be complete, six questions need to be answered:
- Who is it about?
- What happened?
- Where did it take place?
- When did it take place?
- Why did it happen?
- How did it happen?
59. “Ambient 1: Music for Airports” artist : ENO
Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the “ambient” genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks somewhat inventively: 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.
60. KLM competitor : 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.
The initialism KLM stands for “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij”, which translates from Dutch as “Royal Aviation Company”. KLM is the flag carrier for the Netherlands, and is the oldest airline in the world still operating with its original name. It was founded in 1919. KLM merged with Air France in 2004.